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Talking Freight

Freight Safety Issues

August 18, 2004 Talking Freight Transcript


Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the talking freight seminar. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question and answer session. If you have a question, press the one followed by the four. I would like to turn the call over to Jennifer Seplow. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Jennifer Seplow

Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Seplow and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Freight Safety Issues. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.

Today we'll have two speakers, Chuck Horan of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Randy Speight of the American Chemistry Council.

Charles A Horan III is the Director, Office of Enforcement and Compliance for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Chuck joined FMCSA in December of 2000 when FMCSA became an Administration of the Department of Transportation. Chuck leads the national enforcement and compliance program insuring motor carriers both truck and bus operate safely. Chuck is responsible for national enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, federal hazardous material regulations, passenger transportation, and compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial regulations.

Randy Speight is Managing Director of the American Chemistry Council's 24-hour Chemical Transportation Emergency Center known as CHEMTREC®. He is an engineering graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY and holds a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Randy joined the American Chemistry Council in 1991 following a 21-year career as an officer with the United States Coast Guard. Randy's final Coast Guard assignment was as Director of the US National Response Center, an emergency communication facility operated on behalf of 15 federal agencies. During that assignment, Randy served as a delegate to various international initiatives addressing emergency preparedness including OECD activities, and joint US/Hungarian initiatives.

Since joining the American Chemistry Council in 1991, Randy has led Council activities surrounding distribution, transportation, and security. In 1998 he was asked to lead the CHEMTREC organization, an organization whose scope expanded to include security following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. In addition to its traditional role of supplying critical information to emergency responders in incidents involving hazardous materials, CHEMTREC now funds and operates the Chemical Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center or ISAC. The ISAC provides a critical link between the chemical sector and federal intelligence organizations in the nations war on terrorism.

I'd like to go over a few logistical details prior to starting the seminar. Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. The Operator will give you instructions on how to ask a question over the phone during the Q&A period. However, if during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the smaller text box underneath the chat area on the lower right side of your screen. Please make sure you are typing in the thin text box and not the large white area. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will use some of the questions typed into the chat box to start off the question and answer session in the last half hour of the seminar. Those questions that are not answered will be posted to the Freight Planning LISTSERV. The LISTSERV is an email list and is a great forum for the distribution of information and a place where you can post questions to find out what other subscribers have learned in the area of Freight Planning. If you have not already joined the LISTSERV, the web address at which you can register is provided on the slide on your screen.

If at anytime you would like to zoom in on the slide that is showing on your screen, you can click on the zoom icon at the top of your screen. It looks like a magnifying glass with a plus sign in it.

Finally, I would like to remind you that this session is being recorded. A file containing the audio and the visual portion of this seminar will be posted to the Talking Freight Web site within the next week. To access the recorded seminar, please visit and click on the "recorded events" link on the left side of the page and then choose the session you'd like to view. Due to the size of the file, recorded files are available for viewing/listening purposes only and cannot be saved to your own computer. We encourage you to direct others in your office who may have not been able to attend this seminar to access the recorded seminar.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar will also be available within the next week. I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoints, the recording, and a transcript of this seminar.

We'll now begin with the first presentation of the day which will be Chuck Horan of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Chuck, if you could give me a second here, I will get it set up and then turn it over to you. Okay. Chuck, you may go when you're ready.

Chuck Horan:

Great, thanks, Jennifer. Good morning to everyone on the working coast, and I guess it's morning out in the west. Welcome to what I'm calling motor carriers 101, I'm Chuck Horan, Director of Enforcement and Compliance. And today I would like to give you an introduction to the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which provides our country's oversight to the trucking industry. As an overview, we'll begin with where FMCSA came from. Then a broad overview of the industry we oversee. This will provide you with the scope and the attitude of the industry that moves our nation. Face it, if you use it, if you eat it or you wear it, it's been on a truck! I'd like to describe our mission and the programs we use to accomplish our mission. So let's get started with who we are, and where we came from.

