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Proposed Legislation Would Require Retrofit of Cargo Tanks with Side Underride Protection


A bill has been proposed in the Senate, S. 665, sponsored by Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY), that would require new side underride protection for trailers and straight trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 10,000 pounds.

The proposed legislation is important to petroleum marketers because it would require a costly retrofit of transport cargo tank trailers and single unit cargo tank trucks. Specifically, the bill would require the U.S. DOT to adopt regulations that would require: the installation of side underride rails on new and existing commercial motor vehicles (CMV) cargo tank trucks and trailers; and new performance standards, inspection and maintenance requirements for front, rear and side underride protection equipment. The bill is problematic for marketers because it would require virtually all CMVs and CMV trailers to be removed from service, brought to a certified cargo tank inspection and maintenance facility, cleaned and purged of residue and vapors and installation of new side underride rails and possibly replacement of existing rear underride rails that do not meet new equipment performance standards. The bill is particularly troubling because there is no practical or safe way to install side rail underride protection on bottom loading cargo tank vehicles and transport trailers.

The bill would impose huge compliance costs on all petroleum marketers operating cargo tank vehicles and trailers. U.S. DOT attempted to impose similar requirements specifically targeting bottom loading vehicles and trailers.

U.S. DOT attempted a similar rulemaking back in 1998 but eventually withdrew the proposed rule after fierce opposition by PMAA and other trucking interests. That rulemaking was eventually withdrawn by a study partially funded by PMAA found that more people would die during retrofit installation of side rails than those killed in cargo tank underride traffic accidents. PMAA opposes efforts to mandate costly underride equipment retrofits.

PMAA will meet with members of Congress to highlight our concerns with the bill.

Transportation Federal

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