Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023:
Florida officials seek waiver for CDL testing regs
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has applied for an exemption from a CDL skills testing regulation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will publish a notice in the Federal Register and open a public comment period Tuesday.
FLHSMV seeks a waiver from the regulation requiring the three-part CDL skills test to be administered and successfully completed in the following order: pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control skills, and on-road skills.
The agency is seeking an exemption to allow the tester, at their discretion, to continue testing an applicant who fails the pre-trip inspection or basic vehicle controls segments of the CDL test and allow the applicant to come back at a later date to retake the failed segment(s) only.
FMCSA said in its notice that nearly all CDL skills tests conducted in Florida are done so by third-party testers, and if an applicant fails one segment of the test, they cannot attempt the next segment(s) and must return on a different day to retake all three parts of the test.
The FLHSMV said that the most failed segment of the test is the pre-trip inspection, and if the exemption is granted, the tester could continue to test basic vehicle control skills and on-road skills in this instance. If the CDL applicant passed these other portions of the test, they could return at a later date and retake just the pre-trip inspection portion of the test, allowing compliance staff to better utilize their time and resources in completing the required monitoring of third-party testers.
FLHSMV said it believes the exemption would not compromise safety, because the decision to continue with the test would reside with certified, experienced testers. The FLHSMV also noted that, with the implementation of the federal Entry-Level Driver Training regulations, most applicants being tested have been certified as proficient in operating commercial motor vehicles, having completed behind-the-wheel training that prepares them to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle during the on-road portion of the CDL skills test.
FMCSA will accept comments on the request for 30 days beginning Dec. 5. Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2023-0236.
Volvo, Mack recall trucks over accelerator sensor issue
Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks each announced recalls that impact a total of nearly 2,000 trucks.
In the affected units, the engine may not return to idle within two seconds if the accelerator pedal position sensor becomes disconnected. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 124, “Accelerator Control Systems.”
Mack’s recall affects approximately 851 model year 2023-’24 Anthem, Granite, LR and Terrapro models. Volvo’s recall includes approximately 1,009 model year 2023-’24 VN models.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents state that an engine that does not return to idle quickly enough after the accelerator pedal position sensor is disconnected can cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.
The remedy to fix the issue is still under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Jan. 21, 2024.
Owners can contact Mack customer service at 1-800-866-1177 with recall number SC0455, and Volvo Trucks customer service at 1-800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX2313.
NHTSA’s recall number for Mack is 23V-792, and NHTSA’s recall number for Volvo is 23V-793.
[Related: Volvo recalling trucks over passenger seat issue]
Xantrex power inverters now factory option on Volvo, Mack sleepers
Xantrex, a supplier of inverters and inverter chargers to the trucking industry, has announced its Freedom XC 1800W pure sine-wave inverter/charger is now available as a factory option on Mack and Volvo sleeper models.
The 1800-watt Freedom XC converts DC power into the “cleanest” AC power available.
“Sine wave is the same power as you get at home – meaning the voltage is consistent without spikes or drops,” said Mitul Chandrani, VP of Marketing for Mission Critical Electronics, the parent company of Xantrex. “That’s an important distinction, especially when operating sensitive medical devices, such as CPAP machines, and induction devices such as microwave ovens or appliances that use magnets or transformers.”
According to Chandrani, the Freedom XC has 4,000 watts of surge power for a two-second duration.
“That’s a welcome sight for truckers who want to use power tools and other initial high-draw devices,” he said. “If you don’t have enough surge power, a high draw device will shut down the inverter.”
When the truck is plugged into shore power, rapid battery recharging is allowed thanks to the unit’s 80-amp built-in 3-stage battery charger. Xantrex also uses a 30-amp relay, which quickly senses the change in the power source and transfers the load virtually uninterrupted.
While the Xantrex Freedom XC works in unison with traditional batteries, it was also designed to work with and recharge Lithium-ion batteries. “Li-ion batteries offer more power in a compact size, and can be discharged to lower levels than traditional gel or lead acid batteries,” said Chandrani. “It’s a great combination, especially if you want to use an engine-off HVAC solution.”
The Xantrex Freedom XC comes with a display panel that is mounted in the sleeper that shows the AC and battery current, plus has a status bar displaying the percent of inverter output.