Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Will DVIR relief give you a piece of $1.7 billion?

| August 01, 2013

The new DOT chief, Anthony Fox, to his credit announced a proposed rule this week that would eliminate the requirement for filing a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report when no defects are found with truck or trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says no-defect DVIRs account for 95 percent of the filings.

DOT estimates the industry will save 46.7 million hours a year by not filling out DVIR forms when no defect is found.
DOT estimates the industry will save 46.7 million hours a year by not filling out DVIR forms when no defect is found.

Anything that reduces red tape in trucking is a good thing. This same step was taken last year with a comparable requirement for truck drivers operating intermodal equipment trailers used for transporting containerized cargo.

DOT says this newly proposed rule will save the industry $1.7 billion a year in paperwork costs. That grandiose total represents 46.7 million hours saved × $36 per hour.

The $36 comes from “a base wage of $18.24, fringe benefits of 55 percent, and overhead of 27 percent.” This appears to be based on company driver averages, since no one’s giving owner-operators fringe benefits that amount to 55 percent of their revenue.

It gets much hairier if you try to trace the computations even further. Should you care to read the rule, note pages 5, 18 and 25-27 for more math background. The data is partly based on a “Truck Costing Model developed by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute Berwick,” says one footnote.

It doesn’t seem like this level of research is required to determine that yes, it would be more efficient to eliminate filing a form that is virtually meaningless.

Some of that that $1.7 billion would be efficiency gains for fleets, but the rest is more productive time for drivers. Here’s what the rule says about the actual pencil-pushing time: “The first step, filling out a DVIR is estimated to take 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The second step, reviewing and signing a DVIR is estimated to take 20 seconds when defects are reported and 5 seconds when no defects are reported.”

How much time would this rule save you? And would that actually translate into more driving time and more income?

  • misskitty

    What the feds give with one hand, you can be sure it will be taken with the other, down the road…

  • Rockwell

    Heck, with the amount of savings this will represent to the average O/O, we can install 2 DPF filters on our trucks! Now we can afford them! Ridiculous!

  • JETaratuta

    I’d rather fill out the DVIR to document an inspection was done. Without documentation, tens of thousands of drivers won’t have a leg to stand on in court.

    The rule of the legal jungle: “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done.”

  • Thompson Pass Trucker

    What’s the difference between ‘permission to not have to fill out the form’ and ‘just didn’t bother to do the inspection?’ When it comes to court neither one of them will stand up.

    The three rules for covering your butt…document, documentation, keep copies.

    ‘Proving’ that you accomplished a pre- or post-trip inspection is impossible without some form of documentation! WTH are they thinking? I don’t want any questions, errors or omissions to catch me on the backside. I’ll fill out my DVIR just to insure no problems. Not having to file them with ‘the authorities’ only means I’ll keep them for my own protection.

    As for the economy of it – at the three minutes-a-day it takes to fill out the form, and the few minutes it takes to file them it might cost me a whole hour a month. Under ideal circumstances it might cost me fifty bucks. The time it takes to ‘prove’ something that I have no documentation for, on my way down to the attorney’s office…might be worth a lifetime.

  • norman ott

    I still think that a driver should fill out a DVIR every day to show that a post trip inspection was done. How stupid can the FMCSA get.

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