In the late '90s, death and injuries on our highways in crashes involving large trucks had reached a level that finally got Congress's attention. During this time, within the Federal Highway Administration was a small office, the Office of Motor Carriers. This small group of folks were focused on trucking. When compared with the responsibilities of the larger Federal Highway Administration like road and bridge engineering and our country's infrastructure, the Office of Motor Carriers competed with what were then much greater priorities for funding and resources. Every year, over 5,000 folks are killed on our nation's highways in crashes involving large trucks. That's like a 747 full of people crashing, killing everyone aboard every month. Or put another way, 14 people die every day of every year in large truck crashes. We're killing an entire small town's worth of our citizens every year and injuring many more. Congress in December of 1999 passed public law, 106.159 known as the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act. In the Act, Congress made the following findings. The current rate, number and severity of crashes involving motor carriers in the United States are unacceptable. The number of federal and state commercial motor vehicle and operator inspections is insufficient and civil penalties for violators must be utilized to deter future violations. The Department of Transportation is failing to meet statutorily mandated deadlines for completing rule making proceedings on motor carrier safety and in some significant safety rule-making proceedings including drivers hours of service regulations. Extensive periods have elapsed without progress towards resolution or implementation. Two few motor carriers undergo compliance reviews and the department's databases and information system requires substantial improvement to enhance the department's ability to target inspection and enforcement resources towards the most serious safety problems and to improve states ability to keep dangerous drivers off the road. Additionally safety inspectors and inspection facilities are needed in international border areas. The department should rigorously avoid conflicts of interest in federally funded research, meaningful measures to improve safety must be implemented expeditiously to prevent increases in motor carrier crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Proper use of federal resources is essential to the department's ability to improve its research, rule making, oversight and enforcement activities related to commercial motor vehicles, operators and carriers. The purpose of this act, Congress said are twofold. To approve the Administration of the federal motor carrier safety program, and to establish -- to establish the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and, two, to reduce the number and the severity of large truck involved crashes through more motor vehicle and operator inspections and motor carrier compliance reviews. Stronger enforcement measures against violators indicted completion of rule-making proceedings, scientifically sound research, and effective commercial driver's license testing record keeping and sanctions. So Congress set the priorities in the beginning of the act, stating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shall be Administration within the Department of Transportation, and safety will be the highest priority. In carrying out its duties, the Administration will consider the assignment and maintenance of safety as its highest priority, recognizing the clear intent, encouragement and dedication of Congress to the furtherance of the high degree of safety and motor carrier transportation. In January 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was born. In the past four years, the Administration has grown to over 1,000 federal employees. Headquarters located in Washington with other DOT modal Administrations, the field operations are controlled through four service centers in Colorado in the west, in Chicago for the Midwest, and Atlanta for the south, and Baltimore for the east. These service centers oversee division offices located in each state. The states located along our borders also provide coverage into Canada and soon into Mexico. A force multiplier is the MCSAP program which partners federal and states to conduct roadside inspections, as well as state-specific safety programs. Now that we have framed our organization, let's turn to the industry that we oversee. FMCSA oversees interstate motor carriers. Simplistically only the carriers that conduct business across state lines. Each state is responsible for oversight for those who operate within its boundaries. There are currently 662,000 truck and bus companies that operate 7,900,000 large trucks. 20,000 passenger carriers operating 669,000 commercial buses. And 43,000 companies who are authorized to haul hazardous materials. These carriers hauling hazardous materials conduct over 1.1 million shipments daily. In all, 225 million vehicles driven by 11 million CDL drivers. So the stage is set. You can see that FMCSA oversees the largest, most diverse mode in all of transportation and does it with the smallest cad ray of federal employees. Reduce crashes injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, we do this through developing and enforcing data-driven regulation. We focus efforts with our limited resources on high risk motor carriers, and our goal is to get the industry to comply with safety regulations and operate safely. Education plays a major role with providing carriers with the best practices and compliance retirements. Our strategic goal is coupled to the Department of Transportation's strategic goal to reduce the large truck fatality rate by 41% with the baseline in 1996 toe a finish line in 2008. This reduction translates to a rate of 1.65 fatalities in truck crashes per 100 million miles traveled. The programs that FMC operates to accomplish these goals are listed on this and the next slide. We'll look at each one in just a bit of detail. Motor carrier safety regulations purpose is to develop and maintain and promote carrier safety, industry productivity and new technologies. We establish safe operating requirements or commercial drivers, the carriers who employ them, the vehicles they operate, and the equipment that is used in transportation. Although deaths and injuries due to exposure to hazardous materials and transportation are not included in the calculation of truck-related fatalities or injuries, FMCSA has an important secondary goal to reduce the number of serious hazardous material transportation incidents, 20% by 2010. From the level of such serious incidents in fiscal year 2000. In addition, FMCSA also wishes to reduce the security risks of hazardous materials that could potentially be used to harm the public and the environment, developing programs to the secondary goal is the responsibility of FMCSA's hazardous materials program. FMCSA partners with RSPA, the research and special program Administration to promulgate and enforce hazardous material regulations. These regulations ensure the safe and sure transportation of hazardous materials, that hazardous materials are properly classified that they are properly packed and properly handled. That employees are trained and know how to handle hazardous materials and now to deal with any type of incident. They are also trained in hazardous communications and other operational requirements. You might consider FMCSA as RSPA's enforcement arm for over-the-road shipments. Before commercial driver's license program, it is widely recognized that driving certain commercial vehicles requires special skills, and knowledge prior to the implementation of the CDL program, in a number of states and the District of Columbia, any person licensed to drive an automobile could legally drive a tractor-trailer or a bus. Even in many of the states that did have a classification licensing system, a person was not skills tested in a representative vehicle, as a result many drivers were operating motor vehicles that they may not have been qualified to drive. In addition, many drivers were able to obtain driver's licenses more than one state and hide or spread convictions among several driving records and continue unsafe driving practices. The commercial motor vehicle safety act of 1986 was signed into law on October 27th, the goal of the act is to improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers of large trucks and buss are qualified to operate those vehicles and to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways. The act retains the state's rights to issue the driver's license, but establishes minimum national standards, which states must meet when licensing commercial motor vehicle drivers. The act corrects the situation existing prior to 1986, making it illegal to hold more than one license and by requiring states to adopt testing and licensing standards for trucks and buses to collect a person's ability to operate the type of vehicle he had or she plans to drive. It is important to note that the act does not require drivers to obtain a separate federal license. It merely requires states to upgrade their existing testing and licensing programs, if necessary, to conform with the federal minimum standard. The CDL program places requirements on the CMV driver, the employer, the employee motor carrier and states. The driver has been required to have the CDL in order to drive a commercial motor vehicle since April 1st of 1992. It developed standards for testing and licensing commercial motor vehicles -- drivers. Among other things, the standards required states to issue CDLs to their CMV drivers only after the driver passes knowledge and skills tests administered by the states. Related to the type of vehicle to be operated, states need CDLs -- drivers need CDLs if they are in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce and drives a vehicle that meets one of the definitions of a following commercial vehicle. There are three classes. The class a is a combination vehicle with a gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds, being towed in excess of 10,000, class b is any single vehicle as opposed to a combination which is a class a, over 26,000 pounds. In class c, takes those vehicles that not in class a or b, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver or is placarded for hazardous materials. Drivers who operate special types of commercial motor vehicles also need to pass additional tests to obtain the following endorsements on their CDL. If they are going to tow double or triple trailers, if they are going to carry passengers, operate tank vehicles, haul hazardous materials, or a combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials. States develop their own tests which must be at least as stringent as the federal standard. Model driver and examiner manuals and tests have been prepared and distributed to the states for their use if they wish. General knowledge tests must contain 30 questions, to pass the knowledge test, applicants must correctly answer at least 0%. To pass the skills test, applicants must successfully perform all the required skills that are listed in our regulations. The tests state that skills test must begin in a vehicle representative of the type of vehicle that the applicant operates or expects to operate. Third-party testing. You may have heard motor carrier had a little trouble with our third-party testers. We found in both Illinois and the state of Florida, a fraud ring who was issuing CDLs for cash. Our state programs in both states identified this through our CDL enforcement program, and those two states have been brought back into compliance. Blood alcohol standards. The federal highway established a .04% as a blood alcohol concentration level at or above, which a CMV driver is deemed to be driving under the influence of alcohol and subject to disqualification standards. States maintain a variance from between .08 and .10 for all commercial drivers. All CDL drivers must notify their employer within 30 days of any conviction on the road. Current status of our CDL program over 11 million drivers have passed the knowledge and the skills test and obtained the CDL. Approximately 11% of these CDL drivers have been disqualified at least once during the period from April '92 through June of '96. Building on the success of the CDL program, the FMCSA is exploring ways to enhance and improve the effectiveness of our CDL program. Some of the current enhancements and future enhancements being considered are: the driver data exchange, with Canada and now Mexico, and a CDL judicial outreach project to educate the courts on exactly what the CDL program is, means, and what our fine structure is. In the future we're looking at graduated commercial driver's license. We're looking at third-party CDL knowledge testing, merging the medical fitness determination into the CDL process and using simulators to validate testing and training. As asked by Congress, motor carriers have put a lot of effort into upgrading their information systems. The motor carrier management information system, the MICMA's computer database holds all the data motor carrier uses to use current analysis and cash statistics. We also provide detailed performance data for them to make shipping decisions. It also is used by federal and state enforcement to target inspections and investigations. An example of this might be at a weigh station that I'm aim sure you are familiar in seeing near the state lines of all of our United States. As a truck pulls into the weigh station, there's a set of lights, red and green, that indicator communicate to the driver to either stop for an inspection or pass through. Those lights are based on roadside analysis and carrier analysis done by motor carrier and our MCSAP partners. When a carrier is operating in an unsafe manner and meets critical levels of safety, the trucks are inspected more often than not . Data has shown that carriers that are most likely to be involved in crashes are those who are just beginning business. Because of this data, Congress required FMCSA to focus attention on new carriers this. Is done through the New Entrant Safety Assurance program. All entrant motor carriers must complete an application package. It can be done online or through the mail. Carriers must complete additional required forms and pay a $300 filing fee. Private and exempt for hire carriers are not required to pay any fee. Once the application package is completed, the carrier is granted new entrant registration which is now the DOT number. After being issued a new entrant registration, they will be subject to an 18-month safety monitoring period. During the safety monitoring period, the carrier will receive a safety audit and have the roadside crash and inspection information closely evaluated. And as I mentioned in my example, they will probably be red lighted at the weigh station. The carrier will be required to demonstrate it has the necessary systems in place to ensure basic safety management controls. Failure to demonstrate basic safety management controls may result in the carrier having their new entrant registration revoked. There have been about 4800 new carriers per month entering the industry. Some quick math would indicate that that's almost 57,600 new carriers annually. The MCSAP is a federal grant program that provides federal assistant to states to reduce the number and severity of incidents and hazardous material accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. The goal of the MCSAP is to reduce CMV involved accidents and fatalities and injuries through consistent, uniform and effective commercial motor vehicle safety programs. Vesting grant monies and appropriate safety programs will increase the likelihood that safety defects, driver deficiencies and unsafe motor carrier practices will be detected and corrected before they contribute to accidents. The MCSAP also sets forth the conditions for the promotion of adoption and uniform enforcement of safety rules, regulations and standards compatible with the FMCSRs and the FMCSA, both interstate and intrastate motor carriers and drivers. The federal grant monies are hire staff and implement strategies and conduct roadside inspections and there are about 2.3 million of those done annually, review motor carrier compliance and detect and correct defects, driver deficiency and unsafe motor carrier practices. The performance and the registration information system program originated as a pilot project mandated by Congress under section 4003 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, ISTEA. The goal of the project is to explore the potential benefits of using state commercial vehicle registration sanctions as an incentive to improve motor carrier safety. The present pilot demonstration project was developed through