The trucking industry is vital to our American economy and as such, I always support efforts to reduce industry costs that do not put public safety at risk. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed a new rule that “rescinds the requirement that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce, except drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs, submit, and motor carriers retain, DVIRs (Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports) when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.” The real concern here is that drivers and unethical trucking companies will see this change as a way to be less rigorous in their pre-journey vehicle inspections, leading to a reduction in public safety.
No Driver Vehicle Inspection Report ≠ Safe Truck
Following the passage of the rule on December 16, 2014, commercial truck drivers who do not find, or are not informed about, any defects or problems with their tractor-trailers are no longer required to file a driver vehicle inspect report.
Under the previous rule, truck drivers would have had to submit a driver vehicle inspection report regardless of the safety status of their rigs. The submission of those forms was an assertion that the trucks were, in fact, safe and roadworthy prior to being driven on the road. Truck drivers and trucking companies have to affirmatively confirm that their tractors and trailers were ready for the road.
In October of last year, my colleagues on the Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice presented arguments to the FMCSA administration to the effect that these (then proposed) cost-saving measures would come at the expense of road safety. The National Transportation Safety Board, along with the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, echoed these same concerns to the FMSCA.