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FMCSA Agrees to Delay Chassis Rule Six Months to Set Up Database System
Monday, 04 January 2010 00:00

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it was delaying some intermodal chassis safety requirements for six months to give operators of that equipment more time to create a database to track the condition of each chassis.

The delay moves the requirement for ocean carriers to maintain a database of vehicle condition reports back to June 30 from Dec. 17.

“The large number of intermodal facilities and the significant variations in their operating practices make the implementation of the enhanced intermodal equipment safety oversight activities a challenging task,” FMCSA said in a Federal Register notice published on Dec. 18, the day after the rules took effect.

The new database will standardize reports about key components such as brakes and tires, and truck drivers will fill out the reports when they pick up and drop off chassis. Ocean carriers, and other chassis owners such as railroads, currently have their own chassis condition reporting procedures.

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, a steam-ship line trade group whose members own most of the estimated 850,000 chassis in the United States, sought the delay.

The postponement was the latest setback for a program that was required by a 2005 federal law to create chassis safety standards and to end the practice of holding truckers responsible for chassis defects.

It took FMCSA two years to write the rules, which the agency will implement gradually, with the final requirements taking effect in July of this year when ocean carriers must have FMCSA-required markings on each chassis.

FMCSA is making life easier for drayage carriers by delaying the date when they must file equipment reports, said Curtis Whalen, executive director of American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference.

Drayage carriers tried to submit inspection reports to comply with the Dec. 17 deadline, only to find that there was no standardized system.

Transport Topics, 1/4/2010