Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Eliminating No-defect DVIRs

Driver Vehicle Inspection ReportsIt’s no secret that what drives many decisions in the trucking industry is the bottom line (in addition to safety considerations), and everyone’s looking out for it. While it may seem that sometimes-overzealous regulation can get in the way of business, there are times when the administration makes decisions the industry can wholeheartedly get behind.

Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published one such decision: on Thursday, December 18, a Final Rule was enacted to eliminate the standing requirement that truck drivers keep, and register Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) for inspections which yielded no evidence of defects. With roughly 95 percent of DVIRs indicating a defect-free status, nixing the reporting requirement would allow both operators and the agency to focus their efforts on the 5 percent of reports that do contain defects.

Drivers are still required to perform the vehicle pre- and post-trip inspections to identify any safety defects or maintenance concerns and report any defects, which require that the driver:

  • Be satisfied that basic parts and accessories are available and in good working order prior to driving the vehicle
  • Ensure that all cargo and vehicle components are properly distributed and/or secured
  • Review the last driver’s vehicle inspection report and sign it if defects or deficiencies were reported

Despite the goodwill surrounding the rule change, some drivers and carriers are expressing concern that the lack of documentation—and therefore proof that the inspection was completed—will leave them vulnerable should something go wrong further down the road. The middle ground may come in the form of electronic DVIRs, or eDVIRs, which record and archive equipment safety and compliance scores, but are not submitted.

Overall, the new rule will allow for greater efficiency. With current FMCSA estimates calculating that professional truck drivers spend almost 47 million hours every year completing DVIRs, industry experts contend that the elimination of filing reports for vehicles in good working order could result in time savings of up to $1.7 billion dollars annually.

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