The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been investigating methods to improve carrier security, particularly in the area of hazardous materials security. The transportation of hazardous materials is the largest security risk area within the motor carrier industry, with more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials transported each day in the United States. In 2004, FMCSA completed a comprehensive Hazardous Materials Security Field Operational Test that included an element to test a basic untethered trailer tracking (UTT) system. This system provided trailer position and identification information to a dispatcher on a regular basis.
The House of Representatives Report 107-722, Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2003, stated that further development of existing trailer tracking systems was essential:
Truck trailers pose a significant potential security threat since they provide an easy means to transport dangerous cargos. In addition, the inability to track freight movements causes inefficiencies in the intermodal freight transportation system, increasing operating costs and congestion, and decreasing safety, economic competitiveness, and air quality. While commercially available technology can track a trailer when it is tethered to a cab, commercially available technologies are needed to track and control an untethered trailer. Within the funds provided for FMCSA's limitation on administrative expenses and high priority initiative program, the Committee has provided the funding to leverage existing technology and develop an untethered trailer tracking and control system that will provide real-time trailer identification, location, geo-fencing, unscheduled movement notification, door sensors, and alarms.
This final project report on the UTT system provides information that can be used by motor carriers and the public sector emergency response and enforcement communities, regarding the potential security, safety, and operational efficiency benefits of commercially available trailer tracking technologies. Motor carriers could choose to purchase and implement this technology to improve overall safety, security, and operational efficiency. The emergency response and enforcement community could adopt and use the commercially available technology to better respond to potential security incidents involving trailers, such as preventing trailers from being used as weapons of mass destruction.
FMCSA conducted a national pilot test to develop and test a UTT system with the expanded functions specified in the congressional report. This document does not supersede an earlier report on the subject.
Previous | Next