Tractor trailer security and highway transport
| 06.19.2006 | 09:02:01 | Views: 3195 | ID:
June 20 '06: New legislation in the House would look into securing the more than 5 million shipments of cargo made every day on the nation's interstate system using tractor trailers in the hopes of preventing terrorists from using the trucks as a means to ship weapons of mass destruction, or other harmful substances according to a press release from Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. During a hearing last week, lawmakers held an Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cyber Security subcommittee hearing to discuss the Screening Applied Fairly and Equitably to Truckers Act of 2006 (SAFE). The legislation's goal would be to "reform current, inefficient hazmat program at (Transportation Security Administration) TSA, which screens every trucker," for hazardous materials, regardless of the material they are hauling.
Harman's press release said the legislation would alleviate "an unnecessary burden on our nation's truckers and on TSA by focusing on the most intensive background checks on those hauling the materials that pose the greatest risk, without compromising security." Security screening efforts are "hampered" by current laws requiring shipping companies to screen their trucks even "if they carry innocuous material like soft drink syrup, nail polish remover or dish detergent."Other efforts to secure highway transportation include Highway Watch, an organization which includes "infrastructure construction, maintenance and operations personnel workers, commercial and public truck and bus drivers, truck drivers, transit personnel ... and other highway sector professionals." Highway Watch also includes a program called School Bus Watch "which is specifically targeted to the needs of school bus drivers." Both programs work with the Department of Homeland Security and, by extension, the TSA. The programs are comprised of three major programs which inlcude: The Training, Recruitment and Outreach of participants in the program; The Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center; and the Emergency Planning and Education Center. Aspects of the SAFE Truckers Act of 2006 include the reviewing the list of crimes which would render a driver ineligible to operate a hazardous truck load; the creation of a task force that would "review all Federal government vetting and clearances with the goal of creating a Federal government-wide tiered-system for background checks to reduce redundancy"; and a review of the rules and regulations of shipping hazardous materials and safety issue concerns like terrorist attacks, deaths and hijackings.
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