FMCSA won't rule in chassis case

FMCSA won't rule in chassis case

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has abandoned its effort to establish new rules governing responsibility for inspection, repair and maintenance of intermodal chassis and trailers.

After a four-year study, FMSCA said in a decision published in the Dec. 31 Federal Register that there was "insufficient data to support moving forward with the rulemaking at this time." The agency also dropped the idea of a negotiated rulemaking that would establish new rules for intermodal equipment.

The agency noted that industry factions are sharply divided on the handling of intermodal equipment. Truckers complain that their drivers are regularly ticketed for safety problems that don't surface in walk-around inspections at terminals. The truckers want to shift responsibility for maintenance and repair to equipment providers. Terminal operators and equipment providers say that would sharply increase costs without necessarily improving safety.

Truckers, the Teamsters and longshore unions are pushing legislation in Congress to tighten federal inspections and make equipment providers responsible for chassis safety. An industry committee including ocean carriers, railroads, terminals and shippers is trying to head off the legislation by developing their own plan to improve chassis safety. They hope to have a proposal ready for review by industry groups early this year.

-- Joseph Bonney