Hazardous Materials Transportation Security: Highway and Rail Modes

CRS Report for Congress
Hazardous Materials
Transportation Security:
Highway and Rail Modes
April 6, 2005
David Randall Peterman
Analyst in Science and Technology
Resources, Science, and Industry Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Note: Paul Rothberg, who has retired from CRS, is the author of this report. Randy
Peterman is the CRS analyst who currently handles issues covered by this report.

Hazardous Materials Transportation Security: Highway
and Rail Modes
Hundreds of thousands of trucks and railroad tank cars transport tons of
hazardous materials (hazmat) daily. There is virtually an unlimited number of ways
that these shipments are at risk from attack by terrorists. By implementing a
“layered” system of measures affecting shippers, carriers, and drivers, many in the
public and private sectors seek to reduce associated security risks. This system
involves incident prevention, preparedness, and response. A major challenge is to
increase cost effectively the security of these shipments, especially those that pose
the most danger to the public, while still meeting, to the extent possible, the
transportation requirements of commerce. The 109th Congress is considering
legislation, such as H.R. 3, H.R. 153, H.R. 909, H.R. 1109, and H.R. 1414, and S.

230, which includes provisions intended to promote hazmat transportation security.

The Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Homeland Security (DHS) have
taken numerous actions to enhance the security of hazmat transportation. For
example, DOT requires shippers and carriers to implement security plans regarding
specified hazmat transportation. DOT grants encourage states to conduct inspections
of trucks transporting hazmat. Also, DOT has contacted thousands of companies
seeking to improve their security programs, and also has established communication
links with industry. DHS conveys threat information to law enforcement and
industry, and conducts vulnerability assessments. DHS administers a grant that
provides training and the communications infrastructure which facilitates truck
drivers and others to report safety and potential security concerns. DHS seeks to
determine whether commercial drivers pose a security threat necessitating denial of
their hazmat endorsement on their commercial drivers licenses. Despite these efforts,
there remain many vulnerabilities in the current layered system of hazmat
transportation security measures. At a cost, much more could be done to expand the
scope, strengthen the rigor, and accelerate the pace of the federal role in this area.
H.R. 153 and H.R. 1109 include a provision that would require the DHS to
prepare a vulnerability assessment of freight rail transportation and to identify
security risks that are specific to the transportation of hazmats by rail. H.R. 153
would provide grants to address threats pertaining to the security of hazmat
transportation by rail. H.R. 909 would establish a research program intended to
advance security measures for hazmat transportation. H.R. 3, which the House has
passed, includes a provision intended to ensure that Mexican- and Canadian-
domiciled truck drivers transporting specified hazmat loads in the United States are
subject to a background check similar to that required of U.S. drivers. Other options
include increased security awareness training for state truck inspectors and certain
employees of truck leasing companies, and requiring enhanced security plans and
communication systems for carriers of high hazard materials shipments beyond those
now required. Each of these options poses costs that need to be evaluated within the
context of other investments. This report deals only with hazmat security in surface
transportation and will not be updated.

The Challenge and Reality...........................................1
In troduction ..................................................1
Theory and Reality ............................................2
The Theory...............................................2
The Reality...............................................2
Survey of Illustrative DOT and DHS Activities ..........................4
DOT Activities................................................4
DHS Activities................................................7
TSA and Hazmat Drivers.......................................11
Policy Issues Associated with Hazmat Transportation Security .............12
Adequacy or Impact of Some Federal Hazmat Transportation Security
Effort s .................................................12
FMCSA Activities........................................12
DHS Activities...........................................13
Limitations of Federal and State Inspector Resources.................15
Routing .....................................................16
Planning and Pre-Notification...................................17
Research ....................................................18
Policy Options and Legislative Initiatives .............................18
Policy Options...............................................18
Concluding Observation.......................................23
List of Tables
Table 1. Summary Status of DOT and DHS Efforts ......................3
Table 2. Options Intended to Enhance Hazmat Transportation Security with
Selected Advantages and Disadvantages...........................19
Clare Brigidini, of the Resources, Science, and Industry Division, provided editorial
and research assistance.

Hazardous Materials Transportation
Security: Highway and Rail Modes
The Challenge and Reality
Hundreds of thousands of trucks and rail tank cars transport tons of hazardous
materials (hazmat) daily. These cargoes have the potential to be instruments or
targets of terror. Hazmat shipments can be attacked or hijacked by terrorists.
Intercepted hazmat shipments that are poisonous, infectious, radioactive, flammable,
or explosive can be used to harm large groups of people. Also, hazmats can be
maliciously released to attack buildings and critical infrastructure. The Department
of Transportation (DOT) asserts that security threats specifically targeting hazmat
transportation are real and ongoing.1
The security of such shipments, especially those that can be used as weapons of
mass destruction, is attracting much attention by the transportation community,
governmental officials, emergency responders, and terrorists. Many in the public
and private sectors seek to reduce risk by establishing a “layered” or reinforcing
system of measures affecting companies, drivers, and shipments. This system
involves incident prevention, preparedness, and response. Inspection of commercial
drivers and vehicles, regulation of the security aspects of transportation operations
(including routing), security-oriented training of employees, and planning and
training for emergency response are key activities. A major challenge is to cost
effectively increase the security of these shipments, especially those that pose the
most danger to the public, while still meeting, to the extent possible, the
transportation requirements of commerce.
This report provides a general overview of hazmat transportation security and
focuses on the federal role. The report first summarizes an array of key governmental
activities that might be encompassed in a layered system of security enhancements.
This theoretical system is then compared to a summary of the status of current federal
governmental efforts. More specifically, the report outlines illustrative key actions
taken by the DOT and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to promote
hazmat security in surface transportation. The report then summarizes some
concerns associated with the federal effort in promoting hazmat transportation
security, specifically commenting on the adequacy of some DHS and DOT efforts,

1 DOT Docket No. RSPA -02-12064 (HM-232). Hazardous Materials Security
Requirements for Offerors and Transporters of Hazardous Materials. Final Rule. March 25,

2003; 68 FR 14510.

