U.S. To Require Safety Permits To Transport Hazardous Materials

Security concerns have prompted the U.S. government to require transporters of certain hazardous materials to obtain special safety permits beginning Jan. 1, 2005. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that the safety permits will be required for trucking companies that plan to haul certain types and amounts of radioactive materials, explosives, toxic inhalant materials, and compressed or refrigerated liquid methane or natural gas. The FMCSA said it is requiring the special permit because certain materials could be more dangerous in crashes or if used in terrorist attacks. The guidelines of the final rule issued June 30 require that hazardous materials carriers meet all federal operational, safety and security standards, and must communicate regularly with drivers by telephone or other electronic devices. The guidelines also outline the consequences of failing to maintain satisfactory safety ratings. The final rule appeared in the June 30 Federal Register. It also can be viewed via the Department of Transportation Docket Management System at http://dms.dot.gov. Search for docket number FMCSA-97-2180.

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