Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM).
The FMCSA proposes to establish a safety permit program for motor carriers that transport any of the following hazardous materials in interstate or intrastate commerce: a highway route-controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material; more than 25 kg (55 pounds) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material; more than one liter (1.08 quarts) per package of a material in Division 2.3, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A, or Division 6.1, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A; and a shipment of compressed or refrigerated liquid methane or natural gas in a packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons) for liquids or gases. As part of this safety permit program, FMCSA proposes to consider additional ``acute'' and ``critical'' regulations relevant to its determination of a carrier's safety fitness rating and, accordingly, the issuance of a safety permit. This rulemaking would implement requirements in Federal hazardous material transportation law that DOT must establish a safety permit program and a motor carrier must hold a safety permit in order to transport certain hazardous materials in commerce. This rulemaking would also carry out a statutory provision to issue regulations requiring a pre-trip inspection and certification of a motor vehicle used to transport a highway route controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material. This rulemaking would also announce the agency's decision to not prescribe a uniform permitting system for intrastate transportation of hazardous materials, as proposed in the 1993 notice of proposed rulemaking to this action. Specifically, FMCSA would not require States that issue permits for the intrastate transportation of hazardous materials to use uniform forms and procedures, or to require each State to register all persons who transport hazardous materials--or cause hazardous materials to be transported--intrastate by motor vehicle. FMCSA believes that it is not possible to devise a uniform system that would satisfactorily anticipate, address and resolve the myriad of permitting challenges and concerns that are unique to individual States. This proposed rule, if promulgated, will promote the safe and secure transportation of the designated hazardous materials and enhance motor carrier safety.