Agency proposes eliminating zero-defect vehicle reports

| May 14, 2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hopes to stop requiring that the industry submit and retain driver vehicle inspection reports when zero defects are indicated.

The Department of Transportation is internally reviewing a proposal to rescind the mandate for interstate truckers submit no-defect Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports for carriers to retain.  Agency officials hope to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the matter by Sept. 10.

Last year, the FMCSA published a final rule to end requiring no-defect DVIRs, applicable only to intermodal equipment. That rule is effective June 12.

The upcoming NPRM was mentioned during a May 8 House small business committee hearing on agency progress in decreasing regulatory burdens. Rescinding these reports for non-intermodal equipment alone would save the industry an annual $1.5 billion, testified Polly Trottenberg, a Department of Transportation undersecretary.

“The savings from each report is modest, but when you consider it provides almost daily savings for millions of drivers, it has a large impact,” Trottenberg said.

Agency officials initially developed the proposal after truckers asked it be rescinded on a much smaller population of carriers. The FMCSA later decided to apply it to a much larger segment of carriers and to seek public comment on the rulemaking.

The FMCSA also will propose a rulemaking to allow carriers to use e-signatures in support of electronic recordkeeping, she said. No timeline was immediately available on the proposal.

Tottenberg noted that while the agency is attempting to provide regulatory relief, the DOT received an additional one hundred statutory mandates contained in the two-year surface transportation reauthorization.

These new mandates will result in as many as 60 separate rulemakings, over half of which have been assigned to FMCSA, she said.

  • It Won’t Be Very Long

    They could also stop a whole list of other things that cost companies and drivers unnecessary expense.

    Many things are no more than the product of some desk jockey that doesn’t know a thing about trucks or drivers, but merely wants to make a name for themselves.

    This money we are forced into spending could be much better spent on trucks that get tore up on the many states bad roads.

    How many times do we drive down the road to bottom out on some bottomless pit that ends up costing us money, plus we get charged if they find these things wrong with our trucks?

    What do they expect?

    We already pay $550.00 every year for every truck on the road. That money alone should help with the major road repairs. Plus, they also collect the fuel taxes, and other taxes from us.

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  • localnet

    Good points… To bad few listen, or for that matter care. We are nothing but number$ to this bunch, both carriers and drivers.

    I remember when this used to be fun, now it is a regulatory nightmare for both us and the DOT cops, and I have run across a few of them in my days, all good experiences. Sad thing is, those old DOT guys, and the good cops are long gone.

  • It Won’t Be Very Long

    You are absolutely right.

    We have been pulled over by a DOT Officer, given an inspection, written up for brakes being out of adjustment.

    However, the officer never even went under the truck to check the brakes. This was just one issue with this officer.

    But the only thing you can really do, pay the bill and hope to be out of trucking before you get forced out.

    Your word is never better than theirs’.

    You are guilty prior to even beginning to fight.

    The reality of their programs should be to work with the companies, drivers, and trucks to help us keep them in compliance.

    It is far better to be proactive than reactive.

    However,it all boils down to money.

    They will let four-wheelers do all kinds of crap right in front of them, but never say a word.

    But let a truck do anything, buddy it is Katy-barred the door – lights out for that truck.

  • localnet

    Funny, I was speaking to my mother today, she, out of the blue, brought up the 70’s trucker strike… We were living in Las Vegas then when the strike happened… She, and I remember when the GROCERY store shelves were empty… All of the shelves were empty… If this CSA crap keeps up, i can see that happening yet again, and it ain’t going to be as pretty as it was back then when our country had some morals and values… ;)

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  • Rockwell

    NO WAY! IT CANT BE!!! The FMCSA is so caring for us truckers! Let`s see, if a 30 day DVIR book costs just $3.00 that means I will save 10CENTS per day, each day that my rig has no defects!

    I will only have to go 4,500 days with no defects and I will have saved the average cost of one whole tire! This is a MAJOR operational savings, one I will have to think long and hard about where to apply this level of savings. Thank you FMCSA, thank you greatly! Early retirement is ever closer now.

  • Rockwell

    Cant you just FEEL the regulatory burden lifting off your shoulders!

  • Kathy

    What bothers me is there is so many rules and regulations and every one interpetates them differently so one DOT inspection finds nothing wrong then the next DOT finds something and went over the same thing the other DOT did. Then we are all give a little green book on rules and regulations try pointing out one of DOT’s mistakes that says your right and OMG they will find everything wrong that isn’t. DOT is a joke, FSMCA is a joke, if they put all the small guys out because we don’t score high with a few trucks like the bigger companies to to make there score not to draw attention, but have you noticed hardly ever do they pull over bigger companies like they do the smaller ones. There is no way this country can run without owner operators, no way can big companies haul all the freight. It’s all about MONEY MONEY and more MONEY to these people, it’s not about safety it’s about MONEY, they keep making more and more rules no one can know them all in every State, I thought that is what IFTA was about, so how come we still have to pay in NY, NM, AR, KS, on all our equipment again on top of IFTA we are taxed to death from the Government and we have to be insured to Death by the government, till the point there is no staying in business. Property Insurance, Workers Comp, Liability, Physical Damage, Cargo, Contingent Cargo, that’s 7 insurance policies we have to pay on every year, on top of the fuel that is stupid as all get out to be so freaking high, everything in the trucking business gets higher and higher and the rates going down and down, nothing makes sense in the US anymore us the people need to revolt against this kind of behavior they keep making us pay plus Registration, IFTA, 2290. It’s just crazy what it cost just to operate a small trucking business. What the government want no toilet paper to wipe there butt’s no food for there kids, no cloths everything comes by truck and everyone hates us.

  • Waste

    This change will mean nothing, as most carriers will want to retain zero defect reports anyway for lawsuit/liability issues.

  • mousekiller

    Based on limited info it does seem to have merit. Up to a point. How ever if they really wanted us to be productive and safe , allow us to split the sleeper berth again. Stop the clock for safety naps , eating, or just taking a break. I don’t see how the not having the driver do an inspection is going to be productive. How would they know it was a NO defects ? To not require a driver to inspect is asking for more accidents and incidents due to simply not doing the job of checking the equipment. Or are they just asking them to not save the no defects reports?. Then again what did the driver do to know there was no defects. More govt double talk or just one of the convoluted word games to allow wiggle room for interpretation.
    I do my pre trip each time and once in a while I find something to be fixed. Most times small but ticket worthy by a cops interpretation. Stuff happens in the blink of an eye and tickets can be given for it. Far too many drivers simply check the right box, date , time and go with out getting out of the truck. These are the ones that get busted and blame the inspector or carrier.These same one are the reason for the CSA being what it is and how it is working. The few screwing the many. Cannot stop this behavior unless they leave trucking and they go to driving a fork lift or running a punch press again.. Let us do our job we have been doing for many many years until this CSA point fiasco stuff came alive.
    Retirement looks better and better every day now.
    I used to love trucking but now it is not even a good job anymore. No pride, no self esteem, no work ethic seems to be the norm in the newbies today. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.