NHTSA underride committee sets next four meetings | New HOS waiver for fuel haulers

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024:

NHTSA sets next four underride advisory committee meetings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced the dates for the next four meetings of its Advisory Committee on Underride Protection (ACUP), which is tasked with providing advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on safety regulations to reduce underride crashes and fatalities related to underride crashes.

The next four ACUP meetings will be held Feb. 8, March 13, April 24, and May 22 -- each from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern. Pre-registration is required to attend each online meeting. A link allowing access to each meeting will be distributed to registrants within 24 hours of the meeting start time.

Each meeting will be open to the public and will be held virtually via Zoom. Information and registration for the meetings will be available on the NHTSA website at least one week in advance of each meeting, NHTSA said. The committee's establishment comes after NHTSA last year published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking signaling the possibility of a mandate for side-underride guards on trailers. Study of the issue was required by 2021-passed infrastructure legislation, directing the DOT to complete research on side underride guards to better understand their overall effectiveness and assess the feasibility, benefits, and costs.. 

The committee during the Feb. 8 meeting will discuss rear underride crashes, prevention and mitigation technologies, and the committee’s recommendations to the DOT. The March 13 meeting will cover side underride crashes, prevention and mitigation technologies and the committee’s recommendations.

The April 24 meeting will cover front underride crashes and prevention and mitigation technologies, and the final scheduled meeting on May 22 will cover underride data needs.

[Related: Side underride guard mandate: Rail disaster waiting to happen?]

Western Star trucks recalled for parking brake issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 149 Western Star trucks in which a defect in the inversion valve may delay the engagement of the parking brake, which could allow the vehicle to move unintentionally. 

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents said this causes the trucks to fall out of compliance with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 121, "Air Brake Systems."

Affected units include certain 2023-’24 Western Star 4900 trucks and 2023 Western Star 6900 trucks.

The remedy to fix the issue is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed March 10. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL992. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-013.

[Related: Two new Mack/Volvo recalls]

Nebraska waives HOS regs for heating fuel haulers

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen on Jan. 12 issued an executive order temporarily waiving the maximum driving time limits (49 Code of Federal Regulations 395.3) for drivers hauling residential heating fuels and oils or fuel used to generate power for residential heat into or within the state.

Pillen’s order said the state “is experiencing extreme cold weather creating unexpected demand for heating fuel and oils needed to support the health and welfare” of residents.

Drivers utilizing the waiver are required to carry a copy of the order as evidence of their direct support to the state during the emergency.

Pillen said the order “will help reduce delays to ensure power districts have the fuel reserves needed to keep up with surging demand.” It is effective immediately and will remain in effect through Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m.

[Related: Shorter automatic emergency HOS exemptions: FMCSA petitioned to reconsider]