DOT bans motor carrier
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday ordered J&A Transportation of New Jersey to shut down operations because it posed a threat to public safety.
The agency, part of the Department of Transportation, placed J&A out of service after multiple hours-of-service, driver and vehicle maintenance violations were discovered during roadside inspections.
FMCSA found the trucking company continued to operate without an active USDOT number and valid operating authority. Investigators also discovered the company operated vehicles that had serious mechanical defects, and were not regularly inspected and repaired. In addition to exceeding legal limits on driving time, many drivers were not qualified to drive commercial vehicles.
Less than two weeks ago, the FMCSA shut down Utah-based Reliable Transportation Services because it had drivers that violated hours-of-service regulations and operated behind the wheel with suspended or revoked commercial driver's licenses, didn't test drivers for drug and alcohol use, violated vehicle maintenance regulations, transported hazardous material loads with a valid federal registration and had a high number of recent crashes.
“Safety is our top priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation,” Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Commercial truck companies whose disregard of the law places the traveling public at risk will not be allowed to operate on our nation’s highways.” - Eric Kulisch
FDA Commissioner tours Savannah port
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg visited the Port of Savannah Monday and received an update on how inspectors check for unsafe products.
She was accompanied by Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Ga.
“This year, we expect that nearly 20 million shipments of food, devices, drugs, and cosmetics will arrive at U.S. ports of entry. Just a decade ago, that number was closer to 6 million, and a decade before only a fraction of that. I am coming to the port in Savannah to demonstrate how we can work together to both protect the public and support the growth of the port and the economic benefits it brings,” she said.
The FDA is collaborating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) for Import Safety to leverage its resources and use more sophisticated data analysis to prioritize which shipments to inspect.
Specialists from several agencies are housed at the CTAC to coordinate analysis and compliance exams of imports that pose a potential safety hazard. - Eric Kulisch
DOT clarifies rule on corrosion tests for hazmat loads
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has claimed victory in a dispute with the U.S. Department of Transportation over the use of live rabbits to test the corrosive level of hazardous materials being transported.
DOT in January 2011 changed its rules to allow the use of several non-animal testing methods, but PETA complained that DOT didn't do a good job informing transportation companies about the change. DOT has updated its Website to show companies that they can use test tube skin corrosion test methods.
In animal corrosion tests, rabbits' backs are shaved and chemicals are applied to their raw skin and left there for up to two weeks. PETA claims the chemicals often burn the skin, but the rabbits are given no pain relief. After the test is finished, the rabbits are killed.
Newer non-animal methods that use reconstructed human-skin models allow for more accurate and complete assessments of potential skin damage than are obtained by using rabbits. Besides the pain and distress inflicted on the rabbits who are used in such tests, evidence shows the animal tests do not accurately measure whether a substance is likely to damage human skin, according to PETA. - Eric Kulisch