CHiPs: Hazmat reporting needs electronic system

CHiPs: Hazmat reporting needs electronic system

California Highway Patrol officials have asked the Transportation Department to develop an electronic hazardous materials transportation incident reporting system to simplify reporting, increase accuracy and speed data entry. They recommended a system that would let officials submit reports over the Internet. Floppy disk, e-mail and fax submissions should be accepted as well, they said.

The CHiPs officials said there is no unified electronic system to track hazmat incident reports, even though about 3.2 billion tons of hazardous materials are shipped each year. Hazmat incident reporting is primarily a paper process.

CHiPs officials submitted a response last month to a notice by Transportation entitled 'Hazardous Materials: Revisions to the Incident Reporting Requirements and the Hazardous Materials Incident Report Form.'

Most hazmat incident reports are typed or handwritten, California officials said. This creates legibility problems and opportunities for mistakes. An online system could help officials determine whether an incident had already been reported.

California officials also recommended that whatever form the electronic reporting system would take, it should use standard data formats so that data can be easily exchanged between state and federal databases.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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