Feds relax regs for trucks hauling explosives

Truck drivers hauling hazardous materials such as explosives would face fewer regulations under new rules from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The new rules could also save the industry more than $16 million each year.

The PHMSA announced Monday it is looking to relax the safety requirements for certain multi-purpose bulk trucks that transport explosives used in blasting operations, such as ammonium nitrates.

Currently, these trucks apply for special permits each year, but the proposed rules would eliminate the need for future renewal requests for trucks with good safety records. The changes come at the request of industry groups and would essentially eliminate what PHMSA considers unnecessary paperwork requirements.

The PHMSA said the changes to the hazardous materials regulations would provide trucks with "regulatory relief" while still providing an adequate level of safety for the public.

"We believe the net benefits of these proposals will be attractive to the explosives industry as it will allow them to do business in a faster manner, and consequently provide significant cost savings," PHMSA wrote in the Federal Register.

But the new rules would also require these trucks to install fire suppression systems to alleviate the risk of a disaster, which the agency estimates will lead to a one-time industry cost of more than $9 million.