California truck drivers may feel a huge relief as their paperwork requirements diminish. The Dec. 18 implementation of a final rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation has resulted in a potential savings of more than 46 million work hours per year that were once spent on creating and filing reports. While some paperwork is still required, truck drivers will be relieved of the need to file reports for vehicle inspections before and after trips when no safety problems are identified.
According to the DOT, an average of 95 percent of these inspections produce no signs of trouble. However, the related reports that were previously required accounted for nearly $2 billion in costs that can now be saved without any compromise to safety on the roads. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation indicated that this change reflects President Obama's desire to see red tape and waste reduced. The rule will enable the trucking industry to focus more on the safe delivery of goods and greater attention to avoiding accidents.
While the paperwork load for the industry is expected to drop from the 19th highest to the 79th highest among federal agencies, paperwork requirements will remain in effect when defects or safety issues are identified. These records may be important in case of equipment failure resulting in accidents. Even in cases of truck accidents not attributed to equipment problems, service records and inspection reports may be evaluated for signs of problems that should have been addressed.
Someone who has been injured due to an equipment failure in a truck accident may consider filing a personal injury claim to seek compensation for damages suffered. Inspection reports might play a role in such a case as an injured party's lawyer evaluates whether equipment defects have been identified in the past.
Source: OH&S, "DOT Plays Santa, Eliminating Daily Paperwork Requirement for Trucking Industry", December 17, 2014
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