Emergency HOS waivers for Baltimore bridge collapse extended

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, July 9, 2024:

FMCSA again extends Baltimore emergency declaration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued another short-term extension to the emergency declaration related to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

A state of emergency was declared in the aftermath of the collapse on March 26. A handful of extensions since then have kept the declaration in place. The most recent extension was set to expire on July 6.

The new extension, published July 3, extends the waiver through July 15.

As previously reported, the following motor carriers and drivers are exempt from the maximum driving time regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 395.3:

  • Those providing direct assistance to the restoration and reopening efforts at the Port of Baltimore transporting equipment and supplies related to immediate repairs to the roadways and navigable waterways adjacent to the port
  • Those providing transportation related to the removal of wreckage and debris from the waterways providing access to the port

Additionally, carriers and drivers transporting commodities rerouted from the Port of Baltimore to other East Coast ports because of the collapse, including fuel and intermodal freight, such as shipping containers and their contents, automobiles or other equipment transported in roll-on roll-off operations such as heavy duty machinery and farm equipment are granted emergency relief from the maximum 11-hour driving time in 49 CFR Part 395.3(a)(3)(i), up to a maximum of two additional hours.

Carriers and drivers hauling fuel (gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas, and heating oil) from Maryland’s Curtis Bay terminal (within the Baltimore Marine Terminal area) for delivery to the following locations within Maryland: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, and Washington County are also exempt from the maximum 11-hour driving time, up to a maximum of two additional hours.

Finally, drivers and carriers in the above operations who are not currently required to use an electronic logging device and don’t have an ELD installed, including those currently operating under the short-haul operations exception, are allowed to operate without an ELD for keeping logs. Such carriers and drivers are required to maintain paper logs and supporting documents while operating under the exemption.

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FMCSA said it will continue to monitor the status of the emergency and modify the declaration if necessary.

[Related: Channel to Port of Baltimore fully reopened to original dimensions]

Tie rod recall expands to more Volvo, Mack, Daimler units

Three major truck manufacturers are expanding recalls related to a potentially faulty tie rods that could impact the ability to steer the vehicles.

Volvo Trucks is recalling 12 model year 2025 VHD and VN units equipped with Hendrickson Composilite EXS20 liftable steer axle suspension assemblies, in addition to the previously reported three VN trucks, because the tie rod assembly ball stud could have been improperly heat treated and can fail.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents state that the ball stud can separate from the vehicle becoming a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

Dealers will inspect and replace the tie rod end assemblies as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Aug. 30. Owners may contact Volvo Trucks customer service at 1-800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX2405. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-503.

Similarly, Mack Trucks is recalling 59 model year 2025 LR, Granite, and Pinnacle vehicles equipped with Hendrickson’s Composilite EXS20 steerable lift axle suspension assemblies in which the tie rod assembly ball stud could have been improperly heat treated and can fail. Mack previously recalled seven MY 2025 Anthem and Pinnacle units.

Dealers will inspect and replace the tie rod end assemblies as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Aug. 30. Owners can contact Mack customer service at 1-800-866-1177 with recall number SC0468. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-504.

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling 60 model year 2025 Freightliner Cascadia, 114SD, Western Star 47X, and 49X trucks equipped with Hendrickson’s Composolite EXS20 steerable lift axle suspension assemblies for the same tie rod issue as Mack and Volvo. Daimler previously recalled 540 trucks for a front axle tie rod issue.

Daimler’s remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 1. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 800-745-8000 with recall number F1005. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-509.

Comment period extended for fleet’s under-21 request

Those interested in commenting on a small private fleet’s request for a waiver to allow three of its intrastate drivers under the age of 21 to operate in a different state now have an additional two weeks to do so.

FMCSA published the request from 23-truck 3 North LLC on June 11. 3 North utilizes a fleet of specialized construction equipment mounted on a straight truck chassis to transport concrete for wind turbine foundations.

The company said that it uses a different set of CDL holders to drive the CMVs across state lines. Once the trucks are across state lines, the company is asking FMCSA to allow it to use its three under-21 drivers to operate the trucks in the state where the work is being performed.

Federal regulations require that CDLs issued to drivers under the age of 21 be marked with a “K” restriction limiting them to intrastate operations in the driver’s state of domicile.

The comment period, which was originally open through July 11, was extended to July 25 because FMCSA did not make 3 North’s application available for public review in the Federal Register docket. Comments can be filed here.

[Related: Fleet seeks waiver to allow under-21 intrastate drivers to operate in another state]