Government advocacy — Perseverance and persistence for North America

By Mike Kastner, NTEA Managing Director

This article was published in the September 2018 edition of NTEA News.

NTEA’s mission is to further the knowledge, growth and profitability of the work truck industry. Our bylaws objectives, among many other goals, include representing the industry on legislative and regulatory issues of interest, and developing programs that help distributors and manufacturers run their businesses effectively and efficiently. 

The Association’s advocacy program contributes to achieving those parts of the mission and objectives. We have a long history of direct advocacy with Congress, the White House and numerous federal regulatory agencies. As part of our goal to be recognized globally as the undisputed resource and advocate for the North American work truck industry, NTEA opened an office in Canada’s capital Ottawa in 2014. Now we have relationships in Parliament and at various Canadian federal regulatory agencies.

With offices in Washington, DC, and Ottawa, NTEA is better situated to address the increasing challenges presented by international marketplace dynamics with a unified voice for the work truck industry while still addressing specific North American market needs.

NTEA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry go beyond working to secure laws and regulations to help produce safe and efficient work trucks, but also to provide industry members with assistance in compliance once those laws or regulations are in place.

Rear backup camera regulation
A recent example of NTEA’s multi-disciplinary approach to industry advocacy is the new rear backup camera regulation. In 2007, Congress approved Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. Ultimately, the new law would require rearview backup cameras on new cars and light trucks. Throughout the original discussions, NTEA engaged stakeholders and Congress, explaining the differences in both design and use between light-duty passenger cars and larger work trucks.

As passed into law with NTEA’s input, the measure balanced the costs and benefits, calling on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to implement regulations requiring rearview cameras on light-duty vehicles. Manufacturers of larger work trucks would retain their ability to evaluate specific vehicle designs to best incorporate visual safety around their individual truck configurations.

With the new law in hand, NTEA began working with NHTSA on crafting and implementing the new light-duty regulations. Simultaneously, we recognized there would be a need to assist member companies building pickup truck and van-based work trucks with their upcoming compliance efforts. As the regulations took shape and effective dates were put in place, the Association started working on a resource to assist companies that must mount or relocate the rear camera to accommodate vocational requirements.

NTEA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 111 Field of View Conformity Manual and Kit was developed by our technical services department, using their knowledge of the regulations, and was verified with laboratory tests. This resource includes an NTEA-created test manual to provide guidance in meeting requirements of the field of view rear visibility portion of FMVSS 111 and an approximately 22-foot by 12-foot tarp specifically developed by NTEA with appropriate markings and 60 yards of tape for use during testing procedures. The manual includes a materials list, step-by-step test procedure, full-color photos and diagrams, and a test procedure checklist.

While developing FMVSS 111 conformity materials for the industry, NTEA knew Canada would soon be working on its version of the regulations — Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 111. NTEA engaged with Transport Canada throughout the process to ensure the U.S. and Canadian regulations were harmonized. Now, with a May 1, 2019 effective date for CMVSS 111, NTEA is updating the original FMVSS 111 materials to be compatible with CMVSS 111 and usable by both U.S. and Canadian manufacturers of work trucks. Learn more at

Regulatory Cooperation Council
Beyond directly working with the various U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies on specific issues, another way NTEA helps ensure regulatory harmonization is by keeping in touch with the United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). RCC is tasked with bringing together U.S. and Canadian regulators to reduce unnecessary differences between the regulatory frameworks. We met in Canada with the RCC Secretariat to emphasize the unique production and path-to-market processes for work trucks as well as why regulatory harmonization and an efficient border is critical for many NTEA members that move people, parts and products across the Canada-U.S. border on a regular basis.

Greenhouse gas emissions standards
Another recent example of NTEA’s wide-reaching advocacy efforts involves the heavy-duty greenhouse gas emissions standards issued by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environment Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

The genesis of these regulations goes back to Congress in 2005. NTEA became aware a bill would likely be introduced in the U.S. Senate calling for a 5 percent per-year increase in heavy-duty truck fuel economy.

The Association met with the lead sponsor, other congressional members, staff and committees. We continued to educate them that work trucks and passenger cars are built and used in very different ways. We explained users of work trucks are already motivated by increased fuel efficiency (not necessarily the same as fuel economy) but it needs to be within the confines of accomplishing the vehicle’s necessary tasks. Requiring an extra 5 percent per year in fuel economy for trucks would not be as simple as it might sound.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was the outcome. As a result of NTEA’s educational efforts, the law includes specific carve-outs for work trucks and recognizes the differences between fuel economy (like CAFE passenger car standards) and fuel efficiency (how much work a truck can accomplish with a given amount of fuel). Further, the law called for a National Academy of Sciences study on many of the issues brought forward by NTEA and specific to vocational trucks.

As EPA and NHTSA started work on initial regulations for the new law, NTEA engaged with both agencies and NAS as they worked concurrently on the congressionally-mandated study. NTEA endeavored to make sure the proposed standards recognized the differences between light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles. When issued, Phase 1 rules further subdivided truck categories and requirements to better address complexities of the vocational truck marketplace.

When the agencies began to look at Phase 2 regulations, NTEA again stepped up the engagement process and suggested a novel approach that could allow multi-stage manufacturers, like NTEA members, the opportunity to participate in the emissions certification process without actually being a regulated party. This eventually became known as delegated assembly when it was adopted by EPA in the 2016 rule.

Delegated assembly allows a company like an NTEA member to voluntarily contract with an OEM (which is the regulated entity when it comes to emissions approvals) and assist the OEM with meeting its emissions targets. Typically, an NTEA member’s work on a vehicle happens after the emissions approval process for the OEM, so any completions or modifications (such as aerodynamics) by the multi-stage manufacturer is not calculated on the OEM’s behalf. Delegated assembly allows for a private contractual agreement between the OEM and the multi-stage manufacturer that would allow the OEM credit for the prospective beneficial emissions treatments.

In Phase 2, NTEA secured final standards that provided a better cost payback period than originally proposed by the agencies. Using data collected by NTEA from truck fleet purchasers, we demonstrated the proposed standards would be too expensive given the fuel saving returns. The agencies reduced the proposed standards from what would have been a six-year payback period to a four-year.

As Canada began looking at Phase 2, NTEA engaged with ECCC to ensure the delegated assembly process would be viable. The Canadian regulatory structure is a little different than in the U.S., but ECCC did confirm upon publishing its regulation that the delegated assembly process was valid in Canada.

The Association held a session at The Work Truck Show® 2018 to discuss the delegated assembly process and is currently working with member companies to investigate the possibility of a demonstration program.

NTEA’s tenure allows us to work on behalf of the industry over multi-year periods with various legislative and regulatory bodies in multiple countries.

For questions on pending federal legislation or regulations, contact Mike Kastner at 202-552-1600 or Learn more about NTEA’s advocacy efforts at