December 4, 2017: DOT to Repeal Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake Mandate

The Department of Transportation has announced the final updated RIA (Regulatory Impact Analysis) regarding Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes (ECP). PHMSA and FRA made the determination to rescind the ECP mandate upon reviewing the information provided by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, U.S. General Accountability Office, and studies provided by FRA. It was determined during the review that the cost of continuing the mandate would exceed three-fold the benefits it may provide.

DOT Rescinds Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake Mandate

May 1, 2017: Concerns Over ELD and Speed-Limiter Rules

Over a dozen trucking stakeholder groups worked together to submit a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking her to delay the implementation of the Electronic Logging Device and speed limiter rulings that are due to be in effect in December 2017. The letter explains that implementing ELD and speed limiters will cost the industry $2.845 billion.

ELD is primarily used by companies who are managing large fleets of vehicles as a way to monitor their productivity. The letter, in part, stated “While we are adamant the ELD mandate must be repealed, we are also concerned by serious complications associated with its implementation, which is currently scheduled for December 2017. We understand many significant technological concerns remain unresolved, including the certification of devices, connectivity problems in remote areas of the country, cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the ability of law enforcement to access information. For example, ELD manufacturers are currently able to self-certify technology without validation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), creating vast uncertainty within the regulated community. This uncertainty has forced many of our members to delay the purchase and installation of ELDs until they can be guaranteed the technology will be compliant“.

In September 2016 the Obama Administration disregarded numerous highway studies that proved the use of speed limiters on heavy vehicles would make the roads less safe for all drivers and released a proposed rule that would make them mandatory. Experts warn that states with speed limits that exceed the maximum level proposed by FMCSA will see an increase in traffic accidents due to the extreme speed differences between automobiles and heavy vehicles. More trucks will be needed to move the same amount of goods which in turn leads to an increase in highway congestion.

The letter concluded by saying “President Trump’s desire to create a regulatory environment that enables businesses of all sizes to grow is commendable and welcomed. However, to do so this administration must eliminate the most egregious regulations developed under the haphazard, one-size-fits-all approach to rulemaking embraced by its predecessor.
The delay and removal of the ELD mandate, as well as the elimination of the proposed speed limiter rule, will provide immediate and overdue regulatory relief to a wide variety of industries, allowing them to devote greater resources to growth. Of all the regulations your department will consider repealing under the Executive Order, none will have a greater positive impact on American businesses than these two costly and burdensome rules. We encourage you to prioritize the ELD mandate and proposed speed limiter rule when identifying regulations for elimination”.  

Letter to Secretary of Transportation
(as reported by NITL)


February 27, 2017: PHMSA Issues Notice Regarding IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions

PHMSA has issued a notice to offerors and carriers of hazardous materials regarding the 2017-2018 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and Amendment 38-16 of the IMDG Code.
At this time, PHMSA has not made a final decision on whether or not it will be adopting the recent changes to the international standards. Until a decision has been made offerers and carriers will be permitted to use either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 standards for markings and labeling. The FAA, FRA, FMCSA, and PHMSA will be following this enforcement discretion until such time as this notice has been modified or rescinded.

PHMSAs Notice Regarding the IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions

December 21, 2016: (ANPRM) Volitility of Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials

The Attorney General of New York submitted a petition for rulemaking to The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requesting implementation of a Reid Vapor Pressure limit less than 9 pounds psi for crude oil transported by rail.
PHMSA is currently seeking comments on a range of vapor pressure thresholds and will evaluate the potential safety benefits of vapor pressure thresholds in regards to the hazardous materials classification process for both unrefined petroleum based products and Class 3 material liquids.
Interested parties will be able to submit comments, data, or relevant information between December 30, 2016 and February 28, 2017.

Hazardous Materials: Volatility of Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials


September 19, 2016: PHMSA and OSHA Clarify Requirements for Labeling Hazardous Chemicals for Bulk Shipments

In an effort to address questions posed by stakeholders regarding the labeling requirements of both agencies, PHMSA and OSHA have released a joint guidance that clarifies the applicability of their labeling requirements for hazardous chemicals. The two agencies are responsible for the enforcement of safety standards regarding hazardous chemicals in the United States.

Labeling of Hazardous Chemicals for Bulk Shipments Joint Guidance Memorandum

April 29, 2016: (FR) Hazardous Materials: Incorporation by Reference Edition Update for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and Transportation Systems for Liquids and Slurries: Pressure Piping Code

PHMSA has issued a direct final rule that will provide non-specification manufacturers and DOT and UN specification packaging manufactures with an opportunity to utilize the most current technology, materials, and practices to aid in maintaining a high level of safety.

The ASME reference standard 1998 edition will be replaced with the ASME standard 2015 edition for boiler and pressure vessels. The 1998 referenced standard of ASME’s Transportation Systems for Liquids and Slurries: Pressure Piping will be replaced with the 2012 edition. The rule will be effective as of June 28, 2016.

