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DOT Loosens Commercial Bus Regulations

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on July 15th that it is removing some old regulations in a cost-saving effort.

“This rule will remove outdated and overly burdensome reporting requirements on commercial buses that don’t contribute to improving safety” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Change

The final rule says in its 28-page documentation that before the upcoming change that drivers of passenger vehicles had to produce Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) at the end of each workday, verifying that they checked various components of the vehicle for any defects that could impact safety. Such components included:

  • Service brakes
  • Parking brakes
  • Tires
  • Horns
  • Windshield wipers
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Wheels
  • Emergency equipment

The driver had to submit the DVIR paperwork every workday even when everything was fine. Now, drivers are only required by regulation to submit a DVIR when they notice or are suspected to believe there is a defect or deficiency.

Drivers are still expected to do DVIRs, as safety is the top priority of the DOT. However, not needing to submit the paperwork if everything is satisfactory should be one fewer step for everyone involved.


The DOT hopes that, because 95% of submitted DVIRs are no-defect, it will save drivers $73.6 million a year. It arrived at the number by assuming some numbers for their model:

  • 247,496 vehicles
  • 65% of vehicles in use any given day
  • 95% of used vehicles are no-defect
  • It takes 155 seconds to submit the paperwork
  • Regulatory compliance costs $31 per hour

This deregulation is a part of Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, which was signed by President Trump on January 30th, 2017 and says that federal agencies must repeal two regulations for every new one that it adds, a repealing being any action that has a total cost of less than zero, otherwise known as a net benefit to society measurable in dollars.

The final rule will become official deregulation thirty days after it hits the Federal Register. They announced the publishing on the 15th, so at the very most it will be effective in mid-August.

This article is a brief summary of the final rule that can be seen in full on the FMCSA’s website.

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