Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa applauded yesterday's announcement by the Department of Transportation that it wants to launch a safety inspection program for intermodal container chassis.
Several weeks ago, the Teamsters had requested that Congress pass legislation to insure that chassis were inspected. At the time, DOT had indicated that they would not get involved in the issue. Now, it appears that Congressional intervention is not needed.
"The Teamsters will monitor the DOT rule making process to insure that a rigorous safety inspection program is developed and implemented," Hoffa said. According to Hoffa, a proper inspection program must include:
* Regular inspection of internal brake and wheel components, which is not the current practice at any maritime port in America;
* Putting unsafe chassis out of service and quarantined so that they are not mistakenly dispatched to truck drivers;
* Having the DOT periodically enter the ports and rail terminals to monitor the inspection process, and review inspection and maintenance records; and
* A method for motor carriers and truck drivers to appeal citations which threaten their livelihood when they are cited due to lax maintenance by the chassis owners and providers.
"These chassis carry 80,000-pound loads at highway speeds," Hoffa said. "This program, if carried out properly, will save countless lives."