as well as routing, pre-notification, and research concerns. Finally, the report
presents ten options that might be considered to further strengthen hazmat
transportation security.
This report does not address private sector efforts to promote hazmat security,
and does not cover the special security measures associated with the transportation
of high-level nuclear shipments. Furthermore, this report deals only with hazmat
security in the rail and highway modes.
Theory and Reality
There is virtually an unlimited number of ways that the hazmat transportation
system is at risk from attack by terrorists. Rail track or signals can be sabotaged, tank
trucks and rail cars can be attacked, and poisonous gases can be released. Estimates
indicate that there are over one million hazmat shipments per day in the United
States. Simply put, there are too many points of vulnerability to ensure security
during hazmat transportation. Nevertheless, decision makers are asking: What is the
Federal Government doing to promote hazmat transportation security? What are the
shortcomings of the current security safeguards? Are the DOT and the DHS taking
prudent, timely, and cost effective measures to promote hazmat transportation
security? And, what other effective measures could these Departments implement
at a reasonable cost? This report provides insight into each of these areas of concern.
Instead of ensuring security, a “layered approach,” which marshals different
reinforcing measures to promote hazmat security, is gradually being deployed. This
system includes private sector initiatives underpinned or supplemented with
governmental efforts such as research, outreach, directives, advisories, and
regulations. This layered approach does not absolutely ensure security, but it
enhances security by marshaling different approaches.
The Theory. What are some key governmental components that might be
included in a layered system of security measures? In theory, initiatives that might
be implemented include in-depth and reliable background checks or security threat
assessments of drivers transporting certain loads of hazmat; special permits required
for carriers of high-hazard materials to ensure that they have achieved specified
levels of safety and security; effective and definitive security-oriented training
requirements for hazmat employees; and requirements for adequately enforced,
carefully designed security plans and procedures for certain hazmat transportation
operations. Such a system would be overseen by a cadre of federal and state
inspectors. Also, planning and training grants might be obligated to help prepare
emergency responders in case there is a release of hazmat. Grants to train and enable
the transportation community to alert officials to possible terrorist threats might also
be included in this theoretical system. Routing of high hazard shipments might be
designed to appropriately balance safety, security, emergency response, and
operational or logistical concerns.
The Reality. As discussed in detail in the next section and summarized in
Table 1 below, the DOT and DHS have taken numerous actions intended to increase
the security of specified hazmat shipments.

Table 1. Summary Status of DOT and DHS Efforts2
Security threat assessments of specifiedDHS administers. Initial process
commercial drivers, including in-depthimplemented, first cycle of fingerprint-based
background checkschecks likely to be completed during 2010,
evolving program, challenges remain
Special hazmat permits for certain carriersDOT requires for specified highway
carriers, but relatively new process
Security-oriented training regulationsDOT requires
Security plansDOT requires for specified hazmat carriers
and shippers, but specificity and criteria for
plans could be substantially enhanced
resulting in additional costs to some
Routing requirementsA variety of routing requirements exist, but
no comprehensive national routing system
for all hazmat shipments that requires
evaluations and tradeoffs of detailed safety,
security, logistics, and economic costs and
Grants to improve planning for andDOT administers
emergency response to hazmat releases
Grant to improve communications andDHS administers
reporting of safety and potential security
Comprehensive security-oriented auditsDOT’s primary emphasis remains on safety.
Compliance with DOT’s hazmat
transportation regulations pertaining to
security is now enforced primarily by DOT
personnel. DHS does not have permanent
field capability in this area dedicated full-
time to cargo inspection, but DHS does
conduct a few assessments of high risk
corridors in the rail mode.
Source: Congressional Research Service

2 Any driver, person, or regulated entity that might be subject to safety or security
regulations or directives (including those pertaining to hazmat transportation, chemical or
biological materials or agents determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services
or the Attorney General as being a threat to the national security of the United States), the
commercial drivers license, or the hazmat endorsement, should not rely on this report, but
instead should consult and follow official and current regulatory information or directives.

In sum, DOT and DHS have: administered millions of dollars of various types
of grants to assist state inspectors, industry, and emergency responders; spent
millions of dollars planning and implementing programs and issuing security-
oriented proposals or regulations; and required the transportation industry and
commercial hazmat drivers to spend much larger sums to comply with federal
requirements. Through these and other actions described in detail later in this report,
DOT and DHS, working with industry, are creating a layered system of security
measures. Whether the scope, rigor, and pace of these actions is adequate or not is
subject to debate.
Survey of Illustrative DOT and DHS Activities
DOT and DHS both have important responsibilities in promoting hazmat
transportation security. Presented below is a survey of illustrative DOT and DHS
activities. Although this discussion presents each of these department’s activities
under separate headings, it is important to remember that they do consult with each
other and seek to coordinate activities.
DOT Activities
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) states that the DOT
Secretary is to prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of
hazmats in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce. DOT maintains that
addressing security concerns should be part of an overall strategy to manage the risk
of hazmats during transportation. Different modal administrations in DOT have
conducted an array of activities to promote hazmat transportation security. Among
the most significant actions are DOT’s visits to thousands of hazmat carriers and
issuance of the security planning and training regulations and permit requirements
mentioned below. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administrations (PHMSA) are key participants in promoting the security of
hazmat transportation in the surface mode.3
FMCSA has influenced security efforts through direct contacts with industry,
enhanced regulatory requirements, grants to state motor carrier safety officers,
diverse training, and operational testing of security measures. For example, this
agency has conducted more than 37,000 visits to hazmat trucking companies to
provide technical assistance intended to enhance the security of their operations.
Since April 2003, FMCSA has conducted more than 850 security contact reviews
during which its specialists seek to determine whether a motor carrier’s security plan
and security training procedures comply with federal regulations. Enforcement
actions have resulted from these reviews. Furthermore, FMCSA requires trucking

3 Many of DOT’s hazmat responsibilities were previously conducted by the Research and
Special Programs Administration (RSPA). This agency within DOT no longer exists, and
RSPA’s hazmat responsibilities were transferred to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA).

companies transporting shipments of certain “highly” hazardous materials to obtain
a special hazmat safety permit.4 FMCSA has stated that the permit is needed because
certain highly hazardous materials, should they be released in crashes or attacked by
terrorists, would be more dangerous than some other hazmats. FMCSA also has
provided enforcement grants to border states to enhance inspection of hazmat
shipments entering the United States. Also, FMCSA sponsored an evaluation of a
variety of technologies intended to enhance security, e.g., systems to track trucks
transporting hazmats and ways to stop these vehicles in case of hijack. More
specifically, FMCSA supported an operational test involving about 100 trucks
equipped with an array of security-oriented technologies. This “on the road”
experiment assessed the costs and benefits of various security enhancing technologies
and communication systems to ascertain opportunities for further advances. Also,
this agency issued a “Guide to Developing an Effective Security Plan for the
Highway Transportation of Hazardous Materials,” which was developed by Battelle
and TotalSecurity.US.5
In addition, FMCSA has provided training to its safety specialists to increase
their knowledge of the federal transportation security regulations. This DOT modal
administration is also delivering a short course to police officers entitled “Trucks and
Terrorism.” The course is intended to help police officers recognize a suspicious
activity pertaining to a trucking operation, (e.g., shipping oranges into Florida during
their orange harvesting season), or a suspicious action of a driver that may indicate
a terrorist intent. FMCSA has developed an extensive communications/notification
system, as well, that reaches hundreds of thousands of drivers and thousands of
companies regarding possible security threats and other security-related information.
FMCSA has warned industry of heightened security situations and provides alerts
regarding specific vehicles or shipments.
DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA),
formerly part of the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), requires
each regulated entity (person or company) which offers or transports in commerce
specified hazmats to develop and implement security plans.6 Some in industry

