Some interesting news from Washington this week (no seriously) in regards to the trucking industry. According to a new DOT plan, starting December 18, 2014 truck drivers will no longer be forced to file daily reports after routine pre and post trip inspections, as long as there aren’t safety defects or maintenance occurs. This requirement dates back to 1952 and the change comes from an executive order from 2011 when President Obama set out to eliminate rules that are “outmoded, insufficient, or excessively burdensome”.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the DOT estimate that 95 percent of inspection reports show no safety concerns. Yet truck drivers spend over 46 million hours a year filling out those reports. Putting these hours to more efficient use would pump around $1.7 billion a year back into the industry.
Interestingly though, while the American Trucking Associations support this effort they question the estimated economic impact. They say that around 40 percent of the electronic data recorders currently in use by the industry file reports automatically. Also, many members say they will continue to file reports regardless of regulation because they find reports to be an asset to effective maintenance.
Certainly government economic data should always be viewed with a bit of skepticism. Due to the trucking industry moving to more electronic data filing it is difficult to say exactly how much time this is going to shift towards more productive activity. Regardless though, the fact the Washington is looking at some burdensome red tape that plagues the trucking industry, especially given this era of partisan bickering is encouraging.