As permitted in the Administrative Procedure Act, PHMSA has issued the direct final rule without prior notice or public comments.

Docket No. PHMSA–2015–0271 (HM–261)

April 26, 2016: PHMSA Releases 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook

The updated 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is now available. The latest version of the ERG will include general updates, expanded sections, and now includes guide pages for absorbed gases.
PHMSA will be issuing free copies to firefighters, police departments, and emergency medical technicians. The mobile application of the 2016 ERG will be available later this spring.

2016 Emergency Response Guidebook ,

March 4, 2016: (FR) Smoking of Electronic Cigarettes On Commercial Aircraft

The Department of Transportation has extended its final rule on the smoking ban on passenger aircraft to include charter flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. The ban will also include the use of electronic cigarettes on any flight that also prohibits smoking. This final rule will become effective on April 4, 2016.

Docket No. DOT–OST–2011–0044 

November 13, 2015: PHMSA Denied Appeals on Tank Car Rule

PHMSA received six appeals in response to the new tank car standards that were published in May. Of those appeals, only five were reviewed. One was withdrawn and the others were submitted by DGAC, ACC, AAR, AFPM, Columbia River Treaty Tribes and Northwest Treaty Tribes.
One of the issues discussed in the appeals focuses on concern over the definition of HHFT. DGAC and ACC believe the new definition is entirely too broad and should be adjusted to only include railroad operations and not tank car specifications.
DGAC feels that the shippers and railroads will have no way of knowing if the tank cars they are offering to a carrier will be assembled into a manifest train that will meet the criteria of HHFT, which now has additional requirements to ensure the cars comply with the new standards. DGAC would also like the term and definition of HHFUT (high hazard flammable unit train) to  be eliminated because it is unnecessary and was not proposed in the NPRM. In addition, DGAC is also requesting the speed restrictions listed in the final rule only apply to crude oil and ethanol trains because imposing speed restrictions on all flammable liquid trains will create delays in rail operations.
American Chemistry Council (ACC) would like PHMSA to revise the final rule to clarify retrofitting existing tank cars only applies to those carrying ethanol or crude oil and not to those that carry other class 3 flammable liquids. ACC feels that by removing retrofitting requirements on Class 3 flammable liquids other than crude oil and ethanol would reduce the capacity issues facing shops and would also provide greater harmonization with Transport Canada’s analogous retrofit schedule.
American Association of Railroads (AAR) opposes the final rule because it allows shippers to load Class 3 flammable liquids in DOT-111 tank cars that don’t meet the new standards as long as those cars are not placed in an HHFT. This puts unnecessary burden on railroads as they have to continuously analyze each train that is carrying Class 3 flammable liquids in DOT-111 tank cars.  AAR is asking PHMSA to ban the use of DOT-111 tank cars from transporting all Class 3 flammable liquid materials.

PHMSA and FRA responded to the appeals stating that they disagree with the statements submitted in the appeals and feel the new rule was issued after careful consideration of comments submitted during the rulemaking process and the risks flammable liquids pose. Both agencies acknowledge that shippers and carriers are going to face new challenges regarding the new regulations but believe that by working together all parties should be able to comply with the final rule. The statement went on to say that both agencies feel that limiting the scope of rulemaking to include only crude oil and ethanol not only fails to align with the intent and applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations it is also short-sighted and could potentially lead to inconsistencies and safety concerns later on.
PHMSA has denied the request to remove the definition of HHFUT. The definition, while not expressly proposed in the NPRM, was developed based on the comments received on the NPRM and a careful cost analysis. PHMSA feels that the definition is within the scope of the NPRM proposal.
AAR feels that all tank cars transporting flammable materials should be retrofitted to DOT-117R requirements. Shippers feel that only those cars that transport crude oil or ethanol should be retrofitted. PHMSA feels the final rule is a balance between the two opinions. The rule requires retrofitting all tank cars in crude oil and ethanol service plus the 354 tank cars in PG III service by estimating roughly 10 percent of trains transporting PG III commodities might meet the HHFT definition, and thus, that 10 percent of the cars would require retrofitting.

Read the complete 89 page document:  Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0082 (HM-251)



November 2, 2015: Explosive Approvals – Compliance with Special Provision 347

During October 2014 PHMSA attempted to contact numerous explosive approval holders via letters delivered by certified mail. Each letter informed the approval holder that they were to submit their intentions regarding the approvals to PHMSA within 30 days. Each policy holder was informed that they could either provide evidence of UN 6(d) testing, request a reassignment of the EX number to a higher group, or request a termination. PHMSA has published the explosive approval numbers that they have not received any response from.