4 For additional information see for example:
[ h t t p : / / www.f mcsa.dot .gov/ r ul esregs/f mc sr / f i n al / 04-14654_HazMat _ Saf e t y_Per mi t s .ht m]
FMCSA states a motor carrier must meet certain conditions to receive this special permit,
including “A motor carrier must have a satisfactory security program in place and must be
registered with [PHMSA]. A satisfactory security program consists of: (1) A security plan
as prescribed in 49 CFR part 172, subpart I; (2) a means of communication that will enable
the vehicle operator to contact the motor carrier during the course of transportation; and (3)
a means of providing hazardous materials employees with security training as required in

49 CFR part 172.”

5 [http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetyprogs/hm/Security_Plan_Guide.pdf]
6 According to PHMSA, the security plan must include an assessment of possible
transportation security risks for shipments of specified hazmats and appropriate measures
to address such risks. The plan must include various components, including measures: to
confirm job application information provided by specified employees, to “...address the

consider DOT’s rule on security plans to be overly broad in its applicability. Some
are concerned that DOT’s assessment of whether a company’s security plan meets
federal requirements is too subjective.7 This DOT regulation covers a wide array of
companies, including those offering or transporting a load of hazmat that needs to be
placarded. Thus this regulation covers much of the hazmat industry. According to
a spokesman, the DOT has chosen not to be too prescriptive in its security plan
regulation and instead, within the general framework of what is required, expects
each company to develop and implement appropriate measures tailored to its specific
operating conditions and commodities being transported.8
PHMSA also requires that security awareness training must be provided by a
specified date to all hazmat employees, and that employees of companies required
to prepare a security plan must receive training on the plan.9 (FMCSA, FRA, and
PHMSA inspectors are seeking to promote compliance with these regulations, and
state that they are bringing enforcement actions against companies that are not in
compliance with the security regulations.) Also, PHMSA has issued a framework for
risk management applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials. The
product, designated as the “Risk Management Self-Evaluation Framework
(RMSEF)”, is intended to help companies develop hazmat security plans.10 PHMSA
also administers a grant program that provides training to emergency responders
dealing with spills of hazmat.
Primarily as a result of industry efforts, underpinned by actions taken in
partnership with DHS and DOT, railroad security has tightened since 9/11. With
respect to hazmat transportation by rail, the FRA is participating in various
government and private sector efforts to conduct a review and security risk
assessment of hazmat shipments through various major metropolitan areas. FRA has

6 (...continued)
assessed risk that unauthorized persons may gain access to the hazardous materials covered
by the security plan or transport conveyances being prepared for transportation of the
hazardous materials covered by the security plan,” and to “...address the assessed security
risks of shipments of hazardous materials covered by the security plan en route from origin
to destination, including shipments stored incidental to movement.”
7 Personal communication with various hazmat industry officials, 2004.
8 Personal communication with DOT, 2005.
9 For example, a PHMSA regulation states that by a certain date: “...each hazmat employee
must receive training that provides an awareness of security risks associated with hazardous
materials transportation and methods designed to enhance transportation security. This
training must also include a component covering how to recognize and respond to possible
security threats. After March 25, 2003, new hazmat employees must receive the security
awareness training required by this paragraph within 90 days after employment.” Also, a
PHMSA regulation states: “By December 22, 2003, each hazmat employee of a person
required to have a security plan in accordance with subpart I of this part must be trained
concerning the security plan and its implementation. Security training must include company
security objectives, specific security procedures, employee responsibilities, actions to take
in the event of a security breach, and the organizational security structure.” For additional
information see for example: 49 CFR §172.704 Training requirements.
10 [http://hazmat.dot.gov/riskmgmt/rmsef/rmsef.htm]

provided technical advice to the DHS on tank cars and hazmat transportation. Also
FRA conducts hazmat training for first responders that deals with possible toxic
releases due to security or safety issues. FRA has participated in hazmat security
exercises that focused on response to terrorist strikes affecting all transportation
modes. In addition, FRA has conducted more than 1,200 inspections of shippers and
railroads to check for compliance with DOT’s hazmat security regulations. FRA’s
inspection and oversight of rail bridges and track have direct relevance to security
concerns. Also, FRA provides intelligence sharing with the railroads on security
DHS Activities
The DHS is the lead federal department concerned with promoting homeland
security. DHS activities are wide ranging and may directly or indirectly affect
transportation security in general, and sometimes hazmat transportation security in
particular. This Department seeks to reduce threats to transportation infrastructure
and operations and improve associated federal response to these threats. For
example, DHS conducts threat determinations, assesses vulnerabilities and risk, and
issues information warnings and advisories, as well as develops various security
plans and strategies. Also, DHS has issued a standardized management plan for
incident response. This Department operates the Homeland Security Operations
Center, which serves as the primary, national-level center for real-time threat
monitoring and situational awareness, domestic incident management, and related
information sharing efforts. DHS also runs the Homeland Security Information
Network-Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Program, which is a
communications and alert notifications link allowing federal, state, and local officials
to exchange information rapidly that pertains to all security issues, including hazmat
transportation security.
DHS also administers a multi-faceted research and development (R&D)
program focused on a broad range of security-oriented technologies or systems, some
of which have direct bearing on transportation of hazmats. Some areas of research
or technology development include technology to track hazmat shipments; improved
detection of nuclear materials; improved emergency response strategies; and
characterization and reduction of the vulnerability posed by toxic industrial materials
in transport. Sometimes DHS R&D is conducted in close cooperation with DOT.
For example, DHS and the FRA have supported research to examine how breaches
of tank cars caused by small arms fire might be detected.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the key agency within
DHS that affects transportation security. The Aviation and Transportation Security
Act provides this agency with broad responsibility and authority for security in all
modes of transportation, including the authority to develop policies and strategies
for dealing with threats to transportation security and to enforce security-related
regulations. TSA maintains that under this authority, it may “...identify a security
threat to a mode of transportation, develop a measure for dealing with that threat, and

