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Commercial Vehicles May Have a New Look

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Check out our podcast, Freight Nation, where industry experts talk all things trucking.

New Commercial Vehicles Come to Market

International and Volvo are introducing new tractors to the market. Citing hauls are getting shorter in length, both opted to introduce regional vehicles. These tractors do not have a sleeper and are meant for the new age driver who wants to spend more time at home and less time on the road.

Some new information is surfacing regarding what commercial vehicle Tesla may be introducing in September. Morgan Stanley Researchers are suggesting that the new vehicle could be autonomous and offer a battery swapping service. If this is true, the offer from Tesla would be very similar to Nikola’s release last December. Even though plans are in place to introduce the Tesla commercial vehicle in September, there is no word on when the vehicle would go into production.

Toyota has gained a great deal of support from environmentalists in California for its hydrogen model, scheduled to begin testing this summer. Even with the new roll outs, the trucking industry is still skeptical of the power, distance, and capacity to refuel and swap the battery in an efficient manner. No word has been given yet on when a Toyota alternate fuel vehicle will be introduced to the market.

A View into the FMCSA and DOT

Believing autonomous vehicles are the next step in road safety, the FMCSA will begin holding meetings regarding the autonomous truck. The FMCSA will be looking for information surrounding design, testing, and development of autonomous vehicles and how they affect various regulations within the industry. Some of the biggest questions will center on repair and maintenance of these vehicles. The first meeting will be held in Atlanta today from 9:30 a.m. to noon (EDT). Watch the listening session here.

The ELD fight is not going away. With OOIDA petitioning the Supreme Court to hear its concerns, various trucking groups are reaching out directly to Elaine Chao (Secretary of the Department of Transportation) regarding the mandate. The letter sent to the Senate Appropriates and Commerce Committee, the Science and Transportation Committee, and Secretary Chao, was signed by 17 trucking organizations. In response, the Trucking Alliance replied with a letter of its own urging the same groups to keep the mandate in place.

The DOT is also looking for comments pertaining to their information collection process from those transporting hazardous materials. For more information, check out the federal register, Docket Number: PHMSA-2017-0018.

State Laws and a Quick Hit

Texas is expected to make ELDs mandatory for all intrastate drivers by 2019 and other states are expected to follow suit. Few details have emerged but talks have begun. Intrastate truckers are drivers who do not handle commerce from out-of-state locations and who do not drive to out of state locations.

California is bringing forth legislation that would extend passenger vehicle lemon laws to the commercial industry. The bill is scheduled for public hearing in Sacramento on May 9. If this passes in California, similar legislation can be expected in many states, if not at a federal level.

Finally, according to CargoNet, first quarter cargo thefts totaled just under $29 million.

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