Trucking companies to exercise tighter scrutiny

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The state has asked businesses with company trucks that pass through Alaska communities to be on higher road alert in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

''Alaska carriers transport various types of hazardous materials every day -- including explosives and products like fuel, paint, even hair spray,'' Gov. Tony Knowles said last week.

State and federal transportation officials are in the midst of contacting Alaska motor carriers. Knowles said the goal is to educate the carriers on security and ask them to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior from drivers, shippers and the public.

Companies are under instructions to review files of all their drivers and make sure required background checks have been done. The state also wants carriers to review their security measures for storing and transporting hazardous materials.

Both state and federal transportation officials are conducting security visits to the hazardous materials carriers in Alaska, according to the governor's office. Also, the state's commercial vehicle enforcement officers who operate at weigh stations and roadsides are taking a closer look at commercial vehicles that haul hazardous materials.

Most of the emphasis is on carriers that transport bulk explosives, petroleum products and poisonous gases.

''Unfortunately, we have been made painfully aware of the fact that commercial transportation equipment can be used as weapons by terrorists,'' Joe Perkins, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Perkins is heading an examination of Alaska's transportation infrastructure by the governor's Disaster Policy Cabinet. The panel is also scrutinizing the security of Alaska's energy and communications systems.

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