Feds reduce paperwork for U.S. trucking industry

In a move that could make each work day easier and safer for New Jersey truck drivers, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that a time-consuming daily paperwork requirement for the trucking industry has been dropped. Effective Dec. 18, truck drivers are no longer required to file pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection reports in cases when no violations or safety issues are discovered during the inspection.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers spent an estimated 46.7 million hours filing the inspection reports each year, but only around 5 percent of the reports turned up any violations or safety concerns.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the rule change is in response to President Obama's request to cut bureaucratic red tape and waste in the federal government. He also said it is expected to result in safer roadways as truck drivers will have more time to focus on delivering their goods to businesses nationwide instead of filing needless reports. The change will save the U.S. trucking industry around $1.7 billion each year.

FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling said truck driver vehicle inspection reports were ranked as the 19th greatest paperwork burden for federal agencies. Scrapping reports for the 95 percent of inspections where no defects are found will lower that burden to 79th.

This rule change could reduce truck wrecks caused by commercial truck driver fatigue. When truck accidents do occur, however, it is often the drivers of smaller passenger vehicles who suffer the most serious injuries or who are killed in the collisions. Individuals who have been hurt in a truck crash may benefit by consulting with an attorney. With the aid of a lawyer, victims may be able to recover compensation that covers medical expenses and pain and suffering.

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

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