Senators seek to overturn recent EPA rule on heavy-duty truck emissions

Updated Feb 10, 2023

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023:

Senators push to overturn latest heavy-duty emissions regs

A group of 34 Republican Senators, led by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), on Thursday introduced legislation that would overturn new emissions standards on heavy-duty trucks that were finalized in December.

The Environmental Protection Agency in December updated emission standards for heavy-duty commercial vehicles for the 2027 model year, tightening tailpipe NOx limits to a level 80%-plus below the current standard and reducing particulate matter limits by 50%. 

The regulation would also require that manufacturers extend warranties to 450,000 miles from 100,000 and useful life limits to 650,000 miles from 435,000 miles.

Fischer said the rule would hit owner-operators and small fleets the hardest, adding that it would also incentivize operators to continue using older equipment, nullifying what might otherwise be beneficial air-quality impacts stemming from the rule.

“The Biden Administration is saddling the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that would jack up vehicle costs and hurt good-paying jobs,” Fischer said. “This aggressive EPA rule -- which will hit mom and pop truck operations the hardest -- is also ineffective because it incentivizes operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer.”

If passed and signed into law, the legislation would give the EPA rule “no force or effect.”

At the time the rule was finalized, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer, similarly to Fischer Thursday, noted the regs could potentially slow the migration toward cleaner burning, more modern trucks that is currently underway, leaving small fleets and independent drivers to choose between compliance and going out of business.

[Related: Trucking groups slam 'challenging' new EPA rule that slashes truck emissions limits]

I-80 closures after conditions 'deteriorated horribly' in Wyoming

i-80 truck slide offPhoto showing slide-off at the Summit on I-80.Wyoming DOT

Interstate 80 in Wyoming saw a wide swath of rolling closures and snow drifts shutting down traffic and leaving motorists stranded on Thursday. At 12:30 p.m., local time, Wyoming DOT projected closures would last four to six hours. Check for the latest news on closures here

Later, WYDOT posted a harrowing video of intense white out conditions leaving a trooper stuck. Other images from WYDOT show tractor-trailers sliding off the road. 

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For now, the worst of the weather and road conditions looks contained to I-80 between Cheyenne and Rawlins. 

St. Christopher Fund benefit concert set for April

The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) announced this week that country singer-songwriter Levi Hummon will headline the organization’s benefit concert, “Highway to Hope,” on Saturday, April 22, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The event will be held at the Cotton Eyed Joe nightclub at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. There will also be a special pre-show concert for VIPs, sponsors and partners of the St. Christopher Fund that will feature a performance by the Lindsay Lawler Band and special guest Dave Nemo of RadioNemo

This will be Lawler’s second appearance at a Highway to Hope concert after she joined headliner Wynonna Judd and other fellow country music artists -- including John Schneider, Billy Dean and Heath Sanders -- for the inaugural Highway to Hope virtual, livestreamed concert on May 16, 2021.

The inaugural concert raised more than $75,000 to help support professional over-the-road and regional drivers recently out of work because of an injury or illness.

Tickets for the concert are available online for $20 in advance of the event and $25 at the door, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to SCF to support truck drivers in need. VIP tickets for the VIP pre-show concert with the Lindsay Lawler and Dave Nemo are also available online for $99, and the password is HOPE. The VIP pre-show concert is from 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern. The VIP ticket includes food, two drink tickets and the private concert. 

[Related: Faces of the Road: Dave Nemo on history at 50 years in trucking radio]

Driver named Highway Angel for stopping after witnessing end-over-end crash

ABF Freight truck driver Casey Gubert, from Olivehurst, California, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for helping rescue a man whose car had flipped end-over-end in front of him.

Casey GubertCasey GubertGubert was heading north on State Route 99 in Galt, California, on Dec. 9, around 5:20 a.m. when he witnessed a crash.

“One guy decided to go faster than everybody else,” Gubert said. “He cut in and out of traffic and clipped a guy -- he hit the left guard rail, then the right guard rail and flipped.”

The crashed vehicle ended up in a field. Gubert quickly pulled over, noting that the vehicle flipped end-over-end (not a barrel roll) and no one else stopped to help.

“I pulled the door open, I stabbed the (activated) airbag, I cut the seatbelt and got him out of the car,” Gubert said. “He was talking but disoriented.”

Gubert stayed with him until emergency personnel arrived. The crash victim was taken by ambulance, and Gubert said he appeared to have sustained injuries to his neck, collar bone, back and hip.

“He flipped right in front of me, so I knew he was gonna be hurt,” Gubert said. “You gotta stop.”

[Related: Trucking Law: How to protect your business after a crash]