CARB sets April 1 effective date for 'smog check' regulation

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024:

Clean Truck Check program officially begins April 1: CARB

The California Air Resources Board announced that its new Clean Truck Check program, which will require truck owners operating in the state to submit to periodic emissions testing, will take effect beginning April 1.

CARB has already extended the reporting deadline for owners to register their trucks in the Clean Truck Check Vehicle Inspection System (CTC-VIS) and pay a $30-per-vehicle compliance fee through Jan. 31. The original deadline was Dec. 31.

The agency said the regulation is being rolled out in phases, with the first phase having debuted a year ago with deployment of roadside emissions monitoring equipment to screen for vehicles operating with potentially high emissions. Vehicles identified as potential high emitters receive a “Notice to Submit to Testing” and are required to submit a passing compliance test to CARB within 30 days of receipt of the notice.

[Related: CARB extends reporting deadline for Clean Truck Check emissions program]

The second phase of the program was rolled out in September, requiring owners to report their trucks and pay the annual compliance fee.

Before implementation of the final phase of the program, CARB is required to announce an effective date at least 90 days before the date.

As such, as of April 1, 2024, vehicles subject to the regulation must pass an emissions compliance test twice per year. Motorhomes and agricultural vehicles are an exception to that rule -- they must pass an emissions compliance test just once per year.

The first periodic testing deadlines will be in July, CARB noted. For California-registered trucks, the periodic testing deadlines will be based on DMV registration date. Trucks registered out of state will be required to test based on the last number of the vehicle’s VIN.

CARB smog check periodic testing deadlinesAs an example, VINs ending in “5” have a compliance deadline of March 31 and a second compliance deadline on September 30 (6 months later).CARB

Following the initial three years of periodic testing requirements, the compliance testing frequency increases to four times per year on April 1, 2027, for vehicles equipped with onboard diagnostics systems.

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[Related: California backs off drayage diesel ban -- for now]

FMCSA leaves random drug, alcohol testing rates unchanged

The Department of Transportation announced Jan. 2 that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's minimum random drug and alcohol testing rates for motor carriers will remain unchanged in 2024 from 2023.

Because FMCSA’s random rates did not change for 2024, the agency is not required to publish a Federal Register notice. FMCSA’s random rates last changed in 2020.

With rates staying the same, the random drug testing rate is 50%, while the random alcohol testing rate is 10%. This means that carriers required to perform random drug tests at a rate equivalent to half their number of drivers. This includes the number of leased owner-operators a carrier contracts with, as well as owner-operators in a testing consortium.

[Related: How does your drug testing consortium notify you of upcoming randoms?]

Freightliner recalls medium-duty M2 units

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 1,300 model year 2024 M2 Business Class trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall states that the trucks may be incorrectly equipped with a transmission gear shifter that includes a “PARK” position, despite the transmission not having a park pawl.

When shifted into PARK, the transmission will actually be in “NEUTRAL,” increasing the risk of a vehicle rollaway and crash.

The recall affects 1,314 units. A remedy is currently under development to correct the issue. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Feb. 20. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL991. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-895.

[Related: Small number of Great Dane trailers recalled over incorrect VINs]