Intermodal chassis regs now in effect; compliance deadlines to follow

| 6/23/2009

Picking through a pile of unusable intermodal chassis may very well become a thing of the past because of a new regulation implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The “Requirements for Intermodal Equipment Providers and for Motor Carriers and Drivers Operating Intermodal Equipment” final rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 17, 2008.

The regulation officially went into effect June 17. However, compliance deadlines for various aspects of the rule are staggered so the full impact of the new regulation won’t be felt by the drivers pulling the equipment for a few more years.

The new regulation requires a pre-trip inspection by drivers using intermodal equipment. And, at the end of the day, the driver will have to fill out an inspection report on all of the equipment operated during the day, noting anything wrong with the equipment to the intermodal equipment provider.

Before that equipment – which will have to carry a U.S. DOT number – can be offered for use on the road again, any damage, defect, etc., noted on the end-of-the-day report is to be certified as repaired on the original report.

The new reg also mandates that intermodal equipment providers keep those reports for three months.

Much of the new regulation requires the intermodal equipment providers to develop “systems” for routinely inspecting the equipment; accepting, addressing and storing the driver reports; repairing equipment, etc.

However, the regulation does not mandate what those systems are, and it will be up to the intermodal equipment provider to comply with the regs.

Intermodal equipment providers will also now face “roadability review” safety audits conducted by either an FMCSA employee or a state or local government employee funded by the federal government.

The reviews will be an on-site examination of the intermodal equipment provider’s compliance with the regs.

The regulation is set up for a rollout of compliance dates. For example, intermodal chassis providers have until Dec. 17 of this year to file needed paperwork with FMCSA. Then, intermodal equipment providers will have until June 17, 2010, to get all of the mandated systems and inspections into place and until June 17, 2011, to have all of the equipment marked.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor