Annette Sandberg, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, praised the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) as a model partner that has worked closely with the agency to improve the safety of hazardous materials transportation.
She noted, in particular, NTTC’s participation in more than 40 cargo tank workshops over the past five years that have helped to significantly improve the quality of federally mandated cargo tank inspections and tests.
Sandberg spoke May 9 during the NTTC’s 57th Annual Conference in Chicago IL.
She went on to provide a detailed review of regulatory and legislative developments that will impact the transportation industry. Key points made:
• Increased hazardous materials scrutiny is a virtual certainty. Addressing the hazmat security permits that are now required for certain cargoes, Sandberg said that FMCSA had issued 235 permits since January 1. The agency also denied 130 applications.
• Congressional action to codify driver hours of service is crucial. That may be the only way to avoid litigation by activist groups that want to impose draconian changes on the rules. “We want to develop a fair and balanced rule, and we want to prevent rulemaking by litigation,” Sandberg said. Electronic HOS logging is the subject of a notice of proposed rulemaking that could be applied selectively—problem fleets might be targeted, for instance.
• More collection sites are needed for hazmat driver fingerprints. She said many states have just two collection sites, the minimum called for under the regulation. The need for more sites will become more critical at the end of May when the program expands from new applicants to the entire population of hazmat drivers
• The agency will continue to pay close attention to new carriers, and is focusing more attention on established carriers that “try to fly below the radar screen.” The agency is more than willing to pull the plug on the fleets that deliberately ignore the rules.