Extra Permits for Extra Dangerous Hazmats

Extra Permits for Extra Dangerous Hazmats

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Starting in January, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require trucking companies hauling certain highly hazardous materials to get special

safety permits. FMCSA said it is requiring the special permit because "certain highly hazardous materials would be more dangerous in crashes or if used in terrorist attacks."

The safety permit will be required for motor carriers hauling

certain types and amounts of radioactive materials, explosives, toxic inhalant materials and compressed or refrigerated liquid methane or natural gas.

FMCSA estimated that the annual safety benefit to the U.S.

economy resulting just from fewer accidental releases of hazardous materials will be $3.7 million. "This regulation will promote the safe and secure transportation of the most dangerous hazardous materials," said FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg.

Under the ruling, the nation''s approximately 3,100 hazardous materials carriers must meet all federal operational, safety and security standards and must communicate regularly with drivers by phone or other electronic device. Carriers with less-than-satisfactory safety ratings will be prohibited from transporting highly hazardous materials.

To prevent unnecessary interruptions of commerce, temporary safety permits may be issued to carriers without safety ratings for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of a compliance review, the government said.

FMCSA is also implementing a process to deny, suspend and revoke safety permits in this final rule. Safety permits will be denied if a carrier does not have "satisfactory" safety ratings. Permits will be suspended or revoked from carriers failing to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Hazardous Materials Regulations or

similar state requirements.

This final rule is in the July 1 Federal Register and will be on the Internet at http://fmcsa.dot.gov. It also can be viewed in the DOT Docket Management System, http://dms.dot.gov by searching for docket number FMCSA-97-2180.