Security technology prompts industry/government debate

THE TANK truck industry is awaiting federal decisions before it begins to invest in technological equipment called for in security legislation, said Cliff Harvison, National Tank Truck Carriers president. Carriers fear that after making initial investments, their efforts will not meet government standards.

A carrier might purchase a certain brand of equipment, only to learn that the government requires another, he said. “Where the government goes in this is absolutely critical,” Harvison said.

Meanwhile, the feds want industry to take the first step. The situation arose after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC prompted legislation calling for new security measures for hazardous materials transporters.

Harvison and William Quade, FMCSA hazardous materials division chief, noted the debate at the Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED) training meeting January 14 in Houston TX.

Harvison argued that investments in technological equipment is too expensive for tank truck carriers to gamble on switching directions at a later date.

Quade, on the other hand, said the federal agencies will not require specific brands of technological equipment, and urged industry to take the lead in establishing what equipment is needed.

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