The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration this week issued rules long wanted by intermodal trucking companies that make the owners/providers of intermodal equipment responsible for their safety on the road.

Enactment of these chassis "Roadability" mandates has been the top priority for the American Trucking Associations' Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference.

As a result of this rulemaking, ocean carriers, railroads, chassis pool operators and other Intermodal Equipment Providers will for the first time be subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Specifically, as mandated by section 4118 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the regulations will require IEPs to:
* Establish a systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance program to ensure the safe operating condition of each intermodal container chassis;
* Maintain documentation of the program;
* Display the USDOT Number, or other unique identifier, on each intermodal container chassis offered for transportation in interstate commerce;
* Provide a means to effectively respond to driver and motor carrier reports about intermodal container chassis mechanical defects and deficiencies; and,
* Ensure that intermodal chassis are roadable before the equipment is made available to the driver for transport.

Intermodal equipment providers will be subject to on-site reviews to ensure compliance with the new rules. Penalties for violating these rules range from civil fines to a prohibition on providing or operating intermodal equipment found to pose an imminent hazard.