a cooperative agreement between Office of Motor Carriers at the time and the Iowa Department of Transportation. In addition to Iowa, four other states, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon, participated in the PRISM pie pi lot demonstration project. The pilot officially ended in September of '97. The final report assessing the feasibility, costs and benefits of the PRISM program was submitted to Congress in '98. The report proved conclusively that the possibility of state's commercial vehicle registration sanctions could prove to be a usable rule. In 199 Congress authorized additional funding through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, TEA-21 to implement PRISM program worldwide. PRISM; a six-step process. Step one is initial briefing at a stage request an initial briefing to the PRISM program is conducted for state officials, by FMCSA staff. This briefing is meant to give the state officials the outline of the PRISM program and the benefits to the state's safety initiatives. Step two is a letter of intent, the state files with the FMCSA, a letter of intent to join the program. Step three is in-depth training. It is a two-day training process, for all state people that are involved in the PRISM program. After the training, the state produces in step four the PRISM implementation plan, and step 5 FMCSA finalizes the plan and awards the grant. Last step is implementation of the plan following the grant award, the state is responsible for ensuring the program is implemented in their state according to procedures, time lines and costs identified in their implementation plan. States will also be required to intermittently report progress and funds for PRISM grants are typically established in a two-year period. For those of you looking for grant funds. An example for how the PRISM program works might be that a carrier is identified as at risk through roadside monitoring. Indications may than the driver are falsifying their log books. A carrier review conducted by FMCSA would yield non-compliance and maybe even a heavy penalty or a change in their safety rating. The company may ignore the fine and continue to run. In PRISM state they can enter the property, remove license plates from the carrier's vehicles. If the carriers to operates, the vehicles will stick out like a sore thumb without license plates. They are responsible for finding transportation for the goods being carried and the carrier can be jailed as well as served yet another penalty. FMCSA research and technology programs encompass a range of disciplines, all related to motor carriers and bus safety and security. FMCSA defines a research program as a systemic study directed towards fuller scientific knowledge or understanding that will improve safety and security and reduce the number and the severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes. Similarly a technology program includes those that adopt, develop, test or deploy innovative driver and/or vehicle best practices and technologies that will improve safety and security and reduce the severity of commercial crashes. I would like to talk just a second about the commercial vehicle information system and network CVISN program. CVISN is a collection of information systems and communication networks owned and operated by governments, motor carriers and other stakeholders that support commercial vehicle operations, CVO CVISN program provides a framework or architecture that allows government agencies the motor carrier industries, CVO, administrative, safety insurance to exchange information and conduct business transactions electronically. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have on CVISN. Motor carrier moratorium. Mexico and NAFTA. The moratorium, Congress in 1982 imposed a moratorium on the granting of authority Mexican and Canadian motor carriers seeking to operate in the United States beyond a limited zone along the US/Mexican border. With exceptions for a few carriers before the president's action on November 27th, Mexican domicile trucks and regular route buses could cross the border to operate only in these border commercial zones. Generally extending 3 to 20 miles passed the U.S. municipality corporate limits depending on its population. The moratorium with respect to Canada was lifted immediately on -- in 1982, on the basis of a bilateral agreement that gave U.S. carriers access to Canadian markets. In the NAFTA, which was signed in 1992, the United States and Mexico agreed to liberalize access for cross border truck and bus services under the NAFTA, the United States agreed to modify the moratorium to allow Mexican trucking firms to receive authority to operate first throughout the border states that would be in December of '95, and then throughout the entire United States by January of 2000. In December of 1995, the United States announced that it would delay implementation of NAFTA cross border trucking liberalization provisions. Claiming the previous US Administration's delay violated NAFTA the Mexican government protested before an international panel February 2001 this panel ruled that while the United States might have legitimate safety concerns over Mexican trucking and could for safety reasons protect American trucks or carriers from operating beyond the commercial zone, it could not under the NAFTA impose a blanket ban on operation of trucks I don't know the commercial zone. The panel also found the United States could treat Mexican motor carriers differently from domestic and Canadian carriers with processing applications for operating authority in legitimate safety reasons existed for treating them differently. The president's initiative during 20900 presidential campaign, president Bush stated that the United States should honor the NAFTA commitments regarding cross border trucking and passenger services. Since his election, President George Bush made a commitment to Mexico's President Fox that the United States would fulfill its commitments NAFTA to fully allow border to international trucking and cross border and regular route bus service. The president is living up to his commitment. President Bush worked with Congress to allow cross border trucking in the fiscal year '02 transportation appropriations act, Congress imposed 22 separate safety conditions to opening the border. The United States has met or exceeded all those conditions. Modifying the moratorium implements the truck and bus provisions of NAFTA and opens the way to expand Mexican bus and truck operations to the United States. Shortly after, a safety group petitioned the state on the stay because FMCSA did not complete a full environmental impact stud study on the Mexican border. The ninth circuit court agreed and the case went to the Supreme Court and found in favor of FMCSA. Currently we are awaiting word from the Administration to begin long haul border operations. Education and outreach. The implementation of educational and outreach strategies is meant to increase a motor carrier's compliance with our safety regulations. Our messages are aimed at all highway users. Passenger car drivers, truck drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Some may have heard our public service announcements about the no zone, smooth operator, highway watch and our seat belt initiatives. With determination of the interstate commerce commission, the FMCSA and DOT were given the responsibility to oversee the movement of household goods. We regulate interstate household good movers only, not the ones that move intrastate or inside the confines of a single state. They are required to register with the agency. Enforcement, in this particular area, has been weak. The motor carriers have focused mostly on our safety mission for the past four years. The change has been in the last fiscal year, Congress authorized us, both money and personnel to increase our vigilance in the household good program. If we at FMCSA are successful in our mission, we expect that this will happen fewer and fewer times on our road. This is a bus/truck crash that happened in Tennessee just two weeks ago. The truck was entering the road from a shoulder, doing about 40 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The bus was on a regular route, run many times by the driver. The driver, and three passengers were killed and the rest of the passengers sustained serious injury. That concludes my briefing and I will be happy to answer any questions.

