Daily Reports: No Problems, No Need to File
Earlier this month, the Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that he plans to propose eliminating the rule that mandates that truck drivers file daily reports of vehicle inspections even when they do not find any problems with their rigs. According to Foxx, this suggested change could save the commercial trucking industry as much as $1.7 billion per year. “If this rule goes into effect, we will eliminate the burden of completing and retaining reports when there’s nothing to report, saving the industry an estimated $1.7 billion a year and saving truck drivers an estimated 47.2 million hours that can be better spent,” Foxx stated in a news conference earlier this month.
As a truck accident lawyer, I highly value the safety rules and regulations that the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) produces. I know only too well how dangerous our roads are with these 85,000-pound trucks rumbling down the highway. Daily reports are a key method of documenting a truck's safety record.
Daily Reports Strain Resources
Yet as the founder and managing partner of a small, multi-state law firm, I appreciate that filing daily reports simply to meet regulations can be a drain on resources. Yes, safety reports are important and, definitely, all issues and problems with these big tractor-trailers should be documented and submitted to and reviewed by the trucking company management. Those reports should definitely be stored in keeping with the FMSCA rules and regulations.
However, it makes sense that if there are no issues to report, then truck drivers and trucking companies should not have to file the daily reports. To force trucking companies to store reports for the sake of storing reports is not an effective use of money, time and resources. Moreover, filing those reports with no safety violations does nothing to improve the safety of the big trucks.
If we accept that Secretary Foxx’s numbers are accurate, that $1.7 billion could be redirected into vehicle and equipment maintenance, safety training and hiring more staff (to reduce the pressures on drivers to violate their hours of service.) It is my hope that the FMCSA requires trucking companies to have level one and two inspections of each of their trucks and trailers once a month as that is truly the safest means to prevent accidents from maintenance issues.
Read the DOT's blog post about eliminating the need for ineffective daily reports: http://www.dot.gov/fastlane/dot-cutting-paperwork-boosts-trucking-industry-bottom-line