Clapp updates tank truck carriers on FMCSA efforts
Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM
SINCE the terrorist attacks on the United States September 11, 2001, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has contacted more than 40,000 hazardous materials carriers in an effort to increase transportation security, said Joseph Clapp, FMCSA administrator.
Clapp provided an update on security and other subjects of concern to the tank truck industry at the National Tank Truck Carriers annual meeting May 19-21 in San Francisco, California.
On the security issue, FMCSA has developed a training course to raise awareness of law enforcement officers to the threats that commercial vehicles may pose as terrorist weapons, he said. FMCSA expects to have 214 new border inspectors in training by this summer to not only enhance security, but to increase border inspections now that Mexican trucks have been granted entry to the United States.
The agency also is working with several trucking associations to develop an outreach program targeted at educating drivers on measures they can take to protect themselves from being the victim of a terrorist hijacking.
Clapp discussed aspects of the USA Patriot Act that focus on commercial driver license rules for transport of hazardous materials. FMCSA has estimated there will be one million checks involved in the future issuance and renewal of commercial driver licenses (CDL) as a result of security concerns for hazardous materials endorsements. Before states issue a hazmat endorsement, officials will ask the Department of Justice for a driver record investigation. The Department of Transportation will evaluate the Justice Department review, determine if there is a security risk, and pass the information on to the state that has made the review request.
Clapp said truck drivers will be allowed to begin renewal of their CDLs 60 to 90 days before the expiration date, and that temporary extensions may be granted.
Another FMCSA issue affecting drivers — a new hours-of-service proposal — has received 150,000 comments, Clapp said. The next step in the rule-making process calls for a study of costs and benefits. “It's important that we get it right,” he added.
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