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10/11/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

USDOT seeks tougher hazardous-materials shipment security


U.S. Department of Transportation Oct. 10 proposed legislation designed to improve safety and security for shipments of hazardous materials — not an easy proposition since U.S. transportation providers daily average more than 800,000 hazardous-material moves.
The legislation would bolster DOT inspectors' authority to inspect packages and stop shipments deemed unsafe; increase from $27,500 to $100,000 the maximum hazardous-materials violation civil penalty; expand training requirements for persons involved in hazardous materials transportation; strengthen the authority of DOT's state enforcement partners; provide U.S. Postal Service civil penalty authority to better enforce hazardous-materials mail regulations; address DOT's and Occupational Safety and Health Administration's hazardous-materials regulation overlap; and allow states to participate in a coordinated hazardous-materials carrier registration and permit program.
"We're proposing tough actions to address the serious problem of undeclared or hidden shipments of hazardous materials," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in a prepared statement.
DOT didn't release a legislative timetable or a plan of action.


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