Docket No. PHMSA-2015-0209; Notice No. 15-21

July 22, 2015: FRA Reminds Railroads to Notify States When They Are Traveling Through With Crude Oil Trains

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a letter to railroads today reminding them that they are required to notify both the State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and the Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs) when traveling through individual states or tribal regions with Bakken crude oil trains.

The Federal Government issued an Emergency Order in May of 2014 that mandated railroads notify SERCs and/or TERCs when transporting 1,000,000 gallons(approximately 35 tank cars)  or more  of Bakken crude oil through individual states or tribal regions. In addition, railroads will also need to provide a volume estimate, the anticipated frequency of train traffic and the route the trains would be taking.
This Emergency Order further instructed the host railroads to provide contact information for at least one person. The FRA has since made this Emergency Order a permanent requirement.

The Acting FRA Administrator, Sara Feindburg, issued the following statement. “We strongly support transparency and public notification to the fullest extent possible. Railroads transporting crude oil must continue to provide the information required by the Emergency Order to SERCs and to update notifications in a timely manner. FRA will continue with random spot checks and regular compliance audits to ensure the states, local communities, and first responders have the information necessary to respond to a possible accident. FRA will take enforcement actions as necessary to ensure compliance.”

Federal Railroad Administration to Railroads: Notification of Crude Oil Trains to States Must Continue

June 12, 2015: (FR) NRC Publishes Final Rule to Update Regulations for Radioactive Materials

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has published the final rule updating its regulations on packaging and transporting radioactive materials in the United States. The final rule, which was developed in cooperation with DOT, will re-establish restrictions on those materials that would qualify for the fissile material exemption, clarifies requirements, updates administration procedures.
These changes will bring the United States domestic rules in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2009 standards for international transport.

Revisions to Transportation Safety Requirements and Harmonization with International Atomic Energy Agency Transportation Requirements

May 21, 2015: Notice of Action on Special Permit Applications

In accordance with The Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 107 subpart B) notice is hereby given in regards to the actions on special permits applications. The following modes of transportation involved are identified by a number in the “Nature of Application” portion of the table included in the original article is as follows:
1. Motor Vehicle
2. Rail Freight
3. Cargo Vessel
4. Cargo Aircraft Only
5. Passenger-Carrying Aircraft
Those application numbers that are prefixed with EE represent applications for Emergency Special Permits.

“Nature of Application”

May 14, 2015: Notice and Request for Comments

PHMSA is seeking comments on its plan to revise an information collection under OMB Control Number 2137-0628, “Flammable Hazardous Materials by Rail Transportation”. The new requirement would have tank car owners reporting their progress in retrofitting tank cars to the Department of Transportation. All comments are to be submitted before July 13, 2015.

Hazardous Materials: Information Collection Activities

May 1, 2015: (FR) DOT Releases the Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail

New Tank Car Rule: DOT117:

Standards for New and Existing Tank Cars Used in HHFTs

  • 9/16” normalized TC 128 Steel (that’s 1/8 thicker than current standards for DOT111)
  • Full height head shields (current is ½ height)
  • Thermal protection and jackets (existing regulations do not require jackets or thermal protection)
  • Top fittings protection (not currently required by regulation but is required by CPC 1232)
  • Bottom Outlet Valve enhanced handle design to prevent opening during derailment

Retrofits & Phase-Outs:

  • Cars not meeting the DOT117 standard being used in ANY Flammable Liquid service must be retrofitted or phased out, including all legacy and CPC 1232 DOT111 and TC111 tank cars. They will be required to meet a “performance standard”
  • There will be retrofit/phase-out schedule which will prioritize the “least safe cars first” starting with crude oil, then ethanol.
  • New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015 are required to meet enhanced DOT Specification 117 design or performance criteria for use in an HHFT.
  • Existing tank cars must be retrofitted in accordance with the DOT-prescribed retrofit design or performance standard for use in an HHFT.
  • Retrofits must be completed based on a prescriptive retrofit schedule. The retrofit timeline focuses on two risk factors: the packing group, and differing types of DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank car.
  • A retrofit reporting requirement is triggered if consignees owning or leasing tank cars covered under this rulemaking do not meet the initial retrofit milestone.
  • The Canadian schedule is slightly faster (by about 7 months) because of the smaller-sized fleets and previous commitments
  • Tank cars designated for Ethanol services are assigned a slower schedule for retrofit or phase-out.
  • *HHFT: High Hazard Flammable Train: High-hazard flammable trains” (HHFT) which means “a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through a train.