enforce compliance with that measure.”11 DHS and DOT agree that they share
responsibility for hazmat transportation security. In a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) regarding broad transportation security responsibilities and communications,
DOT acknowledges that DHS has primary responsibility for transportation security,
and that DOT supports DHS by providing technical assistance and helping DHS with
its security policies, when possible. DOT retains statutory authority and
responsibility for such matters as transportation of hazmat (including security).
TSA’s primary emphasis has been on aviation security; with much less attention
and money directed at surface transportation concerns. Thus, in terms of resources
invested, TSA states that it “...has been unable to place the focus on hazmat
transportation security that is warranted.”12 TSA’s activities intended to promote
hazmat transportation security are not concentrated in one office, but are part of the
responsibility of several of its offices. TSA maintains that this structure is intended
to maximize resources and program effectiveness.
TSA uses a variety of different approaches seeking to improve the security of
hazmat shipments. These include planning, communications, research, and training
activities. One of TSA’s earlier planning activities was to develop a document called
the “Sector Specific Plan (SSP) for Transportation,” which is part of the broader
National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The SSP is intended to: (1) identify
participants in the transportation sector, their roles and relationships, and means of
communication; (2) identify critical transportation assets; (3) assess transportation
sector vulnerabilities and prioritize assets; (4) identify protective programs; (5)
measure security performance; and (6) prioritize research and development to
advance security technologies.13 Hazmat transportation security, however, is not
considered as a separate transportation activity under the SSP, but rather this area is
encompassed under various modal portions of the plan. For security and other
reasons, this draft plan has not been released to the public.
Some Members of Congress are particularly interested in vulnerability
assessments. Several bills introduced in the109th Congress, including H.R. 153 and
H.R. 1109, include provisions that would require the DHS to prepare a vulnerability
assessment of freight rail transportation and to identify security risks that are specific
to the transportation of hazmats by rail.
With respect to promoting hazmat security, TSA is involved in several
information-focused activities. For example, TSA routinely communicates with
industry representatives and state officials about security threats. Often on a weekly
basis, TSA has conducted numerous briefings for various stakeholders, including the

11 Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security. Hazardous
Materials: Enhancing Rail Transportation Security for Toxic Inhalation Hazard Materials:
Notices. Federal Register. August 16, 2004: 50989.
12 Written communication from TSA, 2005.
13 Statement of Stephen McHale, Deputy Administrator, TSA on Transportation Security
before the Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Border Security Select Committee on
Homeland Security, May 12, 2004,
[ h t t p : / / www.t s a.go v/ publ i c / d i s pl ay?t heme =47&cont ent = 09000519800a612f ] .

hazmat industry, to inform interested parties on relevant security activities and
TSA sponsors an array of outreach and training activities that are intended to
promote hazmat transportation security. For example, TSA/DHS has provided about
$41 million to the American Trucking Associations’ Highway Watch® Program.
This program trains truck drivers and various highway workers to identify and report
safety incidents and potential security threats that occur on roadways. Funds from
this program are also used to link transportation professionals with law enforcement,
first responders, and the intelligence community via TSA’s Transportation Security
Operations Center. Participants in this program report “...safety hazards and potential
terrorist-related activity in the transportation industry, providing a rich source of
threat-related human intelligence that is analyzed and channeled to law enforcement,
national security agencies, and industry.”14 Since June 2004, the Highway Watch®
Call Center has responded to more than 1,415 calls of which more than 200 were
reports of suspicious activity that “...could be construed as possible pre-operational
surveillance, probing or otherwise abnormal activity within the highway
community.”15 Highway Watch® has trained almost 50,000 participants from all
areas of the highway community and plans to train over 450,000 during 2005. The
Highway Watch® Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) issues “Be-On-
the-Look-Out (BOLO)” alerts, suspicious incident reports, various analytical reports,
and emergency traffic routing advisories.
TSA’s role in hazmat security is evolving and many of its efforts are conducted
with the direct support of, or in consultation with, the DOT. For example, on August
16, 2004, TSA and RSPA (now PHMSA) issued a request for comments and
information on the feasibility and impacts of initiating security enhancements
regarding rail shipments of toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) materials. Both agencies are
examining the need for possible “hardening” of aspects of the rail transportation
system for TIH materials and the costs and benefits of these measures.
For example, these agencies are considering whether to revise temporary storage
requirements applicable to rail tank cars transporting TIH materials; and whether to
require removal of identifying marks, names, stenciling, placards, or other content
indicators from rail tank cars used to transport TIH materials. An issue is whether
alternative means of hazard communication are practicable that would concurrently
promote safety, emergency response and security. Some fear that existing
communication requirements could help a terrorist or criminal identify a potential
target for harm; but many in the emergency response community want DOT to
continue to require its hazards communications system. TSA has sponsored a study
that bears on this issue.
Also, TSA and PHMSA are considering how the security plans pertaining to
TIH materials required by PHMSA might be improved, and whether and how

14 Written communication from the Highway Watch® Program, 2005.
15 Ibid.

specific criteria for these plans might be required to more adequately address security
risks. It remains uncertain what actions either TSA and/or PHMSA will take as a
result of this August 16, 2004 initiative and when such actions might occur.
This August 16, 2004 regulatory announcement suggests that TSA intends to
take a much more definitive role in promoting the security of these materials in the
rail mode. More specifically, “DOT and DHS’s focus on rail is only the first phase
in an interdepartmental multi phase effort to assess and secure the transportation of
TIH in all transportation modes to create an end-to-end secure TIH supply chain.”16
In addition, TSA was tasked by the Homeland Security Council to conduct rail-
corridor assessments in eight high threat areas. Experts from industry, FRA, and
others under TSA’s leadership conduct these analyses which typically include
vulnerability assessments, analysis of freight operations, and buffer zone protection
studies. As a result of this process, TSA provides recommendations to industry and
governmental officials in the corridor and tries to get cooperation and buy-in from
various stakeholders to implement the necessary improvements.17 TSA has
completed its assessment of the Washington, DC corridor, and states that it has made
progress on assessing corridors in Ohio and New Jersey. Based on discussions with
the railroad industry and TSA, DHS has not provided any direct funding to any
railroad to improve its security infrastructure in any of these corridors.18 TSA,
however, states that there have been security enhancements as a result of the rail
corridor assessments.
TSA also is managing a pilot project to test various truck tracking technologies
and plans to develop, test, and evaluate a prototype for a centralized truck tracking
center.19 Researchers plan to examine questions regarding the interoperability of
various technologies and the linking of various alerting and information systems
between a truck tracking center and a government intelligence center. TSA also
provided FMCSA with funds to help that agency formulate its hazmat carrier permit
program, which was previously mentioned. TSA is initiating a security awareness

16 Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security. Hazardous
Materials: Enhancing Rail Transportation Security for Toxic Inhalation Hazard Materials:
Notices. Federal Register August 16, 2004: 50989.
17 Personal communication with TSA, 2004.
18 Personal communications with TSA and railroad industry spokesman, 2005.
19 As specified in a solicitation issued in 2005, “The Transportation Security Administration
intends to competitively seek offers to accomplish the following: (1) Identify, test and
evaluate at least three technically different, but commercially available solutions to track
trucks in all 50 states; (2) Develop, test and evaluate a prototype for a centralized truck
tracking center; (3) Develop, test and evaluate a non-proprietary universal interface system
or set of protocols that will allow alerts and tracking information to be transmitted from all
commercially available tracking systems to a prototype truck tracking center; (4) Evaluate
the feasibility of utilizing the developed universal set of protocols or interface system to pass
truck tracking information between a truck tracking center and a 24-hour government
intelligence operations center; (5) Provide an independent analysis of the recommendations
and validate the results of (2), (3), and (4).”

