Senator nudges EPA for DEF sensor quick fix

October 19, 2021

Mark Schremmer


Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to approve a software solution that will address a shortage of diesel exhaust fluid sensors.

Blackburn sent a letter on Monday, Oct. 18 to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, asking for relief to be provided to truckers and motor carriers. Chip shortages and supply chain disruptions have left truckers unable to repair their trucks when the DEF component fails.

“I write to express regarding the unavailability of replacement DEF sensors for American truckers,” Blackburn wrote. “As you know, the global microchip shortage is causing extreme hardship for trucking companies. I urge the Environmental Protection Agency to redouble its efforts to facilitate and approve a software concern solution to quell this dire situation. Time is of the essence.”

Blackburn said that DEF sensor manufacturers are working on software solutions and asked the EPA to expedite the approval process.

“If approved, this would lift a tremendous burden on truckers and motor carriers across the country,” she wrote.

Blackburn also called attention to when DEF sensors “derate” trucks and force them to slow to 5 mph.

“Whether derated by malfunction or actual high DEF levels, no affected truck can be used to haul freight,” she wrote. “In addition, the derating of an over-the-road commercial vehicle while under load creates an extremely unsafe situation for the driver, the driving public that shares the road with trucks, the shipper and/or receiver, and the insurance provider responsible for the load.”

Blackburn requested a response from the EPA within 30 days.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reached out to its members in Tennessee on Oct. 19 to make them aware of Blackburn’s efforts.

“Sen. Blackburn specifically highlighted what we have heard from OOIDA members, which is that the derating of a truck because of a DEF sensor failure creates a safety hazard for drivers,” the Association wrote.  LL


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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.