I knew I was opening a can of worms when I wrote last month that tampering with, or deleting, emissions systems was a short-sighted solution for frustrated fleet owners and owner/operators. I don’t think any one issue has touched the nerves of so many of you since the speed limiter debate (remember those good times)?
As you know, we’ve never been ones to shy away from controversial topics, and I’m intrigued and heartened by the dialogue we’ve begun. You can find a sampling of your reaction to our coverage on pg. 69, and yes, most of it contends truck owners should be allowed to disable their emissions systems until reliability of these systems is improved.
The discussion about emissions system tampering has not been limited to the pages of Truck News, either. While we shone a spotlight on this issue with our coverage, the merits of emissions system tampering are being debated online, in personal blogs, on message boards and via social media. One trucker has gone so far as to post a blog that argues owner/operators have no choice but to delete their DPF systems, or face certain bankruptcy.
To that, I say BS. I’m not going to tell you that the emissions systems on newer model trucks have been without their issues. Most of the OEMs acknowledge that downtime is a serious concern among truck buyers, and they’re working hard to address it through things like remote diagnostics. Volvo rolled out a new program last month that pays customers for excessive downtime related to warrantable repairs (see pg. 64). If that doesn’t demonstrate confidence that downtime is improving, then what does?
But that’s beside the point. Getting back to owner/operators, it’s disingenuous to claim they have no hope of survival in the current era of smog-free engines. Many owner/operators are thriving and yes, many are doing it in late model tractors. I have, on my desk, a stack of nominations for our 20th annual Owner/Operator of the Year award as proof that there’s no shortage of O/Os who are doing well for themselves.
They come from all over Canada, they haul all kinds of stuff behind all types of trucks. They’ve been nominated because of their passion for the business, their contributions to the industry and their communities and because of their business acumen. As always, choosing just one will be difficult. That said, we urge you to continue nominating deserving candidates between now and the deadline in late May. The winner will receive $6,000 in cash, an expense-paid trip for them and their spouse to Toronto, a diamond ring and an assortment of other gifts.
This is a special year for the award. It’s our 20th year doing it, making it the longest running and most prestigious award of its kind, and to celebrate, we’ve made some changes to the format. This year, the entire experience will be built around the individual who wins this prestigious award. We will be building an individualized itinerary just for them, which best reflects their individual personality and interests.
On a personal note, presenting the Owner/Operator of the Year award is always a highlight. Poring through the nominations is equally gratifying. There can only be one winner, but the entire process shows an abundance of passion, dedication and yes, success, within the owner/operator community.
Do you know someone who’s deserving of this award? Check out the nomination form on pg. 34.
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