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Trucking Dangerous Goods

Posted June 11, 2013

We live in a very mobile society and without the means to transport goods across the country our economic health would suffer greatly. An excellent example of this is heating oil. Without access to sufficient supplies of these chemicals could easily result in the deaths of thousands during a hard winter storm.

 

The problem is that many of the production facilities for these fuels are located mostly in the south and southwest regions of the country. One solution would be to build pipelines across the landscape but that would increase the chances of leaks that could contaminate the ground water. The best solution so far has been to use the trucking industry to move these chemicals. But trucking dangerous goods has its own problems.

 

Hazmat transport has come a long way since the time when leaking tankers plied the highways. Before they can engage in chemical transport they must be using trucks that meet the regulations. These trucks not only protect against leaks while shipping dangerous goods, but also prevent the release of dangerous fumes when the vehicle is loading or unloading.

 

But chemicals are not the only dangerous goods that are transported on the highways. During the last 40 years the industry has recognized the serious problems presented by transporting medical waste, some of which is either radioactive or contains communicable disease. Some of these diseases can live in the open air for weeks or months and radioactive materials can linger for years and even decades, posing health risks for any communities that the truck is passing through.

 

One of the largest problems currently being faced in this area is the huge amount of deregulation that is currently happening in North America. The theory is that regulation is “burdensome” to companies and that they will regulate themselves. But anyone who remembers those leaky tankers roaming the highways 50 years ago knows that self-regulation is little more than a pipe dream and without it we could easily return to those days.