program for the truck leasing/rental industry. One of the purposes of this effort
would be to increase the sensitivity of counter employees to possible security risks,
such as illegal transport of hazmat, posed by someone seeking to rent a truck with
terrorist intent.
Other parts of the DHS also affect various aspects of hazmat transportation
security. For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is installing
scanners that can detect radioactive materials as trucks drive out of marine terminals.
CBP also has issued a rule requiring advanced notification of cargo (including
chemical cargo) manifest data on specified shipments into and out of the country.20
The Office for Domestic Preparedness in DHS conducts planning activities and
provides training for those that might deal with a terrorist attack involving hazmat
TSA and Hazmat Drivers
TSA also assesses intelligence and other data seeking to identify persons who
pose a threat to transportation security. With cooperation from the states, TSA is
gradually implementing Section 1012 of the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56).
This provision seeks to reduce some of the security risks associated with hazmat
transportation by requiring a security threat assessment of drivers with a hazmat
endorsement on their commercial drivers license (CDL). This process, which
includes immigration and database checks, may deter a terrorist from obtaining or
keeping such an endorsement; nevertheless, the hazmat transportation system
remains vulnerable to attack. Members of Congress are overseeing implementation
of TSA’s program, reviewing its financial impacts, and deciding whether to explicitly
require in law a similar review of Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers
transporting specified hazmats into the United States. This provision is included in
H.R. 3, which the House passed.21
During 2004 TSA screened 2.7 million commercial drivers with a hazmat
endorsement by comparing drivers’ names and other information to those on a variety
of databases. These checks generated more than 100 leads that were sent to the FBI.
TSA recognizes that the reliability of this process will be improved by incorporating
a fingerprint-based criminal background check. For each of the next five years, TSA
will put roughly 1/5 of the commercial drivers seeking to renew, obtain, and in some
cases transfer, a hazmat endorsement through a more comprehensive threat
assessment process, including a fingerprint-based records review. This complex
process is underpinned by detailed federal regulations and state procedures that pose
costs or uncertainties for drivers or carriers. Through its adjudication process, TSA
will face the difficult task of quickly responding to many drivers appealing TSA’s

20 [http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import/communications_to_industry/advance_info/]
21 Section 4113 states: “No operator of a commercial motor vehicle (as defined in section
31101) licensed in Mexico or Canada may operate in the United States a commercial motor
vehicle transporting hazardous material until the operator has undergone a background
records check similar to the background records check required of operators of commercial
motor vehicles licensed in the United States to transport hazardous materials.”

initial decisions effectively denying their hazmat endorsement or seeking waivers
from program standards. TSA conducts name-based checks periodically of drivers
holding a hazmat endorsement on their license.
TSA and the states have faced many challenges in the development and
implementation of this initiative. The complete program was originally planned to
start in 2003, however, it was delayed several times. As of January 31, 2005, TSA
has not permitted a state to issue a new hazmat endorsement with a CDL until a
determination has been made that an applicant does not pose a security threat.
Starting May 31, 2005, this TSA rule also applies to drivers seeking either to renew
a CDL with this endorsement, or, in some cases, to transfer his/her license from one
state to another.
Policy Issues Associated with Hazmat
Transportation Security
There are several policy issues associated with the federal role in the security
of hazmat transportation. These include concerns regarding the adequacy or impact
of some federal hazmat transportation security efforts, limited inspector resources,
routing, and planning and pre-notification of shipments, and research related to
security technology.
Adequacy or Impact of Some Federal Hazmat Transportation
Security Efforts
Despite the efforts and accomplishments of the DOT and DHS that were noted
in the previous section, many vulnerabilities remain in the current layered system of
hazmat transportation security. As discussed below, some of the federal efforts to
promote security are just beginning to have an impact, and some of these impacts are
rather limited in reach or scope.
FMCSA Activities. Starting in early 2005, FMCSA began issuing hazmat
permits to carriers transporting specified high hazard materials. All carriers subject
to the hazmat safety permit requirements (e.g., 49 CFR 385.403) are required to go
through the permit process. Essentially, the first round of carriers should be
considered for the permit within approximately the next 21 months as they register
or renew their registration with FMCSA.22 As this occurs, FMCSA will issue
temporary permits and conduct compliance reviews on those carriers without a safety

22 FMCSA regulation states: “After the date following January 1, 2005, that a motor carrier
is required to file a Motor Carrier Identification Report Form (MCS-150) according to the
schedule set forth in Sec. 390.19(a) of this chapter, the motor carrier may not transport in
interstate or intrastate commerce any of the following hazardous materials, in the quantity
indicated for each, unless the motor carrier holds a safety permit...”

rating that meet other eligibility requirements for a hazmat permit. FMCSA’s review
is intended to check the compliance of these carriers with various FMCSA-issued
safety regulations as well as PHMSA-issued hazmat security regulations. During the
compliance review, FMCSA states that its safety specialists audit the certifications
made by industry as part of the permit application. Or, FMCSA will issue the hazmat
safety permit to those carriers with a satisfactory rating that otherwise meet the
requirements for the permit. As previously indicated, FMCSA has already reviewed
hundreds of hazmat carriers to check for their compliance with the PHMSA-issued
regulations prior to January 1, 2005.
It is difficult to assess the impact of FMCSA’s permit requirements on security
because so few carriers have actually obtained the permit to date. FMCSA expects
that eventually some 3,100 carriers will seek this permit. As of March 21, 2005,
about 180 carriers had received permits, while 125 applications were rejected.23 The
financial penalties that can result from enforcement cases based on FMCSA’s
compliance reviews plus the legal consequences of falsifying certifications required
to obtain the permit serve as two forces promoting compliance with PHMSA’s
security plan regulations. FMCSA maintains that increased security measures
required as part of the permit program reduces the chance that the high hazard
materials transported by the covered carriers could be used in a terrorist attack.
Although this statement may be true, compliance with current federal security
measures, which leave much discretion to industry regarding required measures to
be taken, could still leave considerable vulnerability to attack, and also do not
require constant 24/7 communications for high hazard shipments between a carrier
and the driver.24
DHS Activities. As previously noted, TSA’s role in hazmat transportation is
evolving. Not surprisingly, some of TSA’s efforts are just beginning to have an
impact. For example, the fingerprint-based, security threat assessment that TSA

23 Personal communication with FMCSA, 2005.
FMCSA states: “We are requiring companies holding safety permits to develop a
communications plan that allows for the periodic tracking of the shipment. This may be
accomplished either through phone calls or radio calls placed by the driver or through an
electronic monitoring or tracking system. At a minimum, the communication plan must
require contact from the driver or electronic tracking equipment at the beginning and end
of transportation (during loading or unloading of a permitted material) or at the beginning
and end of each duty period. If the driver is making the calls, he or she should make them
during periodic rests (taken for reasons other than making the call), or at the beginning and
end of each duty period while not operating the vehicle or obtaining necessary rest. If the
company has any reason to suspect the shipment has been stolen, diverted, or otherwise off-
route because of a lack or delay of contact from the [[Page 39353]] driver, or for other
reasons, then the company should contact the Transportation Security Administration's
(TSA) Transportation Security Coordination Center at (703) 563-3236 or (703) 563-3237.”
For additional details see DOT regulations, including [http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-
regulations/administration/rulemaki ngs/04-14654-hazmat-s afety-permits.htm] .

