The Teamsters Union said Monday that it supports legislation to ban the transportation of flammable liquid in the loading lines of tank trucks. Currently, 30 to 50 gallons of flammable liquid such as fuel can be transported in unprotected loading lines beneath tank trucks.
On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board had reported on a recent highway accident in New Jersey in which an automobile crashed into a tank truck and the subsequent fire killed the car driver. The NTSB concluded that the fire probably wouldn’t have erupted if the loading lines had been empty. There have been 184 accidents over the past 10 years in which loading lines were damaged or ruptured.
The House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials held a hearing today on the Hazardous Material Transportation Safety Act of 2009, H.R. 4016, which prohibits transportation of certain flammable liquids in loading lines of new tank trucks.
LaMont Byrd, Teamsters director of Safety and Health, said the requirement would be worth the cost -- $2,000 to $4,000 on vehicles worth $80,000 to $100,000 – for equipment to purge the loading lines, known as “wet lines.”
“It is clear that these wet lines present a real danger when tank haul trucks are involved in accidents to not only the traveling public, but to the drivers of these vehicles,” Byrd said.
The Teamsters represent 11,000 drivers in the tank haul industry.
The Teamsters also support legislation requiring lithium batteries on cargo airplanes to be stowed where the crew can reach them. Lithium cells and batteries can ignite on an airplane.
“Limiting stowage to crew-accessible locations is essential to protecting the crewmembers from certain disaster should a fire occur onboard the aircraft,” Byrd said.
Teamsters represent 2550 air cargo pilots at 15 cargo airlines.
The Teamsters also support element of the bill including hazardous materials training for workers and continuation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration authority to protect transportation workers who move hazardous material.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.