New Online System Cuts Down On Paperwork While Keeping Track Of Unsafe Trucks

Officials say a new online system will help keep unsafe trucks off the road, while also saving time and money for transportation companies.


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At a recent gathering at the George R. Brown Convention Center:

“To create an account, you’re just going to click create an account.”

Transportation industry executives checked out a new online system that’s designed to cut down on paperwork when a big rig is pulled over for a roadside inspection.

“Next it takes you to your setting of your user name and password.”

It’s called the Driver Vehicle Inspection Support Service. It’s a joint effort by the trade group Intermodal Association of North America and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It’s a web portal that lets trucking companies know when one of their vehicles has been cited for violations.

As it stands right now, drivers are given a paper citation when their vehicle isn’t in compliance, and the problem is that the paperwork isn’t always handed over to the trucking company.

Gerry Bisaillon handles compliance issues for Union Pacific Railroad. He says when violations go unreported, transportation can come to a standstill.

“One of the ways that we’ve been finding roadside inspections, is unfortunately when a chassis may get stopped at a secondary inspection and the initial inspection wasn’t addressed and the chassis gets impounded.”

Federal regulations specify when a truck isn’t in compliance, the operator has 15 days to correct the problem. When copies of the violation notice don’t make it to the proper parties, those repairs aren’t made. The Intermodal Association’s Dennis Montz says along with causing headaches for transportation companies, drivers of passenger vehicles are left to share the road with unsafe trucks.

“You have a piece of equipment that for whatever reason has been deemed not to be road-worthy. And nobody knows about that, and it can’t be repaired until people know about it.”

And Montz says there’s a cost savings to the transportation companies because they don’t have to spend time tracking down paperwork.

“It’s conjecture I think, but it could be millions of dollars for the industry as you take this administrative burden out of handling the documents.”

Also on hand for the rollout, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Assistant Administrator Jack Van Steenburg. He applauds the new system as a successful public-private partnership. Van Steenburg says the online system was put together in only three months after the Intermodal Association put the idea on the table.

“In May we confirmed it at the meeting in Chicago. So what we’re doing is making sure that chassis is safe to be operating on the road and then, it’s obviously safe to the motoring public.”

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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