Solidarity with the dispatcher, forces against CARB low-use exemption change

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Updated Nov 15, 2013

Great story out of the Omaha, Neb., World-Herald newspaper about FirstFleet drivers at the terminal there who made a quite public show of solidarity with Rhoda Hawkins, who works in dispatch and payroll there. Hawkins was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, had a double mastectomy in mid-late October and “is scheduled to start chemotherapy treatments next week,” wrote World-Herald reporter Bob Glissman. “The treatments will continue for months, she said, and she expects to lose her hair.”

Amid all that, seven drivers coordinating off-stage showed up at a company meeting their heads shaved completely bald to show their support. Kudos! 

Click through the image to read Bob Glissman’s full story.Click through the image to read Bob Glissman’s full story.

“It was overwhelming,” Hawkins told Glissman. “It touched me that they would take the time to show they care.”

Click through the image to use our interactive graphic to determine your options for getting CARB-compliant under the Truck and Bus rule in 2014.Click through the image to use our interactive graphic to determine your options for getting CARB-compliant under the Truck and Bus rule in 2014.

CARB’s “Good Faith Effort” first advisory says low-use vehicle exemption still in works
Since we wrote about the California Air Resources Board’s reported preparations to boost the in-state mileage of what could be considered a low-use vehicle on California roadways, we’ve been waiting to see final language of the expected advisory from CARB — will they raise the limit to 5,000? 7,500? Somewhere in between? 

An advisory came out, but it didn’t deliver any clarity. Click here for an advisory CARB issued this week. Essentially, it said, hold on, we’ll come back shortly. It did, however, confirm that efforts were under way.

Before that was released, however, a brief note on the California Trucking Association’s website seemed to suggest that taking advantage of a boost in the low-use mileage exemption would hinge not only on a vehicle’s California miles but all miles, making use of the provision for low-use vehicles in state borders off-limits to the majority of this audience. The CTA’s “Word of Caution on Changes to the Low Use Exemption” reads this way in part: “CTA staff has confirmed that the 5,000 mile proposal will apply to total truck miles, not just miles driven in California.” 

The existing definition of “low-use vehicle” in CARB’s own regulatory language, however, does not refer to total miles, as the California Construction Trucking Association’s Joe Rajkovacz points out. “We are taking a wait-and-see attitude right now in regards to CARB’s expected advisory announcing changes,” Rajkovacz says. “Should the CARB staff put something out that limits the usability of the low-mileage exemption by needing to account for all miles traveled regardless of jurisdiction, that is a fundamental change in the actual regulation.” And, he adds, could open up further cans of worms relative to regulation of motor carriers prices, routes, services…

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Here’s the current low-use definition: 

“Low-use Vehicle” means a vehicle that will be operated fewer than 1,000 miles in California in any compliance year.

Find the text of the exemption in the regulations itself via this document, p. 33, which also doesn’t mention anything about “total miles” regardless of state jurisdiction. 

Wait and see, indeed.  

You can use our interactive tool to check your engine’s compliance with CARB’s Truck & Bus Rule via this link. 


UPDATE 11/15: The newly-issued advisory does refer to “total miles” with regard to the low-use vehicle exemption, not just in-state miles, but CARB says it may not formally make regulatory changes before April of next year.  No further clarity there as yet. I’ll do what I can to clarify this in near future.