House bill would protect diesels against state bans, Senate floats carrier selection standard

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, July 31, 2023:

Carrier safety selection standard bill intro’d in Senate

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) recently introduced the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a “safety fitness determination” test for shippers and brokers to ensure trucking companies are licensed, registered, and insured. U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) co-led the introduction of the legislation. 

The bill also would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, within a year of the bill's enactment, to finalize efforts to revise the methodology for issuing carrier safety ratings. The bill arrives with the FMCSA in the process of planning a potential rulemaking to update that methodology.

“Our legislation is a common-sense measure to improve highway safety and end the confusion over motor carrier selection standards,” Fischer said. “Implementing a single, simplified federal rule will also strengthen America’s supply chain and provide much-needed clarity for the transportation sector. I want to thank Senator Crapo for his support to push this legislation forward.”

[Related: House bill would require FMCSA to update carrier safety rating regs]

If passed, the bill would require trucking companies to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, meet at least the minimum insurance requirement, and not have an unsatisfactory safety rating. If this standard is followed, a shipper or broker would be considered to have selected a carrier in “a reasonable and prudent manner.”

A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House in February by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin).

C.H. Robinson voiced support for Fischer’s Senate bill, noting that it would help small carriers that make up most of the market -- with a quote from company Chief Legal Officer Ben Campbell that was nearly identical to one that accompanied press releases announcing the House-introduced version.  

[Related: FMCSA offering 'kinder, gentler' approach to safety scoring? Not if automated inspections go live]

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Internal combustion engine bans: Bill advances that would block them

Legislation that could amend federal law to block attempts to eliminate the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines cleared its first hurdle last week, as it passed the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and will move to the full House floor.

Introduced in March by Rep. John Joyce (R-Pennsylvania), the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act was introduced in response to the California Air Resources Board’s decision to effectively ban the sale of new, internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

“California regulators shouldn’t have the power to determine what vehicles are sold to families in Pennsylvania,” Joyce said. “One state should not be able to set national policy, and Americans should not be forced into making purchases they are unable to afford. I’m proud to see the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act pass through the Energy and Commerce Committee and look forward to its passage in the House.”

[Related: CTA's Shimoda: Start working on CARB regulation requirements now]

In addition to blocking attempts to ban the sale of traditional engines, it would also restrict the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any Clean Air Act waivers that would ban the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines.

A version of the bill was also introduced in the Senate in June by Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma). According to a press release from Mullin, the bill has support from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), among others.

[Related: California banning diesel truck sales in 2036]

Volvo recalls 55K trucks over windshield wiper motor issue

Volvo Trucks is recalling more than 55,000 trucks due to the windshield wiper motor gears possibly wearing prematurely, causing the motor to fail, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall includes 55,012 model year 2022-‘24 VNR, VNL, VHD and VAH trucks.

Dealers will replace the windshield wiper motor assembly, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 15. Owners can contact Volvo Trucks customer service at 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX2309. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-511.

Small number of Peterbilt, Kenworth trucks recalled for driveline issue

Paccar is recalling 19 Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks because the adhesive thread-lock may not have been applied to the four flange-mounted yoke bolt threads on the driveline, allowing the driveline fasteners to loosen.

Loose fasteners may allow the driveline to separate from the truck, increasing the risk of a crash, the recall states.

Affected models include:

  • 2023 Peterbilt 548
  • 2023-‘24 Peterbilt 536
  • 2023-’24 Peterbilt 537
  • 2023-‘24 Kenworth T280
  • 2023 Kenworth T480
  • 2024 Kenworth T380

Dealers will apply adhesive thread-lock and replace the fasteners, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 19. Owners can contact Paccar customer service at 425-828-5888 (Kenworth) with recall number 23KWE or 940-591-4220 (Peterbilt) with recall number 23PBE. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-504.

Mack recalls small number of garbage trucks

Mack Trucks, Inc. (Mack) is recalling approximately 19 model year 2024 LR garbage trucks. 

In the affected units, the reinforcing floor welds may be missing from around the passenger seat pedestal, reducing floor strength. The pedestal may buckle during a crash, preventing the passenger seat from properly restraining a passenger, the recall states.

Dealers will inspect and add welds as necessary, replace the missing floor welds, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 15. Owners can contact Mack customer service at 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0446. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-513.