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Onus on truckers to file inspection reports will lessen: FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration often doesn’t know what the response is going to be when it solicits comments from the trucking industry on a proposed change or new regulation. The commercial trucking industry is far from monolithic, and many FMCSA-related matters on safety and ideas for reducing truck accidents are met with both approbation and condemnation, depending on the industry segment that is responding.

Another way to put that is this way: In Texas and nationally, there are big-rig operators and enterprises firmly aligned with groups like the American Trucking Associations -- the nation’s largest trucking advocacy group -- and independent haulers often affiliated with smaller groups, or no group at all.

Sometimes those trucking contingents coalesce in their views regarding regulatory matters, and sometimes they don’t.

The long battle regarding hours of service, limitations on work weeks and prescribed rest periods is a case in point, with many aspects of what just passed into law splintering trucking groups into multiple factions and resulting in myriad disagreements.

Such is unlikely to be the case with a recent FMCSA proposal to cut back on a drivers’ exaction that most truckers readily note they have chafed under for years. Specifically, federal regulators say they intend to eliminate the requirement that commercial truckers turn in inspection reports in cases where they have not noted any truck-related defects.

Drivers are required to conduct inspections before and after every long-haul trip, and they are currently under a mandate to formally file reports in every instance.

When there is, essentially, nothing to note, truckers say the duty to report regardless is onerous and expensive.

The FMCSA agrees, with one estimate positing that altering the rule to require only reports when defects are noted will save the industry about $1.7 billion annually.

Truckers have been asked to comment. In this instance, the responses might reflect nearly universal agreement with the proposal.

Source: Truckinginfo, "FMCSA proposes to drop driver inspection reports if no defects," Truckinginfo staff, Aug. 1, 2013

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