performs on CDL holders regarding their hazmat endorsement began in early 2005.
The actual impact of this process on hazmat transportation security is difficult to
determine, but most observers would agree that, at best, its impact will be rather
limited in the broader scheme. TSA’s threat assessment process may deter someone
who may be a terrorist from obtaining or keeping a hazmat endorsement. But that
person still can do harm using hazmats in transportation without first obtaining a
hazmat endorsement. The questions could be asked: Is a terrorist likely to acquire
or maintain a hazmat endorsement if they need to submit to a fingerprint check, an
immigration status check, a criminal background review, and multiple-database
name-only checks? Does the benefit of obtaining a hazmat endorsement overcome
the potential risk of being uncovered as a terrorist? TSA’s security threat assessment
process, however, is not intended or designed to address all the vulnerabilities in the
hazmat transportation system. In the war against terrorism, TSA’s threat assessment
process is viewed by some as a prudent measure, by others as a “feel good” measure;
it is generally recognized, however, that this investment is inherently limited in its
On the other hand, by not being able to obtain or keep such an endorsement,
easy access to some parts of the hazmat transportation system can be reduced, thus
making it more difficult to do harm. Also, TSA’s security threat process may make
it more difficult for a group of terrorists to organize a coordinated attack using
hazmat. Furthermore, TSA’s name-only based checks have generated more than 100
leads that were sent to the FBI, according to TSA.
The impact or reach of some of TSA’s other efforts to promote hazmat security
also is limited. To date, TSA has not issued a comprehensive set of regulations that
requires the various key components of the hazmat transportation industry (e.g., all
high hazard shippers and carriers) to implement a detailed system of security-oriented
measures that meets specified criteria beyond those now required by DOT. There is
little indication that the TSA plans to issue such comprehensive regulations, at least
in the near-term, although this agency, working with DOT, may first strengthen
requirements pertaining to TIH materials transported in the rail mode.
TSA notes that it has been working with the DOT on the issuance of certain
security directives and guidance documents that would be designed to address the
security risks associated with shipping and transporting certain types and quantities
of hazmat. TSA maintains that before the agency issues “...any regulations or adopt
standards for key components of the HAZMAT transportation industry, a detailed
risk assessment and identification of system vulnerabilities should take place. Doing
so will allow TSA to properly prioritize and focus their resources on those areas that25
are deemed to be most vulnerable and subject to terrorist acts.” It remains uncertain
when TSA will issue new security directives or guidance documents pertaining to
hazmat transportation security.
Also, DOT and DHS have not issued a final regulation that would result in a

25 Written communication from TSA, 2005.

national routing system governing all rail and highway hazmat shipments that
requires local or state jurisdictions to take into account and evaluate various safety
considerations, security risks, and logistical tradeoffs, and dictates specific routes and
security-based procedures. More importantly, there is not a consensus that there
should be such a routing system.26 For certain events often involving large numbers
of people, DHS states that it works cooperatively with industry to encourage
appropriate measures to reduce risk associated with certain hazmat shipments in the
impacted vicinity. For example, TSA may encourage industry to hold certain
shipments for several hours away from certain populated areas.
Limitations of Federal and State Inspector Resources
Limited federal and state inspection of hazmat shipments also poses security
concerns, especially in highly populated areas. Federal and state motor carrier
specialists and railroad inspectors primarily focus on promoting compliance with
applicable safety regulations. (In general, security problems can be much more
difficult to detect than safety problems.) Funding limitations for inspector resources
allow only a small percentage of the vehicles (tank trucks and tank cars) entering or
near heavily populated areas to be checked. Many safety/regulatory inspectors are
not equipped with the necessary technologies, e.g., radiation detection devices, that
would help detect some potential security risks. The increased use of technology
(e.g., radiation detectors) would enhance security, but there are associated costs.
Furthermore, based on discussions with various participants in the commercial
vehicle safety community, it appears that all inspectors funded by the Motor Carrier
Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) do not uniformly receive formal and detailed
training on hazmat transportation security concerns and appropriate interrogatory
techniques regarding this challenge. Nor are all state motor carrier inspectors trained
policemen with full law enforcement responsibilities and arrest powers. FMCSA
plans to conduct security awareness training for MCSAP personnel during FY2005.
Furthermore, TSA notes that in its FY2005 appropriations the agency was given the
authority to hire 100 inspectors primarily to promote security for passenger railroads.
TSA maintains that it has some flexibility to use these personnel to conduct some
cargo inspections as conditions arise.27 DHS states that it has allocated funds that
will be used to improve the security training of many groups, including state motor
carrier inspectors.
There are other limitations. Many truck inspections occur away from heavily
populated areas along the interstates. If more of these inspections occurred in highly
populated areas, the effectiveness of such inspections as a security measure might be
increased. Additional inspections of shipments in urban areas, although sometimes
difficult to conduct, might reduce security vulnerabilities, especially if trucks with
highly hazardous loads are found in locations that are not along intended delivery

26 En route security, however, must be considered in the DOT-required security plans.
27 Personnel communications with TSA, 2005.

The desire to enhance security has catalyzed renewed interest in the routing of
hazmat shipments, especially for rail shipments near or through heavily populated
areas.28 Some have voiced concern over the possibility of terrorists attacking or
hijacking shipments of chlorine and other hazmat. Federal, state, and local
government agencies are evaluating impacts on safety, interstate commerce,
transportation logistics, and security that would need to be considered as part of any
proposal to reroute certain high hazards shipments permanently away from such
locations. At least one jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, has enacted a law that
was intended to have the net effect of temporarily prohibiting the transportation of
certain hazmats through a part of its jurisdiction. While not an outright ban, the law
requires that, except in cases of emergency, it shall be illegal in a specified zone to
transport without a permit specified hazmat. The law authorizes the DC Department
of Transportation to issue such permits upon a determination that there is no practical
alternative route, which appears to be a stringent standard for review. This law has
been challenged in federal court.
Many in the freight railroad industry do not want to provide municipalities or
other local jurisdictions a definitive role in the routing of hazmat shipments. They
fear that such a change in policy would lead to a proliferation of ordinances, higher
transportation costs, and disruption of operations. There is concern that rerouting of
such shipments away from highly populated areas could adversely affect the safety
of less populated, remote communities; add trip miles for hazmat transporters;
require travel over routes that have lower quality rail transportation infrastructure;
encounter areas with less emergency response capability; or present other operational
challenges for carriers.
Questions have also been raised about the legal ability of state and local
jurisdictions to impose such restrictions on transportation. A CRS report states,
“Reviewing the relevant statues, including the Hazardous Materials Transportation
Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act, it would appear that state and local
governments may be preempted from enacting legislation that would prevent or
hinder the transportation of hazardous materials in interstate commerce.” This same
report also points out “...the Constitution’s dormant, or “negative” Commerce Clause
may also prevent a state or locality from imposing such a restriction as it could
arguably be seen as imposing an undue burden on interstate commerce.”29
On the other hand, some groups maintain that high hazard shipments which pose

