U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Contact: Bill MacLeod, 202-366-8810
FMCSA to Require Special Safety Permit
For Carriers of Highly Hazardous Materials
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that trucking companies planning to haul certain highly hazardous materials must have a special safety permit, beginning Jan. 1, 2005. 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.
The FMCSA estimated that the annual safety benefits to the U.S. economy resulting from fewer accidental releases alone of hazardous materials will be $3.7 million, which over a 10-year period will result in safety benefits totaling more than $26 million after being adjusted for inflation.
"This regulation will promote the safe and secure transportation of the most dangerous hazardous materials," said FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg. "We all have a part to play in protecting the nation's transportation systems."
Under guidelines outlined in a final rule issued today, 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 the hazardous materials requiring these special permits. 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.
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 a "Satisfactory" safety rating. 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 today's 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.
# # #