CCJ Daily Dispatch, Nov. 17: FMCSA blocks another state’s rest break laws for truckers

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Updated Nov 18, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020: 

FMCSA blocks Washington state’s meal and rest break laws
The U.S. DOT has blocked another state from enforcing state-level laws that require motor carriers to grant truck drivers periodic meal and rest breaks.

The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in a notice issued Tuesday morning, granted a petition from the Washington Trucking Association that asked FMCSA to intervene and block Washington from enforcing state labor laws. Washington’s laws required employers to provide meal breaks within every five hours of a worker’s shift and paid rest breaks of at least 10 minutes every four hours.

Those laws mirror laws in California that FMCSA in late 2018 ruled were trumped by federal hours of service regulations. Like California’s mandatory break laws, FMCSA said the breaks cause an undue burden on interstate commerce and are incompatible with federal HOS regs that govern drivers’ schedules. Thus, Washington’s laws are preempted by federal law.

Two recalls affect more than 8,000 Freightliner, Western Star trucks
Two separate recalls announced by Daimler affect approximately 8,206 Freightliner and Western Star trucks from the 2018-2021 model years, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The largest of the two recalls includes approximately 6,795 trucks and is due to an internal component in the clutch assembly that may fail, which could cause the truck to move unexpectedly. Models included in this recall include:

  • 2018-2019 Freightliner 108SD
  • 2018-2019 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2018-2019 Freightliner 122SD
  • 2018-2019 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2018-2019 Freightliner Cascadia
  • 2018-2019 Western Star 4700
  • 2018-2019 Western Star 4900
  • 2018-2019 Western Star 5700

DTNA will notify owners, and dealers will update the software and replace the clutches, free of charge. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL-865. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-642.

The other recall affects approximately 1,411 model year 2020-2021 Freightliner Cascadia, 2021 Freightliner 108SD, 114SD and Business Class M2 and Western Star 4700, 4900 and 5700 trucks. In the affected trucks, the steer axle spindle nut snap-ring locking feature may be incorrectly installed or missing from the left spindle nut at the spindle, which could result in a wheel-end failure and potentially a wheel-off/separation incident.

DTNA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the hub cap plug, and reinstall or replace of the snap-ring as needed, free of charge. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL-866. NHTSA’s recall number is 20V-660.

SoCal power company adds electric Freightliner to fleet
Southern California Edison, the primary electricity supply company four much of southern California, recently added a Freightliner eCascadia from the Freightliner Customer Experience Fleet to begin a three-month testing trial of the battery-electric truck.

SCE is the first utility company to test an electric truck from Freightliner, Daimler says, and will use the eCascadia for material transport, moving heavy equipment like transformers, wire reels and switch gears from an Irwindale, California, warehouse to SCE service centers and storage yards.

“SCE’s testing of the eCascadia is a major step down the path of achieving our company’s fleet electrification goals,” said SCE principal manager of Fleet Asset Management Todd Carlson, who manages the company’s fleet of more than 6,200 vehicles.

Freightliner’s CX Fleet is comprised of eight early series development trucks meant to test the integration of battery-electric vehicles into large-scale fleet operations. Feedback from Freightliner customers will help fine-tune final driving parameters like battery management software, Daimler notes.

Top 250 fleet announces driver pay increase
Dallas, Texas-based Stevens Transport (No. 40 on the CCJ Top 250) is raising driver pay across all divisions, effective Nov. 16. The company says the raise is by as much as 14% in its dedicated, OTR, regional and team divisions.

Starting pay under the new pay plan in the OTR division could be up to 54 cents per mile, depending on the driver’s experience. Drivers in the dedicated division can top out at 62 cpm depending on division and experience. Regional drivers earn up to 55 cpm under the new pay scale, and teams in the expedited division can start as high as 56 cpm.