‘No-Defect’ DVIR Rule Designed to Lower, Not Raise, Costs

Effective December 18, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration eliminated the requirement for truck drivers to prepare a post-trip driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) when no defects are discovered. While the post-trip inspection must still take place, drivers are required to complete a DVIR only when a defect is identified. Drivers of buses, motorcoaches, and other passenger-carrying vehicles are not affected by this change. They must continue to prepare DVIRs whether there aredefects to report or not.

The motivation behind the FMCSA’s reasoning for this rule change was to save the trucking industry money ― claiming that $1.7 billion was spent annually on this paperwork process, yet 95 percent of all DVIRs listed no defects. Adding to this cost was the fact that these “no-defect” DVIRs were kept at the carrier’s place of business for recordkeeping purposes, and then discarded after 90 days.
Now, just over a month since this rule became effective, it may be too soon for a motor carrier who eliminated this paperwork requirement to see a reduction in its administrative costs. However, an increase in maintenance costs may be felt by some carriers, as could a rise in their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC ranking in the CSA program.

Many motor carriers have concerns that their drivers will not adequately inspect their vehicles under the changed requirement and therefore will continue to have their drivers complete a DVIR for all post-trip inspections. Some see this as a best practice and safety management control that can minimize the risk of operating unsafe vehicles and protect company safety rankings. Daily DVIRs can:
• Protect a company’s Vehicle Maintenance CSA scores by preventing any of nearly 350 vehicle maintenance violations that can be found during a roadside inspection.
• Increase efficiency through a preventive maintenance program that identifies and avoids mechanical problems that lead to costly breakdowns, repair, and out-of-service orders.
• Reduce risk by having pretrip and post-trip inspection documents as evidence in the event of accident related litigation.
• Improve safety by catching mechanical problems before they lead to serious accidents or fatalities.

The FMCSA wrote that it “will allow motor carriers to continue to require drivers to submit no-defect DVIRs if they believe that doing so is appropriate for their operations.” While this certainly can be viewed as a “best practice,” it is also a good example of managing above the rules.

master-driver-series-vehicle-inspections

For more in-depth knowledge of the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR), this DVD from J.J. Keller will help your drivers realize that routine inspections are essential to preventing breakdowns, out-of-service delays and crashes. It also reviews a standard procedure for conducting inspections and goes over the DVIR.

What are your thoughts on the new “No Defect” DVIR rule? Voice your opinion in the comments below.

This article was copied with permission from J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
Copyright 2015 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.  

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