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BTS Releases 2010 Border Crossing/Entry Data. 

The number of truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 10.2 million in 2010, 9.4 percent more than in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2010 border-crossing data posted today on the BTS website that also includes numbers of incoming trains, buses, containers, personal vehicles, and pedestrians entering the United States through land ports and ferry crossings on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border. The database shows that 165.7 million people crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2010, a 9.1 percent decrease from 2009.  Also, 57.2 million people entered the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2010, a 6.1 percent increase from 2009.  Border crossing/entry data from 1995 to 2010 can be found on the BTS website.

FMCSA Places Additional Research Studies in Hours-of-Service Proposed Rulemaking Official Docket.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today placed four additional research studies in the official rulemaking docket for the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  The four studies are: The Impact of Driving, Non-Driving Work, and Rest Breaks on Driving Performance in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations; Hours of Service and Driver Fatigue-Driver Characteristics Research; Analysis of the Relationship Between Operator Cumulative Driving Hours and Involvement in Preventable Collisions; and Potential Causes Of Driver Fatigue: A Study On Transit Bus Operators In Florida. FMCSA is reopening the HOS NPRM comment period to allow for public review and discussion of these studies. As FMCSA is committed to receiving and analyzing all public comments on the studies before it completes its work on the final rule, the agency will extend the final rule publication date. FMCSA has advised parties to the settlement agreement of the need for an extended rulemaking schedule.

PHMSA Publishes New Rule to Improve Safety of Rural Areas with Hazardous Liquid Pipelines.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced a final rule that would protect the public and sensitive environmental areas by applying pipeline safety regulations to “low-stress” rural hazardous liquid pipelines. A “low stress” pipeline is one that operates at a low pressure relative to the overall strength of the pipe.  Before 2008, a hazardous liquid pipeline operating at “low-stress” and located in a rural area was not regulated by PHMSA unless it crossed a waterway. These lines did not fall under regulations in part because their rural location and “low-stress”
operation made them among some of the lowest risk lines in the country.  PHMSA expects this final rule to reduce the number of incidents related to these pipelines. The public comment period for this notice ends 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. The final rule is scheduled for publication today, May 6, 2011. 

PHMSA Releases National Pipeline Safety Forum Proceedings.

Today, PHMSA published the proceedings from the Department’s National Pipeline Safety Forum on April 18 on their Pipeline Safety Awareness Website. The Safety Forum was part of Secretary LaHood’s comprehensive Action Plan on Pipeline Safety announced in Allentown, Pennsylvania on April 4, 2011.  This record of the Safety Forum includes the major objectives and goals, summaries of the three panel discussions on pipeline safety risks and challenges, and descriptions of the panelists and stakeholders involved in the Forum.

Friday, May 6, 2011