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Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA), enacted in 1975, is the principal federal law in the United States regulating the transportation of hazardous materials. Its purpose is to "protect against the risks to life, property, and the environment that are inherent in the transportation of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce" under the authority of the United States Secretary of Transportation. [1]

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Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleHazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975
Acronyms (colloquial)HMTA
Enacted bythe 93rd United States Congress
EffectiveJanuary 3, 1975
Public lawP.L. 93-633
Statutes at Large88 Stat. 2156
Acts amendedHazardous Material Transportation Control Act of 1970
Titles amended49 (Transportation)
U.S.C. sections created49 U.S.C. §§ 51015127
Legislative history
  • Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on January 3, 1975
Major amendments
The Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990
Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994

The Act was passed as a means to improve the uniformity of existing regulations for transporting hazardous materials and to prevent spills and illegal dumping endangering the public and the environment, a problem exacerbated by uncoordinated and fragmented regulations.[2] Regulations are enforced through four key provisions encompassing federal standards under Title 49 of the United States Code:

  • Procedures and policies
  • Material designations & labeling
  • Packaging requirements
  • Operational rules

Violation of the HMTA regulations can result in civil or criminal penalties, unless a special permit is granted under the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation.[3]