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ATA chairman calls for sensible hazmat regulations

Barbara Windsor, American Trucking Associations (ATA) chairman and president and CEO of Hahn Transportation Inc, told a House of Representatives panel that changes are needed to the regulations governing hazardous materials shipments to improve efficiency and relieve unnecessary regulatory burdens.

“The safety and security record for hazmat transportation by truck is impressive,” Windsor said April 12 before the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. “Serious incidents have decreased by 30% over the past decade and the annual number of highway fatalities involving hazardous materials has declined from 16 to 4.”

Despite these gains, Windsor offered several recommendations to “further improve the safe, secure and efficient transportation of hazmat,” that the government should enact. Recommendations include:

*Ensuring equitable enforcement of hazmat regulations. Specifically the government should make sure that both shippers and carriers are held responsible for the violations they cause;

*Reform of incident reporting requirements. ATA supports the requirement for a single written incident report; but has concerns with the current multitude of local, telephonic reporting requirements, which can be confusing for drivers. Those local requirements should be harmonized to allow for a simple call to 9-1-1 to report hazmat incidents;

*And finally, abandoning the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s costly, unnecessary proposal to restrict the transportation of flammable liquids in the pipes (wetlines) used to load and unload gasoline and other flammable products. As an alternative, ATA proposes Congress direct the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue before the government moves forward on rulemaking.

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