Reduced Operating Speeds:

  • Restrict all HHFTs to 50-mph in all areas.
  • Require HHFTs that contain any tank cars not meeting the enhanced tank car standards required by this rule operate at a 40-mph speed restriction in high-threat urban areas defined the Transportation Security Administration’s regulations at 49 CFR 1580.3.
  • Require HHFTs to have in place a functioning two-way EOT device or a DP braking system.
  • Require any high-hazard flammable unit train (HHFUT)1 transporting at least one PG I flammable liquid be operated with an ECP braking system by January 1, 2021.
  • Require all other HHFUTs be operated with an ECP braking system by May 1, 2023.
  • **HFFUT:  “high-hazard flammable unit train” (HHFUT) means a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling at greater than 30 mph.

More Accurate Classification of Unrefined Petroleum-Based Products:

  • Document sampling and testing program for all unrefined petroleum-based products, such as crude oil.
  • Certify that programs are in place, document the testing and sampling program outcomes, and make information available to DOT personnel upon request.

Rail routing – Risk Assessment:

  • Railroads operating HHFTs would be required to perform a routing analysis that considers, at a minimum, 27 safety and security factors and select a route based on its findings. These planning requirements are prescribed in 49 CFR § 172.820.

Rail routing – Notification:

  • Ensures that railroads notify State and/or regional fusion centers, and that State, local and tribal officials who contact a railroad to discuss routing decisions are provided appropriate contact information for the railroad in order to request information related to the routing of hazardous materials through their jurisdictions.

For more information, please review the entire Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail, the Summary developed by DOT, and DOTs Press Release.

Please contact us if we can answer any questions for you on this latest rulemaking. (844) 88-STARS or (844) 887-8277;

April 27, 2015: PHMSA Issues Announcement on Preemptive Determination

PHMSA has issued an announcement stating that due to the fact that additional time is needed in order to conduct a fact finding and legal analysis on requirements for hazardous materials permits for New York City and Pittsburgh it would be unfair to issue a decision within the usual time period of 180 days. As a result, the decision will be delayed an additional 120 days.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) filed the applications for preemptive determination. The NYC application dealt with the rules issued by the NYC Fire Department that require permits in order to transport certain hazardous materials by motor vehicle, transshipments and a fee for the permit.  A similar permit was filed in Pittsburgh.

PHMSA putting hazmat preemption requests on slow track



ATA Files Petitions for Haz-Mat Exemptions

April 29, 2015: (SA) Hazardous Materials Safety Advisory – Unauthorized Certification of Compressed Gas Cylinders

PHMSA has issued a safety advisory concerning Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc., also known as Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supply, Inc., located in Brooklyn New York. Liberty Industrial marked ICC, DOT Specification and DOT Special Permit high pressure compressed gas cylinders as authorized for hazardous materials transportation. They did not, however, properly test the cylinders and do not have authorization to do so.

If any of these cylinders have been taken or received from Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies any time between April 1998 and October 2014 they may not have been tested properly as required by the HMR. They are not authorized for filling of hazardous materials until they have been properly tested by an  individual or company who has been authorized to re-qualify DOT Specification and DOT Special Permit cylinders.

Cylinders described in this safety advisory notice that are filled with atmospheric gas should be vented or otherwise safely discharged. Cylinders that are filled with a material other than an atmospheric gas should not be vented but instead should be safely discharged.

List of Authorized Re-Qualifiers


Hazardous Materials: Safety Advisory-Unauthorized Certification of Compressed Gas Cylinders


April 29, 2015: Current Listing of Designated and Restricted Routes for Hazardous Materials

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have issued a notice that contains the current National Hazardous Materials Route Registry (NHMRR). The NHMRR is a complete list, as reported by both the State and Tribal Government routing officials, of designated and restricted road/highway routes for the transportation of highway route controlled quantities (HRCQ) of Class 7 materials (RAM) and non-radioactive hazardous materials (NRHMs).
The current list contained in this notice will supersede the NHMRR that was published on July 14, 2014.

National Hazardous Materials Route Registry

HAZMAT Endorsement (HME)

The TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) Threat Assessment Program (HTAP) was designed to meet the requirements set forth in the USA Patriot Act, which requires all states to ensure that any driver who intends to transport hazardous materials in commerce has been determined not to be a security risk. Part of that investigation process into a potential hazmat driver shall include a criminal history check, verification of legal status and review of any relevant international databases.

Do you need to obtain, renew or transfer an HME on your CDL? Don't forget TSA requires you to begin the application process no less than 30 days prior to the expiration date listed on your CDL.

For more information, you can contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. STARS does not offer fingerprinting services or HazMat Endorsement Services but we can help you find the information you need.


January 1, 2015: (FR) HM-215M: Harmonization Rule Available for Advanced Review

Although the HM-215M harmonization final rule is not going to be published until January 8, 2015 the rule is available for review and use on the Federal Register website. The effective date for both the provisions in the rule and the incorporation by reference material is January 1, 2015. The delayed compliance date is January 1, 2016.

PHMSA has incorporated various amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations in order to maintain alignment with international standards. The amendments include changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packing authorizations, air transport quality limitations, and vessel stowage requirements.