News roundup, March 24: Paccar, Daimler limiting truck production; states issuing special overweight permits for coronavirus relief haulers

Updated Mar 25, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

Paccar, Daimler join Mack, Volvo, Navistar in limiting truck production
Paccar announced Tuesday its plans to suspend truck and engine production at factories worldwide for more than two weeks amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Production will be halted through April 6, but Paccar says it “will continue to provide aftermarket support to its customers who deliver essential infrastructure services to our communities.”

The company plans to review future actions on a regular basis.

Daimler also on Tuesday said in a statement to Overdrive sister publication CCJ they would be winding down production at several facilities for the next 12 days.

Affected manufacturing plants include Mt. Holly Truck Plant and Cleveland Truck Plant in North Carolina; Gaffney Truck Plant in South Carolina; Portland Truck Plant in Oregon; and Saltillo Truck Plant and Santiago Truck Plant in Mexico.

“There will be limited operations at each plant location during this period, as we will continue to provide full support of our aftermarket operations to ensure our parts distribution centers continue to run smoothly and fulfill their crucial role helping to keep critical infrastructure running,” DTNA said in its statement.

The company expects to return to normal production on Monday, April 6 in the U.S and April 14 in Mexico.

The companies join Navistar, who yesterday announced the suspension for two weeks production at its Springfield, Ohio plant, and Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America who each Friday morning announced they were shutting down facilities in Macungie, Pennsylvania, Dublin, Virginia or Hagerstown, Maryland through this Friday.

Ohio, Illinois issuing special overweight permits for coronavirus emergency relief haulers
The Ohio and Illinois transportation departments are issuing special overweight permits to help carriers hauling COVID-19 emergency supplies without having to go through normal overweight procedures.

Ohio DOT approved a special blanket permit for haulers carrying heavy or oversized loads of food, non-alcoholic beverages, medical supplies, cleaning products and other household goods. Ohio’s permit applies to travel on roads and bridges maintained by the ODOT, including interstates, U.S. highways and state highways. Loads with the permit are limited to 90,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and must comply with all posted bridge weight and height restrictions.

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Carriers can download and print the special permit and must travel with a copy of it, along with this form. Carriers are also required, within 24 hours after the trip is completed, to report back to the department where they travel and how much weight they carried. ODOT will use the information to monitor road and bridge conditions along the routes traveled by the heavyweight vehicles.

In Illinois, carriers can haul up to 88,000 pounds, or 10% of the vehicles gross axle, gross axle combination or gross vehicle weight limits. Drivers using the waiver must have a copy of this order from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with this order from the Illinois DOT.

Drivewyze adds Pennsylvania rest area alerts
Drivewyze announced it has added Pennsylvania rest area open and closed alerts to its Drivewyze Safety Notifications service, which is a free service to carriers subscribed to the company’s PreClear weigh station bypass service. The alerts automatically pop up for those with the service.

The notifications will be displayed for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, as long as Pennsylvania rest area parking is limited. The alerts, which will display “rest area open” or “rest area closed,” will show up when a trucker is both 25 and 5 miles out from the location.

Last week, Pennsylvania DOT announced it was closing all rest areas in the state and not allowing trucks to access them for parking. PennDOT then reversed that decision to allow trucks – and only trucks – to park there while keeping the facilities closed.

More than 35,000 Peterbilts included in recall that could result in fire
Paccar has issued a recall that affects approximately 35,671 Peterbilt tractors from model year 2015-2020 equipped with a left-hand under hood jumper terminal, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected trucks include Peterbilt 365, 389, 567 and 579 models. In the affected trucks, the positive battery jumper terminal cable may be too long, allowing it to chafe against the left front suspension spring and result in an electrical short circuit, which increases the risk of the fire.

Paccar will notify owners of affected trucks, and dealers will inspect the battery jumper terminal cables and replace them as necessary. Owners can contact Paccar customer service at 1-940-591-4220 with recall number 20PBA. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-130.

The company also issued a separate recall for approximately 233 model year 2016-2020 Peterbilt 320 and 520 models with dual foot valves and a liftable tag or tri-drive rear axles. The rear brake signal hose in these trucks may be missing a quick release valve, possibly causing a delay in their brake release timing.

Paccar will notify owners, and dealers will check the trucks for a quick release valve, installing one if necessary. Owners can contact Paccar customer service at 1-940-591-4220 with recall number 20PBB. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-132.