Every day, our roadways carry billions of dollars of raw materials and finished goods from coast to coast. And every day, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works hard to make sure that cargo is protected inside safe commercial vehicles operated by safe drivers. Ensuring that commercial vehicles and their drivers are safe also means that FMCSA protects other users of America's roadways.
And when our nation's commercial vehicles transport the hazardous materials our economy needs, that safety mission becomes even more critical.
That's why this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Southern Service Center put Operation Steel Box into action with inspection strike forces at key ports where hazardous materials carriers load their contents.
From Houston to New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa, Jacksonville, Savannah, Mt. Pleasant (SC), and Wilmington, inspectors were on the ground checking commercial motor vehicles, tractor-trailer combinations, equipment, and freight boxes as loads came off ships bound for motor carriers. We even had a team at the intermodal center in Memphis to check as freight was moved from railway to roadway.
In addition to the hazardous materials and packaging inspections, FMCSA and state police and highway patrol officers also checked vehicle placards, carriers and drivers, with a special eye out for vehicles carrying undeclared hazardous materials.
The three days of Operation Steel Box this week represent the first time FMCSA's Southern region has conducted a hazmat strike force of this magnitude. It will help us stay foused on hazardous materials transportation in the south and help strengthen our important safety partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies.
Hats off to FMCSA, all of the participating agencies, and their inspectors; your vigilance helps keep America's roads safe.