Hazmat emergencies have been gripping news headlines over the last month. To reduce these tragedies, which many times affect human lives, the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is taking action. The TSC is an organization whose core mission is to reduce the number of truck-related crashes that result in deaths and injuries; and they recently called on Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to prioritize truck safety measures.
The TSC along with other groups wrote a letter to Buttigieg saying that government inaction was a contributing factor in the recent East Palestine, Ohio train derailment which caused hazardous material to be spilled. The TSC claims a similar situation could occur in trucking.
“Government inaction and relentless opposition by special trucking interests put the public at unnecessary and unreasonable risk of a deadly and dangerous crash,” according to the letter. “It is past time to issue essential and overdue truck safety standards that will prevent hazmat crashes, save lives, protect communities, and put public safety ahead of corporate profits.”
In comparison to U.S. trains, the TSC cited findings that U.S. trucks move nearly double the tonnage miles of hazmat materials every year. To avoid a trucking hazmat disaster like the train derailment in East Palestine, the groups came together to write to Buttigieg and the DOT to ask that certain safety standards (included below) become mandatory in the trucking industry.
- Automatic braking on all commercial motor vehicles
- Speed limiters on all commercial motor vehicles
- Restore 2011 hours of service mandate and require a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving (including non-driving work)
- Screening and treatment of safety-sensitive personnel for sleep apnea
- Complete New Entrant Carrier Proficiency Exam rulemaking
Further down in the letter, the group shared its opposition to legislation that they claim “further endangers all roadway users and must be stopped.” Included are the Ceasing Age-Based Trucking Restrictions Act which permits CDL holders under the age of 21 to pick up freight from ports and the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking Act.
“The East Palestine train crash has revealed dangerous and deadly deficiencies in the rail transportation of hazardous materials,” according to the letter. “Perilous deficiencies are also ubiquitous in the truck transportation of hazardous materials. There are no defensible excuses for further delays when public safety is clearly at risk. We urge you to act now on mandating these imperative and overdue safety improvements.”
Source: Commercial Carrier Journal