The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is amending its Hazardous Materials Safety Permits (HMSP) regulations to reflect changes in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Out-of-Service criteria for inspections of shipments of transuranic waste and highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive material.


The update to the regulations will take effect Feb. 21.


Currently, FMCSA regulations reference the April 1, 2019, edition of the CVSA handbook regarding transuranic waste and highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive material. The update will reflect changes published on April 1, 2021, by CVSA.

The FMCSA said there are 21 updates that distinguish the 2021 edition from the 2019 edition of the handbook, and most of the changes are to clarify or provide additional guidance to inspectors regarding uniform implementation and application of the out-of-service criteria, and none is expected to affect the number of out-of-service violations cited during Level VI inspections.

Additionally, the incorporation of the 2021 edition does not change what constitutes a violation of FMCSA regulations, the agency says.


What is the Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Program (HMSP)?

In support of the mission of FMCSA to improve truck and bus safety on our nation’s highways, on January 1, 2005, the Agency initiated the Federal Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Program for intrastate, interstate, and foreign motor carriers transporting certain types and amounts of hazardous materials.

These carriers must maintain a certain level of safety in their operations and certify they have programs in place as required by the Hazardous Materials Regulations and the HM Permit regulations.


How do I apply for a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit?

Carriers would file the MCS-150B form to start the application process. A carrier that does not have a USDOT Number will receive one by filing the MCS-150B. Hard copies of the MCS-150B are available through each FMCSA Division Office or you can also register online.


What Counts a Hazardous Material?

The definition of HAZARDOUS MATERIALS by the FMCSA includes materials designated by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation as posing an unreasonable threat to the public and the environment.

The term “Hazardous Materials” includes all of the following:

  • Hazardous Substances,
  • Hazardous Wastes,
  • Marine Pollutants,
  • Elevated Temperature Material
  • Materials identified in 172.101
  • Materials meeting the definitions contained in Part 173

For a full list of materials and regulations, please visit the FMCSA website.


What is Required to obtain and Keep a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit?

Carriers will be required to:

  • Maintain a “satisfactory” safety rating in order to obtain and hold a safety permit
  • Maintain their crash rating, and their driver, vehicle, hazardous materials or out-of-service rating so they are not in the worse 30 percent of the national average as indicated in FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS)
  • Have a satisfactory security program (according to section 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart I) and associated training (according to section 49 CFR 172.704(a)(4) & (a)(5)) in place
  • Maintain registration with PHMSA
  • Develop a system of communication that will enable the vehicle operator to contact the motor carrier during the course of transportation and maintain records of these communications
  • Have written route plan required for radioactive materials set forth in 49 CFR 397.101 and for explosives in Part 397.19 (currently required)
  • Perform a pre-trip inspection (North American Standard (NAS) Level VI Inspection Program for Radioactive Shipments) for shipments containing highway route controlled Class 7 (radioactive) materials

There will be a process for issuing temporary safety permits, revoking and suspending a safety permit, and appealing decisions to suspend or revoke a safety permit.


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