DG Digest: ICAO corrigendum, FAA/PHMSA plan virtual joint meeting, and EPA asks for comments on existing regulations

The FRA is implementing new fee structures for citations involving safety and hazardous materials transport issues. Meanwhile, the FMCSA is scheduling meetings to explore the growing technology of autonomous trucks. Passenger and freight trains meet a (drivered) truck in Auburn, Washington on April 12th, 2017. Photo © 4/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Welcome to another new week!  Hopefully everyone had a chance to enjoy the spring holiday season and perhaps see a certain bunny hopping by.  The holiday slowdown did impact regulatory activity for the week, which was a little lighter than usual.  Here’s the rundown:


The week’s biggest news was probably the issuance of a new corrigendum for the 2017 – 2018 ICAO Technical Instructions—that’s the UN set of rules for shipping dangerous goods by air incorporated by reference  in the 49 CFR (see 49 CFR 1717.7 for a full list of such incorporations) and that the IATA DGR is based on.  Expect to see a corresponding issuance by IATA for its publication in the near future.  The new issuance is relatively minor in nature, correcting a number of typographical errors, reference assignments, and other errata.  One more prominent change is an update to the packaging permissions in PI 967, which governs Lithium Ion (or polymer) batteries contained in equipment.  See the corrigendum here

FAA/PHMSA Joint Meeting

The two agencies announced their joint plan for a “virtual public meeting” which will address issues pertinent to the upcoming ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel which will be held April 24 – 28 in Montreal, Canada.  Among other issues on the ICAO radar: the new training competencies and, inevitably, lithium batteries.   The FAA/PHMSA “pre-meeting” will be held via Webex on April 20thHere’s your way in


The EPA issued a “request for comment” pertaining to its new effort to evaluate existing regulations for potential change, streamlining, or withdrawal; this in consonance with the Trump Administration’s drive to reduce federal impact to some sectors of business and industry.  See something you don’t care for?  You have until May 15th to make your feelings known.  EPA requests that any commentary include factual information about how and why any change suggested would fit the President’s directive.  Here’s your portal to contribute


The agency finalized the new financial penalty rates to be assessed rail operators for citations involving a wide range of activities, including the transport of hazardous materials.  The new rates also impact citations involving general safety issues as well as specific orders for both freight and passenger operations.  The new rates are effective as of April 13th.  See the revision here


The nation’s highway safety agency will be holding a series of public “listening sessions” involving the coming emergence of “autonomous commercial vehicles” – read “self-driving trucks” in order to determine public concerns and interests in the subject.  This is an area that could have real impact to both shippers and carriers of dangerous goods, so if you’re interested in contributing your voice during the development of this new technology, these meetings will offer you a chance.  Here’s the portal

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