News roundup, Jan. 21: EPA asks for feedback on new truck emissions regs; military Exchange service drivers honored overseas

Updated Jan 22, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020: 

EPA opens comment period on proposed emissions regs
The Environmental Protection Agency wants feedback from the public and trucking industry stakeholders on its proposed Cleaner Trucks Initiative to tighten heavy-duty truck emissions regulations and develop a so-called “50-state program” for nationwide emissions standards.

The agency published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking Monday requesting input. Comments can be made here through Feb. 20.

EPA says it’s looking for comments on all aspects of the 97-page proposal as it works to develop a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which the agency says it plans to publish later his year.

The ANPRM targets high NOx emissions during engine warmup and idling periods and when emissions controls deteriorate over time, along with crankcases that can emit emissions. See Overdrive’s coverage of the ANPRM’s announcement from earlier this month for more on the Cleaner Trucks Initiative.

Tennessee Supreme Court to hear case between fleet, Navistar over MaxxForce engines
The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear an appeal in a case between Tennessee-based Milan Express and Navistar, the maker of International Trucks, over alleged defects in the company’s MaxxForce engine line.

In August 2019, an appellate court tossed a decision that required Navistar to pay Milan $30.8 million in damages to the fleet. Milan appealed the appellate court’s decision to the state’s highest court, which announced Jan. 16 it would hear the case.

Milan, a roughly 400-truck fleet out of Milan, Tennessee, purchased 243 International ProStar tractors equipped with MaxxForce engines in 2011 and 2012. A jury in 2017 sided with Milan in the case, awarding the carrier $10.8 million for compensatory damages related to repairs for the engines and $20 million in punitive damages.

A judge recently approved Navistar’s proposed settlement of $135 million that will be paid out to owners of certain International trucks equipped with defective model year 2011-2014 MaxxForce 11- or 13-liter engines. The Milan case has no bearing on the class action lawsuit. As part of the class action settlement, owners of affected trucks can choose to receive up to $2,500 in cash, up to a $10,000 rebate on a new Navistar truck with proof of ownership/lease, or up to $15,000 in repayment for repair costs for each affected truck they owned or leased.

Unified Carrier Registration Plan board meeting next week
The UCR Plan board of directors will meet next week to discuss a recommended enforcement date for 2020 registration fees. The board may also act to recommend to law enforcement a 2020 registration enforcement date.

The public meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central at the Drury Inn & Suites Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Those interested in participating can also call 1-866-210-1669 with passcode 5253902#.

The start of the 2020 registration period was delayed this year, as the process to establish a final rulemaking for 2020 was still underway at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The UCR board recommended to law enforcement to delay enforcement for three months.

Alabama truck stop gets new service option
The Oasis Travel Center at I-10 Exit 53 in Robertsdale, Ala., today features a new TA Truck Service center from TravelCenters of America. In addition to the new maintenance facility, truckers now will have access to the TA Truck Service RoadSquad emergency breakdown assistance out of the location.

Services provided also include:

  • Computerized diagnostics
  • Brakes
  • Wheel end repairs
  • Electrical diagnostics and repair
  • Tire services
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Suspension repair
  • DOT inspections
  • HVAC repair

“TA Truck Service is a perfect fit for our customers,” said Dale Elks, general manager at Oasis Travel Center. “Oasis already provides a wonderful guest experience with multiple dining options; the new truck maintenance and roadside repair offering will provide more of what our drivers are looking for while on the road.”

Army/Air Force Exchange drivers recognized for decades of accident-free service — on Okinawa

Takashi Toyama this month has reached the milestone of 35 years of services to the Army and Air Force Exchange’s efforts to bring “a taste of home to service members and families far from the U.S.” mainland, the Exchange says — distribution activities extend to Exchange locations on their routes, including Exchange main stores, convenience stores and restaurants. Toyama operates out of the Okinawa Distribution Center at Camp Kinser. Toyama has made around 20,000 deliveries since January 1985. He joined the Exchange after his father worked as an Air Force fuel handler, his mother at the commissary and his brother as an Exchange driver at Camp Foster. “I have gotten to know lots of the Exchange associates, and it’s always interesting to meet others,” said Toyama, who plans to drive for four more years. “I’m happy and proud to help in a customer service support role.”Takashi Toyama this month has reached the milestone of 35 years of services to the Army and Air Force Exchange’s efforts to bring “a taste of home to service members and families far from the U.S.” mainland, the Exchange says — distribution activities extend to Exchange locations on their routes, including Exchange main stores, convenience stores and restaurants. Toyama operates out of the Okinawa Distribution Center at Camp Kinser. Toyama has made around 20,000 deliveries since January 1985. He joined the Exchange after his father worked as an Air Force fuel handler, his mother at the commissary and his brother as an Exchange driver at Camp Foster. “I have gotten to know lots of the Exchange associates, and it’s always interesting to meet others,” said Toyama, who plans to drive for four more years. “I’m happy and proud to help in a customer service support role.” Ho Ton (pictured) also reached the 35-year milestone as an Exchange hauler recently, having started driving in 1984. Mr. Ho has been with the Exchange for 37 years all told, starting as a bakery worker before adding 740,000 accident-free miles to the record. Ho eyes a next goal of 40 years accident-free, he says. “Not only does it give me a great sense of pride, but it also gives me personal satisfaction knowing that my job is an essential part of fulfilling the Exchange mission of serving the men and women of the U.S. military.” The Exchange’s Logistics Directorate recently honored Ho and Toyoma for their skill and dependability.Ho Ton (pictured) also reached the 35-year milestone as an Exchange hauler recently, having started driving in 1984. Mr. Ho has been with the Exchange for 37 years all told, starting as a bakery worker before adding 740,000 accident-free miles to the record. Ho eyes a next goal of 40 years accident-free, he says. “Not only does it give me a great sense of pride, but it also gives me personal satisfaction knowing that my job is an essential part of fulfilling the Exchange mission of serving the men and women of the U.S. military.” The Exchange’s Logistics Directorate recently honored Ho and Toyoma for their skill and dependability.