Container Chassis Subject to Safety Inspection

As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) withdrew an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the roadability of containers and chassis, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) stepped in, stating it would launch a safety inspection program for intermodal container chassis. The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) said few details were immediately available, but that DOT said the new program would be modeled on the compliance review program already in place for the motor carrier industry.

The federal notice on roadability was first published on Feb. 17, 1999, according to IANA, in response to a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). ATA contended a lack of adequate maintenance by offerers of equipment posed a highway safety problem. FMCSA examined the issue and has stated there is insufficient data concerning the relationship between mechanical condition of intermodal container chassis and trailers and commercial vehicle accidents to quantify the extent to which chassis or trailer condition contributed to accidents.

Under the expected compliance program, chassis providers will be required to obtain a USDOT number and display it on their chassis. This will enable FMCSA to collect inspection data and associate it with specific chassis. Enforcement actions could include issuing out-of-service orders and revoking USDOT numbers when necessary.

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