PHMSA seeks to ban flammable liquids in unprotected external piping

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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is proposing to amend the hazardous materials regulations to prohibit the transportation of flammable liquids in unprotected external product piping on U.S. Department of Transportation specification cargo tank motor vehicles. PHMSA says these amendments, if adopted as proposed, will reduce fatalities and injuries that result from accidents during transportation involving the release of flammable liquid from unprotected external product piping.

According to PHMSA, there is a segment of the cargo tank motor vehicle population that transports flammable liquid material that is not subject to prohibition of wetlines unless the vehicle is equipped with bottom-damage protection devices. PHMSA says these CTMVs continue to be involved in motor vehicle accidents, resulting loss of life attributable to wetlines. Although no catastrophic incident has occurred in the recent past, PHMSA and the National Transportation Safety Board contend that incidents are likely to occur in the future.

“We base our concerns on the population of CTMVs involved in flammable liquid service, the daily volume of traffic on our nation’s roadways, and the possibility the average motor vehicle occupancy will increase as gasoline prices increase,” PHMSA states in its Federal Register notice. “Outside of existing conspicuity and outreach initiatives, there is little that PHMSA can do to prevent a collision between a motor vehicle and the wetlines of a CTMV. However, PHMSA can implement additional measures to ensure that DOT specification CTMVs are utilized and designed in a manner that fully considers the likelihood and potential consequences of a wetlines incident and the hazards that such an incident poses to the vehicle driver and traveling public.”

Parties may submit comments at the docket number is PHMSA-2009-0303 (HM-213D).