ORLANDO, Fla. — Speaking to a packed house at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Fall meeting here yesterday, Ted Scott, director of engineering with the American Trucking Associations (ATA), provided a regulatory update for members.
He said the topic of mandatory electronic stability systems would appear on the agenda for the final time, with the US having passed a law that will require stability control on three-axle Class 8 trucks Aug. 1, 2017 with the remainder of Class 8 trucks to follow Aug. 1, 2019. The technology costs about US$780 per tractor, Scott pointed out.
US regulators are now turning their attention to speed limiters and have issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that has now been on US President Barack Obama’s desk for more than 90 days.
“My sources are telling me there’s just a lot of questions being asked regarding the proposed rule and it’s just taking time for NHTSA and the FMCSA to answer those questions,” Scott said.
The ATA supports mandating speed limiters set at 65 mph.
One proposed rule it does not support is a requirement that all trucks, trailers and dollies carry certification labels confirming they meet all necessary safety requirements. The proposed rule would apply to US-domiciled carriers. In the absence of a certification label, the carrier and its drivers would have to carry – and present upon demand – letters issued by the equipment manufacturers confirming the equipment complies with all applicable standards.
“We are totally opposed to this rule,” said Scott. “It’s ironic to me that last year the FMCSA was touting the fact it saved the industry $1.7 billion when eliminating the need for ‘no defects noted’ driver vehicle inspection reports; now, more than a year later, they’re proposing a way to replace that savings with a totally unnecessary, costly burden that has absolutely no value in safety.”
Another NPRM introduced this year concerns rear under-ride guards and reflective tape on straight trucks. An additional NPRM calling for stronger under-ride guards on trailers, which will mirror those already in place in Canada, is expected soon. Strengthening under-ride guards could cost the industry from $421 to $669 million but is expected to save five to seven lives per year, Scott said.
If passed, the requirements will affect new equipment only.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies