ATA calls for improvement of hazmat regulations

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Congress should eliminate redundant rules and ensure uniformity across jurisdictions in the regulation of transportation of hazardous materials, Con-way Freight Vice President of Safety Robert Petrancosta told a House committee Thursday, May 14.

Testifying for the American Trucking Associations and the nation’s trucking industry, the executive of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based less-than-truckload carrier told the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials that there is room for improvement in hazardous materials regulation.

“The trucking industry delivers virtually all of the consumer goods in the U.S., and the lion’s share of essential hazardous materials,” Petrancosta said during a hearing on reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s hazardous materials safety program. “While the existing statutory framework and regulations governing hazardous materials transportation have a proven track record, there is room for improvement.”

ATA’s testimony highlighted six key issues it believes 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 USDOT’s preemption authority;
  • Resolving jurisdictional issues concerning USDOT and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the regulation of hazardous material handling; and
  • Regulating the transportation of flammable materials in cargo tank wetlines.
  • “While maintaining the highest standards for the safe and secure transport of hazmat material, taking these steps to reduce redundant regulation will help support scarce government resources and reduce costs associated with hauling hazmat material,” Petrancosta said.

    Trucks haul 94 percent of the 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, military supplies and fuel, according to ATA; the rate of serious incidents involving the transportation of these materials by motor carriers is .0001 percent, and the percentage of incidents involving injuries is .00002 percent, or two one-hundred thousandths of a percent.