J. Seplow:

Thank you, Chuck. And thank you to those of you who posted questions. We'll get to those questions following Randy's presentation. Let's now move on to Randy Speight of the American Chemistry Council and Randy, if you just give me a second, I will turn the presentation role over to you. Okay, Randy, you can go when you are ready.

Randy Speight:

Okay. Thank you, I still have -- let's see, okay. There we are. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today, and thanks to the Federal Highway Administration for hosting this web seminar. I am Randy Speight, Managing Director of the American Chemistry Council's Chemical Transportation Emergency Center, more commonly known as CHEMTREC.

In my presentation, I intend to cover 4 areas: some background about who we are and how we came to be; how CHEMTREC operates and deals with chemical emergencies; how CHEMTREC contributes to national security; and a little bit about some of CHEMTREC's commercial services.

CHEMTREC's mission is simple: "to be the most effective emergency communication service in the world."

For 33 years, CHEMTREC has provided critical information to emergency responders involved in mitigating chemical incidents, both here in the US and sometimes overseas.

In response to a number of hazmat related transportation incidents in the '60's, the then new US Department of Transportation was considering establishing a call center that could provide real-time information to first responders to assist them in mitigating transportation incidents. It was originally anticipated that the center would be a government-funded and operated organization. However, there were those within government that believed such a center would be best operated by those who actually manufacture and ship the product. It was then that DOT approached the American Chemistry Council [then known as the Manufacturing Chemists Association]. Shortly after those discussions, the ACC's Board of Directors agreed to "stand-up" CHEMTREC. At first, the Center consisted of a single red telephone, 4 professional staff providing coverage around-the-clock, and 1600 chemical cards written by ACC members. Those cards predated Material Safety Data Sheets, or MSDSs, and represented those chemical products most commonly found in transportation. I will talk in a moment about how those resources have changed.

CHEMTREC was founded as a free public service provided by the American Chemistry Council to assist emergency responders - and it remains so today. In other words, CHEMTREC will assist, at any time, anyone who needs assistance in a chemical related emergency.

The benefits of CHEMTREC's reputation, experience, and access to resources has also been recognized by the federal government as evidenced by the formal memoranda of understanding that have been executed between CHEMTREC, the US Department of Transportation, the US Army, the Department of Defense, and the FBI. In each of these cases, CHEMTREC can and does provide information regarding hazardous materials to those agencies to assist in their haz mat roles.

As I will detail later in this session, CHEMTREC expanded its public service role in the wake of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001 and now operates the Chemical Sector Security Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a critical communication link between the Department of Homeland Security and the critical chemical sector.

With that bit of background, let me now delve into exactly what it is that CHEMTREC does.

The next time you see a freight train, take a look at the tank cars. If those cars are engaged in the transportation of hazardous materials, it is highly likely that you will see a yellow sign on the tank car that looks a lot like the one in this slide. The same sign is prominent on tank trucks engaged in hazardous materials transport. The prevalence of these signs is a testament to the faith these companies put in CHEMTREC's ability to provide the right assistance at the right time.

CHEMTREC is a 24/7 resource that coordinates and communicates a broad range of critical information that may be needed by emergency responders in mitigating a hazardous material related incident.

Those resources include

Although we started out small CHEMTREC has evolved to meet the growing needs of the emergency response community.

Today, CHEMTREC staff numbers 35, with over half of that number manning CHEMTREC's 24X7 emergency operations center. The 18 emergency center staff collectively have over a quarter-century of hands-on experience in emergency response. Some are former paid-professional firefighters, some are retired military with specialties in military ordinance or explosives, and some are graduates of university emergency response programs. Many serve their communities in their off-hours as volunteer firefighters.

