FMCSA Conducting 700 Hazmat Security Checks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will visit 700 hazardous waste transporters by October 2004 to check security measures against terrorism.

A FMCSA team will visit 200 carriers on-site by Sept. 30 and 500 more companies by Oct. 1, 2004, said Suzy Bohnert, an agency spokeswoman.

The move marks the second round of visits that are part of increased government vigilance against terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks, Bohnert said. “It’s to make sure they’re following regulations,” she said.

Some of the carriers targeted include companies that haul highly explosive cargo, poisonous gases and radioactive material, Bohnert said. The carriers will receive advance notification of the inspections.

In September 2001, the agency began security visits to hazmat carriers, according to U.S. Department of Transportation testimony before a Senate subcommittee on March 21, 2002. By then, FMCSA officials had completed nearly 41,000 such visits, which also included other potential terrorism targets: driver training schools, leasing companies such as U-Haul and Ryder, refineries and other high-risk facilities, and shippers.

In these visits, officials met with company executives to review and improve security measures. By March 2002, the visits had resulted in 128 referrals of suspicious activities, such as false names and citizenship irregularities, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to DOT testimony.