More than 500 people attended Bonander Truck & Trailer's 31st annual open house on Thursday, enjoying food, drinks, prizes – and a chance to talk to state and federal agencies about issues they may be having.
The annual customer appreciation event has grown throughout the years, from a small gathering of 200 to its current size.
“It's just a nice little get together,” said Derrick Russell, Bonander Truck & Trailer parts manager.
The open house allows Bonander Truck & Trailer customers to review the class 8 and medium duty trucks, maintenance services, and parts traditionally available. The dealership stocks mainly Western Star and GMC Trucks.
But Bonander also brings in numerous outside experts for the event, from parts manufacturers' representatives to safety consultants and insurance professionals. Even the California Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation, and California Air Resources Board were on hand to answer questions.
The relaxed atmosphere of the open house makes it easier to approach the governmental agencies about questions, Russell said, while CARB officials said people understand answers better in face-to-face meetings.
“It's a lot less confrontational,” Russell said.
In addition to answering general questions, CARB officials sought to inform attendees about phased laws which will now affect more truck owners. Effective Jan. 1, diesel trucks more than 26,000 pounds in weight with an engine built between 2000 and 2004 were required to have a particulate matter filter installed. On Jan. 1, 2014, the requirement expands to include all such trucks.
The particulate matter filter requirement is part of a CARB engine upgrade program, which will require all such trucks to upgrade to an engine which meets 2010 emission standards by 2023.
“Our mission is, essentially, to get the air cleaner,” said Mark Tavianini, manager of the California Air Resources Board compliance assistance section. ”That's what we're trying to do.”
The CHP, too, was present as part of its community outreach and education program. On Thursday, officers fielded questions about everything from vehicle registration to log books, to helmet use on off-highway vehicles.
Officers also told how companies can have CHP officers come out and teach a class about myriad topics of interest to truckers and truck owners.
“It's free training,” said Officer Greg Scott.