Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
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. 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. 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 RulesViolation 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.