Like 2020, some of the most popular news stories on Truckinginfo.com were still colored by the COVID-19 pandemic as fleets aim to keep up with the latest regulations and guidelines.
But other hot issues managed to top the list, including Roadcheck, a recent prison sentence and developments in battery-electric and fuel-cell trucks. Read more about HDT's top 5 news stories below.
1. Roadcheck 2021 to Target Hours of Service, Lighting
The top news story of the year was an announcement that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Roadcheck truck inspection blitz, which ran in May, would focus on lighting for 2021. To help fleets prepare, Heavy Duty Trucking’s published a video “Will Your Truck Lighting Pass Inspection?" The results came in the summer: out of the more than 40,000 commercial motor vehicle inspections conducted, the majority (83.5%) of vehicles had no out-of-service violations.
2. Trucker Gets 110-Year Sentence for Fatal Runaway Truck Pileup
A trucking-related story that raised national attention creeped onto the list quickly. In mid-December, a truck driver who said he lost his brakes on a steep grade in Colorado in 2019 was sentenced to 110 years in prison for the four people who were killed in the resulting 28-vehicle crash. Following outrage and disbelief from the trucking industry and others, a district court judge in Colorado has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 13 to consider the District Attorney’s office request to reduce the 110-year sentence to 20-30 years.
3. Nikola Touts Battery-Electric, Fuel-Cell Truck Progress
Earlier this month, the first pre-series Nikola Tre battery-electric Class 8 trucks have come off the line at the company’s Coolidge, Arizona, facility and will soon be delivered to customers, while its first fuel-cell-electric test trucks are shortly due to hit the streets.
4. Canada Says Cross-Border Truckers Must be Vaccinated
In November, Canada announced that it will require truck drivers — both Americans and Canadians — to be double vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Jan. 15 when crossing into Canada. The announcement came weeks after the Biden Administration proposed a mandate requiring all Canadian cross-border truck drivers to be vaccinated by January 2022.
Earlier this month, the Canadian government reminded cross-border drivers they are required to provide proof of vaccination through the ArriveCan app. The submission of ArriveCan data remains a mandatory pre-arrival requirement.
5. Vaccine Mandate: Trucking Unsuccessful in Getting Drivers Exempted
In November, trucking groups were unhappy that an emergency rule mandating COVID-19 vaccinations or testing did not exempt truck drivers. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Nov. 4 announced the details of a requirement for employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. The requirement was challenged in court, and OHSA’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard was stayed. By Dec. 17, the ETS was reinstated. Now, several trucking groups are appealing the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that reinstatement decision.
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