Feds to conduct hazmat test

Feds to conduct hazmat test

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is beginning its hazardous materials safety and security field operational test. The goal is to measure effectiveness of Intelligent Transportation Systems safety and security technologies for safeguarding hazardous materials being transported by trucks.

"We must build on our continuous efforts to ensure the security of the more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials hauled on U.S. highways every day," Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "This operational test will help improve security and will help spur innovative technologies for safeguarding hazardous materials in the future."

The field operational test will "quantify the costs and benefits associated with transportation security technologies," the agency said. FMCSA believes this information will assist companies in their decisions to deploy technology applications that are most appropriate for their businesses.

A prototype test is scheduled this month, with full-scale testing in late August. The field operational test, managed by FMCSA and largely funded by DOT''s ITS Program, will be completed in the latter part of 2004.

The test will involve 100 trucks equipped with a variety of existing technologies. The technologies will be packaged in several different cost tiers and will be tested across four different transportation scenarios. The project will test the capabilities of technologies such as:

-- Driver verification using password logins, fingerprint biometrics and smart cards.

-- Vehicle and load tracking, using satellites and other wireless systems.

-- Off-route and stolen-vehicle alerts, using geo-fencing.

-- Cargo tampering alerts, using electronic seals.

-- Driver distress alerts, using driver panic buttons.

-- Remote vehicle disabling in instances of known terrorist attacks.

Carriers and shippers that have expressed their intent to participate in the test include BP Chemicals, Cox Petroleum, Distribution Technologies, Dupre Transport, Dyno Nobel Transportation, ExxonMobil, GE Betz, Hercules Inc., Orica USA, Quality Carriers, Roadway Express, Roeder Cartage Co., R&R Trucking, Dow Chemical and Transport Service Co.