NTSB recommends hazmat tracking changes

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a Sept. 2 letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, recommended steps for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration to take to gain a more accurate accounting of the distribution of hazardous materials-hauling cargo tanks on the road around the nation by type.

Obtaining a more accurate accounting would enable enhanced safety-data analyses of hazmat haulers and increased safety, the board said.

NTSB recommended requiring all intrastate and interstate hazardous materials carriers to annually submit tank types and numbers in both owned and leased fleets to the DOT, in addition to data displayed on the specification plates of such tanks. “If necessary,” the board added, DOT should “modify the appropriate database to accept additional data fields.”

The NTSB cited the investigation of a 2009 rollover of a DOT-406-type liquefied petroleum gas tank that resulted in an explosion and several serious injuries as proof the agency had no way of accurately tracking the distribution of hazmat tanks in service.

As further proof, NTBS noted, “the most precise number of petroleum-hauling DOT 406 cargo tank semi trailers cited in the Cargo Tank Roll Stability Study appeared to be between 10,648–60,003 units.”

Download the full copy of the recommendation letter here.