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GAO says proposed wetlines rule not supported by data

The GAO found that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) incident data cannot be used to reliably identify risks from incidents involving collisions with wetlines under tank trailers. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

9/12/2013

ARLINGTON, Va.— A proposed rule dealing with the risk of accidents involving wetlines under tankers got essentially a thumbs down from the Government Accountability Office yesterday.

Consequently, the president of the National Truck Tank Carriers (NTTC) asked that the proposed rule (HM-213D) be withdrawn.

The wetlines study for Congress was mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in July 2012.

“The GAO found that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) incident data cannot be used to reliably identify risks from incidents involving collisions with wetlines under tank trailers,” stated a release on the subject issued by the American Trucking Associations.

The report also indicated that incidents used in the rationalization of the proposed rule “were not specifically identified within PHMSA’s database and that the data itself also contained inaccuracies,” according to ATA.

“I am extremely pleased with GAO’s findings given its significance to the tank truck industry,” said Daniel R. Furth, NTTC president.

“Based on this study, I now urge PHMSA to withdraw HM-213D and allow the carrier and enforcement communities to collectively focus their talents and resources on legitimate safety concerns. …”

Furth commended ATA, the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA), the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and several congressmen in helping fight the proposed rule.

GAO findings within its review included the following: (1) GAO could not accurately reproduce PHMSA’s analysis of which incidents were true wetlines incidents and which were not; (2) PHMSA’s cost-benefit analysis inaccurately portrayed to consequences of wetlines incidents; and (3) accordingly, PHMSA’s analysis may not accurately represent the costs and benefits of the proposed rule.

The GAO recommended that PHMSA improve its data collection processes to remove uncertainty in its reporting.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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