Maryland Trucking Safety News: Teamsters Back Regulations Pertaining to Hazardous Materials Transport

News out of Baltimore, Maryland, shows great support from the Teamsters Union for new trucking rules regarding the transportation of flammable liquids, specifically the regulations that would ban these liquids from being carried in the relatively vulnerable transfer lines on tanker trucks. This new Congressional legislation would most likely increase the safety of innocent drivers and pedestrians who may be killed or injured in tanker truck-related accidents in the future.

According to news reports, the Teamsters announced that they will support a new law banning the transport of flammable liquids in tank truck loading lines. According to the union, approximately 30 to 50 gallons of flammable liquid, such as gasoline or heating oil, can typically be held in the mostly unprotected loading lines beneath most tanker trucks.

The report quoted a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that described a recent highway accident in New Jersey involving a tanker truck in which the driver of a smaller vehicle was killed. In that crash, the NTSB concluded, the ensuing fire probably wouldn’t have occurred if the loading lines had been empty. According to reports, there have been 184 accidents over the past 10 years in which loading lines were damaged or ruptured.

An accident involving a tank truck loaded with gasoline, diesel fuel or heating oil, can cause severe burn injuries to the truck driver, occupants of other vehicles, and even pedestrians. Frequently, injuries such as third-degree burns can result in death.

According to news reports, the Teamsters director of Safety and Health, LaMont Byrd, said the requirement would be worth the cost — $2,000 to $4,000 on vehicles worth $80,000 to $100,000 — for equipment to purge the loading lines, known as “wet lines.”

“It is clear that these wet lines present a real danger when tank haul trucks are involved in accidents to not only the traveling public, but to the drivers of these vehicles,” Byrd said.

Teamsters Support Comprehensive Hazmat Regulation,, November 16, 2009

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