DG Digest: PHMSA to formally announce HM-263, a sharp change in the way rail carriers track and report hazmat in transport.

PHMSA announced but has not yet had published a proposed rule that will, if enacted, change reporting requirements for some hazardous materials carrying trains. A Union Pacific train rolls through Sumner, Washington in August of 2022. Photo © 8/2022 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Heading towards the Independence Day holiday, the regulatory news is mostly about reporting requirements. The recent large train derailment in Ohio has definitely energized Congress and regulators to take a harder look at what kind of information should be available to emergency response personnel from subject carriers. Here’s the latest:


In an early notice that has not yet appeared in the Federal Register, the agency announced it intends to propose a new rule that would, if enacted, require changes in the way that rail carriers track and report to emergency responders’ information about hazardous materials being transported in their train consists. Rail carriers would also have to proactively provide such information to local first responder agencies in the event of an incident. The new proposed rule is designated HM-263. We’ll provide a reminder when the NPRM is actually published, but get your sneak peek here:

HM-263 NPRM – Real Time Train Consist June 2023.pdf (dot.gov)  

The agency also published an ICR renewal that continues the requirement for carriers to file hazardous incident reports for qualifying occurrences (per 49 CFR 171.15/16). Such reports help inform the agency about present trends in safety and response needs.  See the ICR here:

2023-13097.pdf (govinfo.gov)


The agency published ICR renewals related to automated driving systems for commercial motor vehicles and training requirements for entry level CMV drivers. See the two ICR’s at the links below:

Automated vehicles: 2023-13366.pdf (govinfo.gov)

Training:  2023-13365.pdf (govinfo.gov)

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