Finally, Roadability Accountability
By David A. Kolman
If you’re like me and occasionally pull intermodal containers, there’s some good news. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has finally done something about the condition of these vehicles.
The agency has come out with its “Requirements for Intermodal Equipment Providers and Motor Carriers and Drivers Operating Intermodal Equipment.” Commonly referred to as the “roadability” rule, it significantly strengthens safety requirements for intermodal container chassis.
The rule makes intermodal equipment providers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for the first time, and establishes shared safety responsibility among intermodal equipment providers, motor carriers and drivers. It’s about time. These chassis are notoriously — how can I put this gracefully — under-cared for.
It’s been my experience that it’s often difficult to have repair work done at some railroad intermodal yards. They don’t have the most helpful personnel. And some yards don’t even have repair facilities. The deadline for compliance was supposed to be late last year. It’s been extended to this June 30.
Now that chassis providers will have to maintain intermodal container chassis in road-worthy condition, I can stop carrying all those lamps, gladhand washers and tools that I have on hand to do my own repairs to intermodal chassis to be safe going down the road.