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Archive for the ‘DOT/UN’ Category

US DOT Embraces Auto Driving

June 25th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The United States surface transportation system provides tremendous mobility benefits, including widespread access to jobs, goods, and services. It also connects many remote regions of the country to the larger economy. These benefits, however, come with significant safety challenges, as motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death, with an estimated 37,133 lives lost on U.S. roads in 2017. Traditional safety programs and policies have made road travel significantly safer than in the past, but there is much room to improve traffic fatality and injury rates.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking active steps to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation. With the release of Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety, the Department provided voluntary guidance to industry, as well as technical assistance and best practices to States, offering a path forward for the safe testing and integration of automated driving systems. The Department also bolstered its engagement with the automotive industry, technology companies, ii PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION and other key transportation stakeholders and innovators to continue to develop a policy framework that facilitates the safe integration of this technology into our transportation systems. Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0) is another milestone in the Department’s development of a flexible, responsible approach to a framework for multimodal automation. It introduces guiding principles and describes the Department’s strategy to address existing barriers to safety innovation and progress. It also communicates the Department’s agenda to the public and stakeholders on important policy issues, and identifies opportunities for cross-modal collaboration.

Read the full article here

PHMSA Announces Advisory Committee on Transportation of Lithium Batteries

June 18th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced on May 9th, 2019, that it is soliciting nominees for a new Lithium Battery Safety Advisory Committee, in accordance with Section 333(d) of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. “The Department is seeking experts from diverse technical and transportation backgrounds to evaluate safety improvements for the transportation of lithium batteries,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

The Committee will provide a forum for the Department to solicit stakeholder input to continually strengthen the safety of multimodal lithium battery transportation. PHMSA is seeking nominations from across the transportation and manufacturing industries to participate. Further, the Committee will advise the Department on developing policy positions for international forums and on how to increase awareness of the importance of lithium battery safety requirements. The Committee will submit their findings to both the Secretary and Congress. For further information, see the announcement as posted to the Federal Register. Nominations must be submitted within 21 days of the Federal Register publication date.

DOT Responds to NON-HAZMAT in a UN DRUM

May 21st, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

DOT offers interpretations of specific questions regarding regulated shipments. Recently, Glenn Foster, Chief of the Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch of the DOT’s Standards and Rulemaking Division offered the following interpretation of several questions about HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180, posed by a hazmat trainer. The trainer asked specific questions about the use of specification packaging for the transportation of non-hazardous materials in commerce when the specification marking is visible on the packaging. DOT paraphrased and answered the questions as follows:

Q1. If a bulk specification packaging (e.g., IBC, tank car, portable tank) that is filled with a non-hazardous material (e.g., water) and offered for transportation after the test or re-inspection date marked on the packaging would comply with the HMR?

A1. The answer is yes. For example, under §173.35(a), for which the prescribed periodic retest or inspection under subpart D of part 180 of the HMR is past due, may not be filled and offered for transportation until the retest or inspection have been successfully completed. This requirement is not applicable to an IBC filled with a non-hazardous material. If the United Nations (UN) standard or Department of Transportation (DOT) specification packaging is not maintained in accordance with the HMR, we recommend securely covering any identifying marks or specification plates representing it as such.

Q2. If a non-bulk specification packaging (e.g., 55 Gal/208 L steel drum) is filled with a non-hazardous material that exceeds the marked specific gravity and offered for transportation in commerce would comply with the HMR?

A2. Although not recommended, such a practice is not a violation of the HMR provided the specification packaging design is manufactured, fabricated, marked, maintained, reconditioned, repaired, and retested in accordance with the applicable requirements of the HMR when used to package hazardous materials for transportation in commerce. Please note that a specification packaging exceeding the limitations to which the packaging design was tested may degrade its capabilities.

Q3. Do the requirements of the HMR regarding the use of a specification packaging, apply when the packaging is used for the transportation in commerce of a non-hazardous material and the specification marking is visible during transport?

A3. Generally, no. However, under § 171.2(g), no person may represent or offer a packaging as meeting the requirements of the HMR unless the packaging is manufactured, fabricated, marked, maintained, reconditioned, repaired, and retested in accordance with the applicable requirements of the HMR. These requirements are applicable whether or not the packaging is used for the transportation of a hazardous material. Therefore, if the specification packaging is not maintained in accordance with the HMR, we recommend you securely cover any identifying marks representing it as such. Otherwise, a specification packaging may be used to package a non-hazardous material and be offered for transportation in commerce.

Read the full DOT interpretation here.

Move Over It’s the Law

April 23rd, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

If your car has ever broken down or you have had a flat tire, being stranded on the side of a road, can be very dangerous. Cars and trucks speeding by just inches away leaves too little margin for error and could easily result in a disastrous crash. America’s first responders — police, fire, EMT’s — face this peril every day in the line of duty. Also at risk are tow truck drivers, highway workers, utility workers and others whose jobs sometimes require that they park their vehicle on the roadway or the side of the road.

More than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways. In fact, traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers. In 2017, 47 officers lost their lives in traffic-related incidents, with nine officers struck and killed outside their vehicles. Already in 2019, responder fatalities include 7 law enforcement officers. From 2007 to 2017, 39 percent of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents. Many have been seriously injured. This is a tragedy and completely preventable.

To keep people from being killed or injured in these situations, all fifty states now have mandatory “Move Over” laws. Details vary, but assume that if you see a vehicle with emergency lights or flashers on, you are required to move over a lane and slow down.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will continue to raise awareness of this important issue through its ongoing safety campaign: Move Over. It’s the Law.

Every driver has a part to play in keeping first responders safe. When you see a first responder or other vehicle with flashing lights, please slow down, move over, and give them space to stay safe. “Move Over” is not only the law in all fifty states, but is also the courteous thing to do. And when you safely move over, you are signaling to the drivers behind you that they should follow your lead.