Regs violations fines increased; thousands of Internationals recalled

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, May 4, 2021:

DOT increases fines for regs violations based on inflation
For the second time this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, along with other Department of Transportation agencies, is updating fines for violations of federal trucking regulations for inflation. The DOT didn’t issue the 2020 update until January 2021.

DOT is required by Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 to adjust fine amounts each year based on inflation.

A final rule that published in the Federal Register Monday, May 3, made the new fine amounts effective immediately. The 2015 Act required FMCSA and other DOT agencies to issue an initial “catch-up” adjustment, followed by annual adjustments for inflation.

The DOT, to find the 2021 adjustment amount, had to multiply the penalty amount by the percentage change between the October 2020 Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the October 2019 CPI-U, which for 2021 was 1.01182. Given this multiplier, all of the fine amounts increased.

The updated fines for violations can be seen here.

Thousands of International trucks recalled
A potential issue affecting the engines of more than 10,000 International trucks has prompted a recall from Navistar, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Navistar is recalling approximately 10,038 model year 2019-2021 International LT and RH trucks. The company says the wrist pin may crack and cause connecting rod failure, which could cause the engines to stall.

Navistar will notify owners, and dealers will install a detection system software to warn the driver prior to engine connecting rod failure. Additionally, engines with a defective connecting rod will be repaired, free of charge. Vehicles previously repaired under Recall 20V-255, which received only a software update, will need to return to the dealer for the new remedy.

Owners can contact Navistar customer service at 1-800-448-7825 with recall number 20505. NHTSA’s recall number is 21V-281.

New electric truck support products, services available from Detroit
Daimler Trucks North America has released new products and services from Detroit to help support fleets in the deployment of electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The Detroit eConsulting services provide experienced know-how to fleets and are offered in three varying levels of support. Similarly, the  Detroit eFill line of electric commercial vehicle chargers provide an array of charger options for customers and charging station operators.

“Detroit has led the way in reshaping transportation for over 80 years, and with the new eConsulting services and eFill chargers, we are prepared to help support our customers as we embark on the journey into our collective electric future,” said Richard Howard, senior vice president, on-highway sales and marketing, DTNA. “With the same level of dedication and expertise our customers depend on today for their conventionally-powered trucks, our knowledgeable Detroit team is prepared to support customers every step of the way on the road to electrification.”

Detroit’s eConsulting services are offered in three packages: Baseline, Powerline or Megaline. Under the top-tier Megaline package, which is recommended for large-scale electric truck deployments, customers receive assistance with planning for charging infrastructure, solar panel and stationary energy storage projects, along with the support of the eConsulting team to interface with local utilities on their behalf. The Powerline package includes similar benefits to those found in the Megaline package, without support for distributed energy resources (e.g., solar, storage) or the interface to local utilities. The Baseline package – free to all purchasers of Freightliner electric trucks – includes best practices and dealership-level consultation.

The two higher-tier packages are available to buyers of any electric trucks, and services are not dependent on purchase of a Freightliner truck. Detroit eConsulting solutions and services can be further tailored by customers – in consultation with Detroit – to fit their specific needs.

The Detroit eFill charging stations are designed for seamless integration with the Detroit ePowertrain found in Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 trucks. The chargers are warrantied for five years and are versatile enough to charge a wide range of other brands’ electric trucks. They are available with power ratings from 30 kW to as much as 400 kW.

Forward Air acquires private fleet
Forward Air Corporation announced last week it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of J&P Hall Express, a privately held expedited carrier that generates approximately $15.8 million in annual revenue. The acquisition is expected to close this month.

Headquartered in Atlanta with a second terminal in Albany, Georgia, J&P Hall Express has been in business since 1989. Since then, the company has grown to offer a portfolio of transportation services including LTL, Full Truckload, LCL, CFS warehousing, and airport transfers across the Southeast. J&P Hall Express operates with approximately 70 trucks and 110 employees.

This acquisition increases Forward’s footprint in Atlanta and adds a new location in Albany, expanding the company’s LTL operations in the region.

ATA launches virtual truck driving championships
The American Trucking Associations is calling for the nation’s safest and most professional truck drivers to participate in the 2021 National Battle of the States: Virtual Truck Driving Championships.

The event will begin on July 31 with state-level trivia contests based on the Facts for Drivers study tool, federal and state laws, state trucking history and culture. That leads into the national competition that takes place on Aug. 14 with the National Battle of the States.

"Our industry has braved the front-line, providing essential services and delivering goods to American households throughout the nation in the fight against COVID-19.  It's yet another reason to celebrate our industry heroes – truck drivers," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "The National Battle of the States: Virtual Truck Driving Championships will provide our industry an opportunity to recognize the best of the best in our industry."

More information on how to qualify for the competition can be found here.