28 H.R. 1414 calls for the DHS Secretary to issue regulations pertaining to the routing of
extremely hazardous materials through or near an area of concern. The bill requires the
DHS Secretary “...to determine whether or not the transportation could be made by one or
more alternate routes at lower security risk and, if the Secretary determines the
transportation could be made by an alternate route, the use of such alternate route, except
when the origination or destination of the shipment is located within the area of concern.”
29 CRS Report RS22041, Legal Issues Concerning State and Local Authority to Restrict the
Transportation of Hazardous Materials by Rail.

a distinct public health and safety threat ought to be permanently rerouted around
high-profile and high-casualty targets. A catastrophic event caused by a well placed
terrorist attack on certain high hazard shipments could kill thousands and endanger
hundreds of thousands of people. The argument has been made that the number of
rail cars to be rerouted is a relatively small number and that alternative train routes
can be used. Some hazmat shipments have been voluntarily rerouted away from
populated areas.
Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, maintains that little has been done
since September 11, 2001, to secure hazmat transportation from terrorist attacks.
This organization points out that the Bush Administration has not supported the
rerouting of trains transporting hazmat away from heavily populated areas. Public
Citizen maintains that train cars are particularly vulnerable to attack and that it is
unclear when DOT and DHS will finalize new regulations to strengthen security
affecting the rail mode. (This organization also maintains that “Government
monitoring of trucks carrying hazardous material remains weak.”30 Public Citizen
also asserts that there are major deficiencies in FMCSA’s hazmat permit regulation,
which was previously discussed.)
Planning and Pre-Notification
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that DHS and
DOT jointly develop a risk-based plan that addresses the security of the nation’s rail
infrastructure and establish time frames for implementing security actions necessary
to protect hazmat rail shipments. GAO recommended that in developing these plans,
these agencies should address how much information should be disclosed to local
communities regarding the types and quantities of hazmat passing through or stored
in transit in these communities.31
Some Members of Congress want to increase the information provided to
governmental entities. For example, S. 230 provides that “A State homeland security
coordinator may, up to 12 times in a 12-month period, request from a rail carrier a
comprehensive list of all hazardous materials scheduled to be transported through
such State during any 6-month period.” However, the bill specifies that “A railroad
carrier submitting a list under this section shall not be required to include on such list
information relating to the specific times, locations, or amounts of shipments of
hazardous materials.” Others assert that community officials and responders need
to know much more about the materials transported through or close to their
jurisdictions. On the other hand, opponents point out, with over an estimated one
million hazmat shipments daily, a general prenotification requirement would be
expensive, burdensome on industry, and an almost impossible task with so many
shipments passing through so many different jurisdictions each day. Some claim that
local responders would become overwhelmed with the quantity of information
regarding these hazmat shipments, and that current emergency response planning and

30 Public Citizen. Homeland Unsecured. October 2004. pp. 63-67.
31 GAO. Rail Safety and Security. April 2003. GAO-03–435. pp. 33-34.

training obviates the need for a universal pre-notification requirement.
Compared to many other areas of transportation security research and
development (R&D), it appears that relatively few federal dollars have been allocated
to advance hazmat transportation security. Successful R&D could yield lower cost
security systems and provide more effective technology to improve security.32 As
previously indicated, DOT has tested a variety of technologies to promote security,
including tracking technologies and communication systems. DHS also conducts
some research and pilot tests in this area. Additional research and testing might
include work on the breaching of different containers transporting hazmats, the spill
or dispersion patterns of different types of commodities, improved tracking and
communication technologies, and increased knowledge about how different
combinations of hazmats might react with each other and implications for security
countermeasures and response. Such research requires substantial funds, but it could
provide better information, strategies, and technologies to improve security and
emergency response.
Some Members of Congress are particularly interested in the area of research
and hazmat transportation security. For example, H.R. 909 calls for the establishment
of a hazardous materials cooperative research program. The purpose of at least one
of the studies to be conducted under the proposed program would be to provide an
assessment of opportunities for integrating and supplementing safety and security
measures for hazardous materials transportation. H.R. 153 and H.R. 1109 both
authorize a research program that would, in part, be intended to: “...support enhanced
security for transportation of hazardous materials by rail...”
Policy Options and Legislative Initiatives
Policy Options
The federal role in promoting the security of hazmat transportation is evolving.

32 Technology may be one means of reducing risk from terrorists at a reasonable cost. It is
widely recognized that technology is an important aspect of most if not every security plan,
but technology remains only one component of every security plan. An array of different
technologies, such as vehicle (tractor and trailer and load) tracking systems, emergency and
constant communication systems, remote shut-off systems, biometric and electronic driver
verification systems, and improved fencing of freight areas, are being considered or are
already deployed. In the hazmat transportation industry, some technologies have been
deployed more widely than others. Investment in technology for security purposes is not
simply a cost, but such an investment can add to the bottom line of a business. Security
systems can be integrated with business operations. Technology that improves security can
improve the productivity of a carrier or operation–e.g., the specific location of cargo can be
determined and monitored to respond to customer requests, and losses from criminal
activities might be reduced.

There are many additional measures that could be taken to enhance security, but each
of these poses its own set of benefits and costs that need to be considered within the
context of many policy factors, such as alternative uses of federal and industry
resources, likelihood of effectively reducing the risks from terrorist attacks, and
impacts on the operational efficiency and productivity of the surface transportation
Many different approaches and measures intended to improve hazmat
transportation security are being considered. Table 2 outlines several options, some
of which are interrelated and overlap, and also summarizes selected advantages and
disadvantages of each.
Table 2. Options Intended to Enhance Hazmat Transportation
Security with Selected Advantages and Disadvantages
Options/ Approaches to ConsiderAdvantages/Disadvantages
1. Increase federal financial assistance toTSome supporters maintain that federal
help governmental entities or the privatefunds could supplement public-sector
sector pay for enhancements that promotesecurity enhancements; others favor
hazmat surface transportation security.support of either public or private sector
Legislation, such as H.R. 1109, has beeninitiatives. These supplemental funds
introduced that would authorize thecould expedite infrastructure and
Secretary of Homeland Security to awardoperational enhancements to promote
grants directly to public transportationsecurity. Federal funds could help pay for
agencies for allowable capital securitysecurity measures that impose costs
improvements, including tunnel protectiondifficult to recover in the marketplace or
systems; and chemical, biological,those that exceed reasonable outlays by
radiological, or explosive detectiongovernmental jurisdictions.
systems. H.R. 153 would authorize theTCongress, however, faces the difficult
Secretary of Homeland Security to awardtask of allocating limited funds among
grants to hazmat shippers, freightmany other security investments.
railroads, and owners of rail cars used inOpponents could argue that the private
the transportation of hazmat for multiplesector should pay for security measures to
purposes, including to address threatsprotect its infrastructure.

pertaining to the security of hazmat
transportation by rail.

