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Reduced paperwork requirements for truckers

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that commercial truck drivers will no longer be required to submit pre-driving and post-driving reports when inspections reveal no needed repairs. The new rule took effect on Dec. 18, alleviating commercial drivers of a previous responsibility that forced truckers in Ohio and around the country to spend 46.7 million hours a year on.

According to the DOT, the elimination of the previous requirement is expected to save the trucking industry approximately $1.7 billion each year. The department also indicated it does not believe there will be any reduction in safety as the eliminated reports are those for when pre- and post-trip inspections reveal no problems or defects.

Reports indicate that up to 95 percent of the reports submitted by commercial vehicle drivers indicate no problems with the trucks they drive. The move is hailed as the largest paperwork reduction initiated by the Obama administration, dropping the trucking industry from the 19th to the 79th spot in terms of amount of required paperwork.

Regulations for the trucking industry are in place for good reason. As large trucks are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities when they are involved in an accident, the trucking industry is thus highly regulated. It remains to be seen whether the elimination of a regulatory requirement will equate with an increased safety issue. It is possible that by eliminating the requirement, however, truck drivers who may already drive the maximum number of driving hours each day may be able to get more rest between driving shifts instead of spending additional time on paperwork. With the potential of increased resting time, it is possible that fewer accidents will occur due to driver fatigue.

Source: OH&S, "DOT Plays Santa, Eliminating Daily Paperwork Requirement for Trucking Industry", December 17, 2014

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