Regardless of their background, each and every CHEMTREC Emergency Service Specialist is required to undergo rigorous training before they are permitted to handle incidents on their own. This training includes annually recurring hazmat certification through 40-hour training programs as well as attendance of in-house classes taught by emergency response and product experts brought into CHEMTREC from the ACC membership.

The technical data that these Emergency Service Specialists can bring to bear during an incident include CHEMTREC's data base of over 5 million material safety data sheets and a broad range of CD based or hard copy reference material, all housed within CHEMTREC and immediately accessible.

When computerized or hard-copy technical data is not enough, CHEMTREC leans on its unparalleled "people network." Access to the emergency contacts of our nearly 30,000 registered companies, including carrier and product specialists, coupled with the expertise of the 140 member companies of the American Chemistry Council, CHEMTREC's Emergency Service Specialists can bring-to-bear an incredible brain trust when an incident demands.

CHEMTREC is also prepared to assist in medical emergencies. Through its MEDTREC program, CHEMTREC maintains 24/7 access to physicians and toxicologists who can provide critical information to emergency medical technicians and physicians treating patients exposed to hazardous materials. These physicians and toxicologists can be connected to the incident scene or treating facility via CHEMTREC's conferencing system.

It is not uncommon for CHEMTREC to receive an emergency call from someone whose primary language is other than English. Whether the caller is a foreign speaking citizen of the United States, or a responder in South Korea attempting to obtain emergency assistance on a shipment arriving from San Diego, CHEMTREC can access its 24/7 language translation service and communicate effectively with the caller.

CHEMTREC uses high-speed internet, fax, or telephone systems to deliver information to emergency responders. Additionally, multiple layers of redundancy exists not only for our systems, but also for our facility. Back-up electrical systems, three-level redundancy in our phone systems, and facility back-up at 2 Washington regional locations and 1 remote North-East location provide us with a high-level of disaster recovery capability.

CHEMTREC also records all calls to and from the emergency center. This system is not only used for quality control, since calls are randomly reviewed for quality and training purposes, but also to give us the ability to revisit a call if we want to double-check the callers request or review our response.

Now, how do we put that all together during an incident?

Using CHEMTREC's toll-free "800" number, a responder, carrier, or shipper places a call to CHEMTREC's emergency center. It is not unusual for the caller to be excited or agitated - after all, they wouldn't be calling unless there was an emergency. If needed, our Emergency Service Specialists use their training to help "settle-the-caller-down" so that coherent information can be obtained about the incident.

CHEMTREC's Emergency Service Specialist obtains the necessary details about the incident, including any available product, shipper, or carrier information.

Immediately accessing the CHEMTREC MSDS database and resources such as the Coast Guard's CHRIS manual, DOT's Emergency Response Guidebook, and others, the Emergency Service Specialist will provide initial instructive guidance to the caller.

Additionally, the Emergency Service Specialist will inquire as to whether the caller needs a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet for the product or products involved in the incident.

If needed, the MSDS will be immediately forwarded to the caller, either by fax or e-mail.

So far, these steps have consumed less than 10 minutes.

If the situation warrants, CHEMTREC can access its database of shippers or manufacturers to obtain expert information regarding the product. This may be necessary in situations where there is potential for product mixing as a result of an accident, or unusual environmental conditions that might create a unique problem. In these situations, CHEMTREC can conference together the CHEMTREC Emergency Service Specialist, the responder on-scene, and the manufacturer or shipper product expert.

If personnel at the scene have had direct exposure to a hazardous material, medical attention may be required. If so, CHEMTREC can put the treating emergency medical technicians or treating physicians in touch with other physicians or toxicologists that have special expertise in chemical exposures. This is done through our MedTREC program and links these experts with the medical personnel on scene via CHEMTREC's conferencing system.

Some manufacturers and shippers have come together to form mutual aid networks to assist in responding to certain chemical products and, in many cases, CHEMTREC serves as the starting point that begins activation of these services. It is at this point in the process that CHEMTREC will make the necessary notifications to these networks.

After the necessary information and contacts have been made, CHEMTREC's Emergency Service Specialists will follow-up with the scene to make sure we have done all we can.

If the shipper of the product involved in the incident also happens to be a CHEMTREC registrant, a written report of the incident is provided to the shipper and any additional dispensation instructions are carried out.

In some cases, the shipper or carrier may request information about the availability of third-party response and remediation contractors. CHEMTREC maintains a list of registered contractors, together with information about their capabilities, that can be made available to CHEMTREC registrants.

What I've just described is how a "typical" incident would be handled. Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as a "typical" incident, since each have their unique circumstances. Fortunately, our experienced Emergency Service Specialists are well practiced at dealing with these situations.

OK - now that you have heard what we do, what tools we use to do it, and how we do it, a question that might remain is how much of it do we do, and what do the incidents look like? Well...

Over the 33-year life of CHEMTREC, we have handled over 2-million calls encompassing over half-million incidents. Today, CHEMTREC averages about 125 incidents in a 24-hour period. Most of these incidents are small spills from leaking containers - many of them paint spills. However, there are those times when our training and expertise are fully utilized when the incoming call is about a train derailment or a breeched tank trailer. Fortunately those incidents are few, but the level of knowledge and expertise required to handle those calls is the level to which our Emergency Service Specialists are trained.

