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Under rule, truck drivers no longer fill out paperwork

Tennessee drivers may be interested to learn that, on Dec. 18, truck drivers will no longer be required to fill out daily paperwork. Not only is this law expected to save the trucking industry an estimated $1.7 billion every year, the law supposedly does not compromise safety.

In the past, truck drivers were required to fill out paperwork after completing their pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections. This method caused a large amount of paperwork and also cost truckers an estimated 46.7 million work hours every single year. However, truck drivers who identify equipment problems or potential safety issues will still be required to fill out the paperwork. The report stated that only approximately 5 percent of truck inspections ever resulted in the identification of safety issues or potential maintenance concerns.

The acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated that the move caused the trucking industry to achieve the largest reduction in paperwork under the Obama Administration. Prior to the rule being passed, the trucking industry was ranked at number 19 for highest paperwork burden across all industries. The trucking industry now ranks 79th.

Because this rule has not been in effect for a long period of time, it is not known if the no-paperwork rule affects the quality of the inspections conducted by the truck drivers. If a semi accident occurs due to a maintenance problem, and no paperwork regarding the inspection is available, a person injured in the crash could potentially argue that the truck driver and the trucking company was negligent. However, it is likely that the injured person would have to provide evidence that the maintenance issues should have been caught. If the truck driver and the company are found to be liable, the injured person may seek compensation.

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

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