Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Changes to inspection report requirements just a feel good move

FMCSA is really patting itself on the back over a regulatory change that eliminates the requirement to fill out an inspection report on a truck with no defects.

In complete honesty, this is merely a feel good move with an overinflated estimate on how much time and money it’s going to save the industry.

The Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports will no longer need to be filled out if there are no defects. The claim by the agency is that this will save countless hours and boatloads of money – $1.7 billion annually.

The requirement never applied to owner-operators of one truck. So nothing changes for them. And, in most operations, the report was on the very same logbook sheet that motor carriers are still required to keep on file, so no paperwork reduction there.

All of this is not to say that it’s a bad thing. Of course, removing a silly requirement of filling out a report that basically states, “Nope. Nothing’s wrong here,” is a good thing. But let’s not get carried away.

It’s a good thing, and I’m sure the truckers who were out there at the end of their day filling out one more report will appreciate it. It’s just that in the grand scheme of things, it would be so much nicer to see some concerted effort and progress in the agency toward connecting and understanding life on the road.

If they did, they would know the vast majority of drivers likely filled that report out after their pre-trip inspection. They would have also known that the “paperwork reduction” happened a long time ago when those reports were incorporated into most logbooks truckers use.

This shouldn’t have been so much a “woo hoo” in their minds as it should have been “well, that was a waste of time.”

Sure wish FMCSA would punch in and realize you can’t regulate from behind a computer if you don’t truly understand the ins and outs of the job you are regulating. Bet I’ll just keep wishing …