There are some incidents, however, that are clearly beyond the ordinary, but handled very well just the same. Let's look at a few of those...

As hazmat teams struggled to recover the victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Towers, they encountered several large containers of Freon. With the enormous pressures, fires, quantities of jet fuel, and other materials present in the mix, how would the Freon cylinders react and what were the hazards? Within minutes of the New York City Hazmat Team's call to CHEMTREC, the caller was put in touch with the product manufacturer and the answers forthcoming.

Questions also came into CHEMTREC a few days earlier from the Pentagon seeking information regarding the origin of the fire suppressant Halon.

CHEMTREC also assisted responders during recovery operations for the Columbia Space Shuttle,

These non-traditional calls, while beyond the ordinary, are not atypical for CHEMTREC.

We were contacted by the United Nations to obtain information on potential environmental consequences resulting from the Ryongchon, North Korea train explosion, and have been contacted by post-offices and federal agencies seeking information on materials associated with terrorist chemical and biological attacks.

These latter examples are situations where CHEMTREC's traditional role can play a part in security. But, like many other elements of the American Chemistry Council, CHEMTREC's role has evolved into a much more direct link to National Security. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Infrastructure Protection Center approached CHEMTREC and the American Chemistry Council to serve as the communication link between the Bureau and the chemical sector. As a result, the Council agreed that CHEMTREC would fund and operate the Chemical Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or ISAC. The ISAC is provided as a free public service for representatives of the critical chemical sector, and provides a mechanism for the Department of Homeland Security to relay timely and critical information regarding potential or actual threats against the chemical infrastructure as well as a resource for DHS to use in communicating a range of other information to the sector.

The ISAC consists of representatives of the private chemical sector that have been vetted through our approval process.

The ISAC is an electronic communication tool that allows threat information to be relayed out to ISAC participants. It also provides an electronic, secure method of reporting unexplained suspicious or malicious incidents back to the Department of Homeland Security for further analysis.

The Chemical Sector ISAC has established relationships with other ISACs and shares information between those ISACs where appropriate. For instance, because the chemical industry is dependent on the railroads and trucking industry to move their products, the railroad's Surface Transportation ISAC and the Highway ISAC routinely share information with the Chemical Sector ISAC regarding issues that would impact chemical shipments.

Here is a graphic representation of how the ISAC works. Information, in this case a threat or an incident, is reported from DHS to CHEMTREC. The information is reviewed by ISAC staff and formatted for distribution to ISAC participants.

The information is then distributed to the ISAC participants by e-mail. If, however, the information is of a sensitive nature, the information is placed on a secure website and a notice is sent by-e-mail to the ISAC participants advising them to use their preassigned password access to review the information on the web.

If a company wishes to report an unexplained suspicious or malicious incident, they may notify DHS directly by phone, fax, or e-mail, or may go to the ISAC website and use the secure, encrypted reporting tool to send a confidential message to DHS.

If an incident or threat is immediate or directed to a particular facility or company, direct and personal notification to the company or facility will likely parallel the ISAC reporting process.

I have just covered our more traditional CHEMTREC activities and the newer security ISAC. Now let be briefly touch on a couple of other public service activities in which CHEMTREC is involved.

In 2002, the United States exported $81.1 billion worth of chemicals and allied products, and we imported another $86 billion worth. For that reason, CHEMTREC maintains strong relationships with several foreign emergency centers as well as cooperative relationships with international chemical industry associations. These relationships help us gather and share needed information in those cases where an incident involves a foreign shipment. Additionally, CHEMTREC works with these associations to try to encourage other countries to follow the US industry example and establish CHEMTREC-like centers in those areas where none exist. In recent years, CHEMTREC has sent representatives to China, South Korea, Europe, and Thailand, and we have hosted delegations from Singapore, Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, and others. Currently, CHEMTREC has strong relationships and working procedures with centers in Mexico, the UK, and Canada. This is an effort that we will continue to pursue, even more aggressively now than in the past. These international efforts assist responders domestically by providing a source of information in the event hazmat shipments originating overseas are involved in an incident here in the U.S.

A program that CHEMTREC is very proud to be a part of is the initiative known as TransCAER, for Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response. TransCAER is a nationwide voluntary outreach effort sponsored by 5 manufacturing and transportation associations and their respective members involved in the business of chemistry. This national effort is intended to help U.S. communities become better prepared for a possible hazardous materials transportation incident. CHEMTREC staff manage the National TransCAER Task Group. Through TRANSCAER and its sponsors, communities can gain access to resources that will help them better understand the flow of hazardous materials through their communities, develop response and contingency plans, and critique those plans.

Ladies and gentlemen, that about covers the public-service aspects of CHEMTREC. Now, as I mentioned in my first side, CHEMTREC does offer some commercial for-fee services that compliment and help support our public service function. This slide lists some of those services. The first, and probably the most recognized of the commercial services offered by CHEMTREC is the use of CHEMTREC's number to comply with 49 CFR 172.604 for a 24-hour number on shipping papers.

