Monday, January 13, 2014

Out of Touch or Out of Reach?

CARB On-Road Truck Rule Reporting Deadline Looms
Thousands of truck operators in California are on the verge of extinction. The reporting deadline for compliance with the 2014 requirements of the California Air Resources Board CARB) infamous on-road truck and bus rule is on January 31, 2014. It is no secret that many fleet operators waited until the very last minute to address the CARB compliance needs for 2014 (See Tuesday, July 16, 2013 “Expiring Exemptions Inching Ever Closer...Are You Ready?”). These fleet operators are now scrambling to get something done before CARB comes a knockin.

Although procrastination has helped many succeed and overcome insurmountable odds, for many others it has truly become the assassin of opportunity. If fleet operators took a series of steps prior to January 1, 2014, they could have received a “good faith” extension to July 1, 2014 before 2014 compliance must be demonstrated. If an operator did not take the steps outlined in the “good faith” extension, they must meet the rule deadlines as of January 1, 2014. It would seem that as of late, evidenced by those currently coming out of the wood work, many missed this deadline and are now facing immediate upgrade requirements.   - Click Here for Advisory

Operators across the state are slowly finding out that CARB means business; massive fines are still being issued for non-compliance with annual smoke testing requirements, a rule that has been on the books since the late 1990’s. Recently, as far as the on-road truck and bus rule is concerned, the CARB Enforcement Settlement website has become awash with settlements for truck and bus rule non-compliance going back to January 1, 2012. What adds insult to injuries inflicted from non-compliance is the fact that not only does a fleet operator need to pay the fines once they are issued, but they are given a short time-frame to upgrade their fleet to achieve full compliance. It becomes ad double whammy, all of which could have been avoided by being proactive and getting the fleet into compliance before the scheduled deadlines.  
Most of the time, that is easier said than done. With razor thin profit margins considered a good year for most in the trucking industry, little opportunity is afforded to fleets for purchasing new or minimally complaint equipment. Grant funding has all but dried up and even the statewide loan program is limiting reserve amounts for larger lenders, effectively removing a leg of the stool out from under those fleets that could have benefitted from a state sponsored loan.  Leave it to CARB to complicate the only viable program for fleets operating in California just for the sake of saving face.

Regardless of diminishing opportunities for assistance, Fleet Operators are still being faced with the stark decision, upgrade into compliance or face the regulatory gauntlet. There are resources that can help, but for the most part, fleets are left on their own to figure out what needs to be done to avoid fines. There are some limited educational opportunities available to fleets; anyone who is non-complaint and even those who think they are complaint should take all the help they can get. With complicated exemptions and expiring filing deadlines approaching fleets should welcome any and all outside direction.  One of these opportunities is right around the corner, on January 23, 2014 at 10am California Fleet Solutions will be hosting a FREE 2014 compliance webinar. Click Here to Register . This is a free event that will cover 2014 compliance requirements. It will be a live interactive meeting that will afford participants the opportunity to ask questions in real time. Don’t miss this opportunity; sign up now, space is limited. Get Compliant!

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