Special Permits to the Hazardous Materials Regulations
Congress in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1974, created a risk management program that can authorize alternative regulations. The purpose of these alternative regulations -- special permits -- is to facilitate the implementation of more efficient methods and new technologies that provide a level of safety at least equal to that provided by the regulations. The procedural regulations governing PHMSA's special permits program, published under section 107.103 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR 107.103), require all applications for special permits to be accompanied by a safety analysis, i.e., documentation and data substantiating a finding that the special permit sought will provide at least the same level of safety as that provided under the regulations. The safety analyses required to support special permits vary greatly, from complex risk analyses for complex packaging systems involving new technologies to simple comparative analyses for minor variations in packaging or operational controls for relatively low hazard materials. The risk present in new technologies and materials is often particularly difficult to evaluate and often requires extensive risk analysis.