ATA seeks clean up of hazmat rules

May 18, 2009
The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) wants Congress to overhaul the regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials, eliminating redundant rules and ensuring uniformity across jurisdictions

The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) wants Congress to overhaul the regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials, eliminating redundant rules and ensuring uniformity across jurisdictions.

In testimony on behalf of ATA before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials last week, Robert Petrancosta -- VP of safety for truckload carrier Con-way Freight -- said reducing redundant regulation would help reduce costs associated with hauling hazmat material while reducing the demand on government resources.

"While the existing statutory framework and regulations governing hazardous materials transportation have a proven track record, there is room for improvement," Pentracosta noted during a hearing on reauthorization of the Dept. of Transportation's hazardous materials safety program.

ATA is highlighting six key issues Congress should address as it considers the reauthorization of the federal hazardous material transportation law:

  • Eliminating duplicative and redundant security background checks;
  • Improving state hazardous material permitting systems;
  • Ensuring equitable enforcement of the hazardous material regulations;
  • Enhancing safety by increasing Department of Transportation's (DOT) preemption authority;
  • Resolving jurisdictional issues concerning DOT and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the regulation of hazardous material handling
  • Regulating the transportation of flammable materials in cargo tank wet lines.

Petrancosta pointed out in his testimony that trucks haul 94% of the one million daily shipments of hazardous materials in the U.S., including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, military supplies and fuel. The rate of serious incidents involving the transportation of these materials by motor carriers is .0001%, and the percentage of incidents involving injuries is .00002% or two one-hundred thousandths of a percent, he said.

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