PHMSA Harmonizes the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations with IAEA Standards and Regulations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule July 11, 2014; to incorporate changes adopted in the 2009 Edition of the International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Standards publication titled Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, 2009 Edition, Safety Requirement, No. TS-R-1. These changes will help ensure that the classification, packaging requirements and hazard communication requirements for shipments of radioactive materials provide the requisite level of public safety and are consistent with those employed throughout the world. The final rule becomes effective October 1, 2014. As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is preparing a parallel rulemaking under Docket ID NRC-2008-0198, PHMSA is authorizing voluntary compliance with the final rule beginning on the date of publication in the Federal Register. To allow the NRC time to address comments received to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and to ensure concurrent effective dates for our parallel rulemakings, mandatory compliance is delayed until one year from publication in the Federal Register. For more information go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-11/pdf/2014-15514.pdf. Contact for media: Joe Delcambre (202) 493-0730.
PHMSA Seeks Public Comment on Requirements for Safe Transportation of Explosives. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking asking for comment on requirements to authorize the safe transportation of certain explosives. These hazardous materials are used in blasting operations on specialized vehicles used as mobile work platforms to create blends of explosives at blast sites. Also, this rulemaking addresses the construction of new multipurpose explosives trucks. For more information go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-15/pdf/2014-16382.pdf Contact for media: Joe Delcambre (202) 493-0730.
BTS Releases 2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the number of commercial truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 10.8 million in 2013, 1.1 percent more than in 2012. That 2013 increase follows increases from 2010 to 2012 after four years of decline from 2005 to 2009, a period that includes the last recession. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data posted today on the BTS website. The database also includes numbers of incoming trains, buses, containers, personal vehicles, and pedestrians entering the United States through land ports and ferry crossings on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border. The database shows that there were 163.3 million person crossings into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 4.6 percent increase from 2012. There were an additional 62.8 million person crossings into the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 0.5 percent increase in person crossings from 2012. Border Crossing/Entry Data from 1995 to 2013 can be found on the BTS website. Contact Dave Smallen: 202-366-5568.
FMCSA Announces Enhancements to SMS Website. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces a package of enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road safety performance of commercial truck and bus companies that is used to identify and prioritize high-risk carriers for enforcement interventions, including increased roadside inspections and compliance reviews. The enhancements provide clearer descriptions and easier, more intuitive navigation features. The enhancements were derived from feedback solicited from motor carriers, law enforcement personnel, industry representatives and other stakeholders who were given an opportunity to critique various website enhancement proposals. The changes to the SMS website do not alter the SMS methodology or affect a carrier’s safety rating, which is subject to 49 CFR part 385, Safety Fitness Procedures. The enhancements are a continuation of FMCSA’s efforts, first announced in April 2010, to provide the motor carrier industry and other safety stakeholders with more comprehensive, informative, and regularly updated safety performance data. FMCSA will implement the SMS website enhancements by August 4, 2014. To assist users in adapting to the SMS website enhancements, FMCSA will hold three educational webinars, with two on August 20, 2014 (10:00-11:30 a.m. and 2:00-3:30 p.m.), and a third to be held on August 21, 2014 (2:00-3:30 p.m.). Webinar participants will be able to ask questions and receive real-time responses. Additionally during the webinars, FMCSA staff will discuss and answer questions on the Agency’s new adjudicated citations policy, which takes effect August 23, 2014. A full copy of the Federal Register notice is available here: (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/24/2014-17489/enhancements-to-the-motor-carrier-safety-measurement-system-web-site). To register for one of the upcoming three educational webinars, visit: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/SMS_Display_Changes-New_Adjudicated_Citations_Policy_Webinar_2014.pdf. Contact: Duane DeBruyne: (202) 366-9999.