In hopes of cutting back on accidents caused by containers loaded onto rickety chassis, the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched a safety inspection program for the trailer beds used to haul intermodal containers. "Every day millions of dollars worth of cargo are transferred from ships and rail to trailer beds and hauled away by trucks," says Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. "It is essential that we have a full and complete safety program focused on the trailer beds used to haul cargo containers."
The new inspection program will be modeled on the compliance review program already in place for the nation's trucking community. Chassis providers will be required to obtain a U.S. DOT number and display it on their chassis. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) would apply the same penalty structure and enforcement actions for the equipment, including issuing out-ofservice orders and revoking U.S. DOT numbers when needed.
Within the next several weeks, DOT will outline specific details and a timeline for a notice of proposed rulemaking on the issue.