Options/ Approaches to ConsiderAdvantages/Disadvantages
2. Require a background check or aTSomeone intent on doing harm could use
security threat assessment of personsa rented truck filled with hazmat as a
renting trucks and require securityweapon. Supporters point out that this
awareness training of personnel workingprovision is intended to reduce vehicle
for truck leasing companies.access to persons that pose a security
threat. By increasing the security
awareness of personnel working at a rental
counter and by conducting a background
check on the person seeking to lease such
a vehicle, security risks might be reduced.
TThose against such a proposal can point
to the costs incurred in conducting a
background check, uncertainty of payoff
from these additional measures, and
privacy concerns.
3. Require improved vehicle trackingTSupporters assert that it would be useful
mechanisms that can obtain the exactif the location of high hazard shipments
location in real-time of a truck transportingcould be identified at all times and that
high hazard shipments; and requirecommunication systems be available on a
constant 24/7, two-way communication24/7 day basis. This information could be
systems between drivers and carriers (orespecially important in helping law
some other designated agent) to improveenforcement and in determining if a vehicle
monitoring of all high hazard shipments.were hijacked.
T Those against requiring improved
tracking and communication systems for all
high hazard shipments point to the costs
that would be incurred. Such costs might
be especially burdensome for small
carriers. It would also be essential to
ensure that information regarding the exact
location of certain shipments did not get
into the wrong hands.
4. Require rerouting of certain high hazardT Supporters maintain that the risks of
shipments as part of a national routingcertain high hazard shipments is so great
system that takes into account both safetythat these shipments should be rerouted
and security concerns and tradeoffs.away from heavily populated or high
profile areas. Such routing decisions
should be based on consideration of
numerous factors, including security as
well as safety.
TOpponents point out that rerouting poses
an array of difficulties that were previously
discussed in the section dealing with
routing. An additional challenge would be
the complexity or difficulty of developing
such national routing standards.

Options/ Approaches to ConsiderAdvantages/Disadvantages
5. Require security threat assessments forTSupporters point out that it makes little
Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled hazmatsense to require that U.S.-domiciled CDL
drivers transporting specific hazmats intoholders transporting specified hazmat to go
the United States.through a security threat assessment
process and not to require the same for
Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers
transporting specified hazmat into or out
of the United States.
TThe international logistics or mechanics
of conducting such security threat
assessments would need to be worked out
and, in some cases, may present certain
6. Require DHS and/ or DOT to issueTSupporters could assert that the risks of
specific directives or regulations meetingtransporting certain high hazard materials
definitive performance-based criteriais so great that additional and more
intended to enhance the security of certainrigorous security-oriented measures are
high hazard shipments substantially beyondneeded, especially when these materials are
current security and training requirements,transported through high profile or highly
and provide DHS a dedicated and full-timepopulated areas. TOpponents could argue
field staff with audit capabilities to ensurethat the costs of these additional measures
compliance with such directives orhave not been justified. It is partly a
regulations. H.R. 1414 would require thequestion of priorities and resources and
DHS Secretary to issue regulationsevidence of the need for such actions
pertaining to: physical security measuresversus the costs that would be imposed on
for extremely hazardous materials, such asindustry.

the use of passive secondary containment
of tanker valves and other technologies to
ensure the physical integrity of pressurized
tank cars used in transportation, additional
security force personnel, and surveillance
technologies and barriers; communications
regarding the movement of such materials
to concerned federal, state, and local law
enforcement authorities, and terrorism
response plans for shipments of extremely
hazardous materials; as well as the use of
currently available technologies and
systems to ensure effective and immediate
communication between transporters of
extremely hazardous materials and all
entities charged with responding to acts of
terrorism involving shipments of extremely
hazardous materials.

Options/ Approaches to ConsiderAdvantages/Disadvantages
7. Provide “Good Samaritan” protection toTSupporters point out that this option
anyone reporting a possible security threatcould provide some legal protection to
regarding hazmat transportation.those reporting suspicious activity.
TOpponents note that “Good Samaritan”
legal protection should be provided by
state law.
8. Require hazmat employees working inTGiven the federal investment in the
the highway mode to be aware of theHighway Watch® program of about $41
capabilities and functions of the Highwaymillion and its accomplishments to date,
Watch® program as part of the federallysupporters assert that hazmat employees
required security training for hazmatworking in the highway mode should be
employees.required at least to be aware of the program
and its capabilities to respond to security
concerns or threats.
T On the other hand, some in industry do
not favor additional training requirements
that are federally-mandated.
9. Require all inspectors funded under theTMCSAP officers are a key part of the
Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Programfirst line of defense against the use of
(MCSAP) to meet at least a performance-hazmat transportation as a weapon in the
based or minimum level of traininghighway mode. Supporters assert that
pertaining to basic security awareness andmany MCSAP officers would benefit from
associated interrogatory techniquesadditional training in hazmat transportation
regarding hazmat transportation, andsecurity awareness and interrogatory
require states applying for MCSAP fundstechniques. Not all MCSAP officers have
to address how their program promotesradiological and other chemical detection
security and to ascertain whether their statedevices.
needs to obtain additional radiological orTSome of those concerned about this
chemical detection devices or additionaloption maintain that the primary emphasis
security awareness training for theirof MCSAP must continue to be on safety,
inspectors.and funds should be allocated accordingly.
If MCSAP officers are to play a greater
role in promoting security, then some
assert that a systematic means to pay for
this additional responsibility should be
funded outside of the basic core MCSAP
10. Maintain the status quo by simply
letting DHS and DOT and industry
gradually improve the security of hazmat
Source: Congressional Research Service

Concluding Observation
Although there are many opportunities to further strengthen hazmat
transportation security, satisfactorily addressing all of the points of vulnerability
would be extremely costly. Depending upon the performance standards and scope
of additional federal requirements, hundreds of millions of dollars or more could be
required. And even after such investments, the hazmat transportation system would
still be essentially an open system and not secure. Unless the costs of security
enhancement could be recaptured, many companies would be unwilling to pay for
additional investments in this area beyond those already implemented, especially in
the absence of additional governmental regulation. Furthermore, additional security
checks that cause substantial delays impose costs on commerce.
On the other hand, those seeking additional investments in security measures to
protect the public point out that the costs of a well placed attack on an extremely
hazardous shipment (e.g., a shipment of a toxic-by-inhalation gas) would be
catastrophic. There are many options that DHS and DOT could pursue to reduce the
chances of such an event. One key challenge is to identify those additional measures
that are reasonable (i.e., cost effective). The timing of future actions remains
uncertain, but some progress toward this objective is gradually being accomplished.