For those of you involved in enforcement activities, please know and understand that CHEMTREC will also assist enforcement agencies in determining whether or not a company that uses CHEMTREC numbers on their shipping papers to comply with that regulation is, in fact, registered with and authorized to use that number.

For those of you who wish to learn more about CHEMTREC and its programs, here is the contact information for the CHEMTREC staff.

To involve CHEMTREC in local exercises, call Carl Reynolds. These must be prearranged.

For information about our commercial services, call David Macdonald.

For information about TRANSCAER or the Chemical Sector ISAC, call Nancy White.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time, and I will be pleased to try and respond to any questions you may have.

J. Seplow:

Thank you, Randy, and I'm actually going to go -- give me a second. I will go back and I will put that last slide up with the phone numbers for anybody who may be interested. Right now we have about two questions posted, both for Chuck Horan so I will start off by reading those and then feel free to type in additional questions or we'll also open up the phone lines for questions. The first question we have for Chuck -- or actually it looks like Chuck answered it online, but I will go ahead and ask it anyway. The question is - there are 57,000 new carriers per year. Is this new drivers?

C. Horan:

These are actually companies, and in my answer I wrote some with only one truck. Many folks have the misconception that a trucking company is really big when they see the JP Hunts and the Yellow Freights out there. Those are the very few companies that have large truck fleets. The average -- if you want to average for a truck carrier, the average carriers have less than ten trucks and more have less than three than not. So these are really small companies. Often they don't even know they are trucking companies. An example would be maybe a lawn service who purchases a large truck to move their equipment from one place to another, and they cross a state line. They qualify as a trucking company, and need to comply with our regulations.

J. Seplow:

Thank you, Chuck. The next question is actually for you as well. Does FMCSA share accident data analysis with FHWA and states that identify locations or facilities that have high truck accident rates and need evaluation for improvement and or operations?

C. Horan:

Wow, that's a long question! The short answer is yes. Coming from the Federal Highway Administration, and the Office of Motor Carriers we still have really close ties with the folks in Federal Highway and the engineers. So when we recognize a trend through our analysis that may be engineering-related, yes we definitely share them -- that information with them. Most of the sharing is done at the division level, down in the states, where the division folks have the focus and the vision on those geographic areas, you know, we're talking about high truck corridors. We're talking about intersections or on or off ramps from a highway, those kind of things. Those are state partners that our division federal folks are in contact with both the Federal Highway and the state folks in trying to come up with alternatives and remedies for those areas that are -- we call them hot spots.

J. Seplow:

Thank you. At this point, I don't believe we have any more questions posted online. So what we'll do is go ahead and open the phone lines for questions at as well and you can feel free to ask the question over the phone or still type it in, if you would like.


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like register a question, please press the one followed by the four on your telephone. You will hear a three-toned prompt to acknowledge your request. If your question has been answered or you would like to withdrawal your question, please president the one followed by the three. Your line will briefly be accessed by an operator to take down your information. One moment, please. Ladies and gentlemen, as a reminder to register for a question, press the one four.

J. Seplow

I'm sorry, we have a question on the phone?



J. Seplow:

We do have another question typed in. So I will go ahead and ask this. Chuck, I believe this is for you and the question is: what is the most recent feedback about the hours of service rule?

C. Horan:

Hmm. There is a -- there isn't really a whole lot that I can talk about at this point. We have been given a rating from a judge that said that we failed to take into consideration the driver's health, among other things when considering the new hours of service. And at this point, we, in Motor Carriers are weighing our options. We have, oh, two or three options that we can deal with here. We can say nothing. If we say nothing, by the end of this month, there's a debate currently going on inside the organization as to whether we will revert back to the old hours of service, or we will be without any hours of service guidance whatsoever. And that's something for our legal team to decide, well outside my purview of Motor Carriers. Another option we have is to appeal, or we could file a brief and an explanation that may prove that we did put what the judge said we neglected to do. Either way, today, as we sit kind of in limbo here with our time running, we are under the new hours of service and we'll continue that way until we get direction from the Administration and the court system.

J. Seplow:

Thank you, Chuck. Another question is: What is the schedule for registering Mexican truck carriers for NAFTA implementation?

C. Horan:

Excellent question! Actually there's nothing that's stopping us from doing that at this point. As I said in my presentation, we're waiting for word from our Administration to begin doing that. I believe we have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 400 carriers that are in the queue wishing to get the registration filed.

J. Seplow:

Okay. Do we have any questions on the phone at this point?


There are no questions at this time.

J. Seplow:

Okay. At this point, then, I think since we have no additional questions, we're going to go ahead and close out this seminar. If you do think of any questions, at -- let put the slide with the LISTSERV address back up. You can send it to Randy or Chuck, or post it to the freight planning LISTSERV. I want to thank everyone for attending today's seminar and especially Chuck and Randy for your presentations. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next week on the Talking Freight web site. The next seminar will be held on September 15th, and is titled "Freight Security Issues" we will have speakers from the Federal Highway Administration, the Georgia Institute of Technology and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. I also encourage you to join the freight planning LISTSERV if you have not done so already. So thank you, everyone, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Updated: 3/29/2011
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