Powertrain issue prompts eCascadia recall

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Updated Jul 19, 2023

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, July 18, 2023:

Freightliner eCascadias recalled over powertrain issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 82 of its 2023-’24 electric eCascadia model over a powertrain issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Daimler said that the e-axle planetary gear set may not be welded properly, which can cause the e-motor to detach from the final drive, resulting in an undetectable and sudden loss of drive power without the ability to restart the vehicle.

The remedy to fix the issue is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 3. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL979. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-467.

[Related: Tesla issues another recall for its electric Semi]

FMCSA denies another trucker’s HOS exemption request

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied a truck driver’s request for an exemption from the 10-hour break, the 14-hour driving window, the 11-hour driving limit, the 30-minute break requirement and the 70-hours-in-eight-days limit.

John Olier, a truck driver and U.S. Army veteran, requested the exemption in March. In his request, Olier said he has 30 years as a licensed driver, including 11 years as an “expert driver” in the Army and five years as a CDL holder, adding that he has “never had an accident or incident involving safety.”

He added that his prior military experience, which trained him to work with little or no sleep periods, enables him to recognize the warning signs of fatigue and respond appropriately.

Out of 113 comments filed to the docket for Olier’s request, 83 supported the exemption, while another 13 focused more on eliminating or relaxing the HOS rules than the exemption application, FMCSA said. Seventeen commenters opposed the exemption.

Like other hours of service exemption requests filed by individuals, FMCSA denied the request, citing that Olier “failed to establish that he would likely maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption.”

The agency also added that it agreed with certain commenters in that “if it exempts one individual from the HOS regulations, it could open the door for a huge number of similar exemption requests. Such a result would be inconsistent with a primary goal of the HOS regulations, which is to prevent crashes arising out of fatigued driving.”

FMCSA has denied several hours-of-service exemption requests in recent months, including owner-operators Lee and Lisa Schmitt late last year, truck driver Ronnie Brown III in January, small fleet Flat Top Transport and driver Wayne Moore Jr. in February, and driver Matthew Killmer earlier this month. 

XPO completes expansion of Atlanta-area terminal

XPO (CCJ Top 250, No. 7) has completed an expansion of its Norcross, Georgia, service center, substantially expanding capacity in metro Atlanta.

This marks another milestone in the implementation of the company’s previously announced plan to grow capacity in its North American network with 900 net new doors nationally by the first quarter of 2024.

This Norcross expansion adds 46 doors in the Georgia market, enabling XPO to handle more freight and provide even better service to customers, the company said.

“As part of our strategic plan, we’re adding new doors in markets that can use more capacity and sustain growth over time,” said Dave Bates, chief operating officer of XPO. “The expansion of the Norcross service center in the growing metro Atlanta area will greatly benefit our customers as we’ll be able to serve their needs with additional flexibility and speed. It also allows us to strengthen our local presence with more well-paying career opportunities and expanded service to businesses across the region.”

The Norcross service center currently employs more than 120 people. With the completion of the expansion, the company expects to hire additional dockworkers and driver sales representatives. In total, XPO employs nearly 700 people across seven service centers in Georgia.