NDSC and ND Highway Patrol encourage caution around vehicles hauling hazardous materials

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK - As summer ramps up, so does hazardous material transportation on North Dakota’s roads and highways. The North Dakota Safety Council in partnership with the North Dakota Highway Patrol encourages motorists to exercise extreme caution when encountering trucks with hazmat loads, and to never pass a hazmat truck stopped at a railroad crossing.

One of North Dakota’s busiest corridors for hazardous materials is Highway 52. A production facility along with four railroad crossings in Bowbells, Kenmare, Voltaire and Drake requires frequent stops by haulers and greater care by the traveling public.

According to Lt. David Wolf, Commander, ND Highway Patrol Motor Carrier Operations, “Highway 52 is a busy corridor for hauling hazardous materials, and drivers need to follow all laws and make responsible driving decisions to keep all motorists safe. Anhydrous ammonia is highly flammable – passing on a two-lane highway or at a railroad crossing is risky and potentially life-threatening.”

Valerie Fischer, Coordinator of Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit, public education program established to end collisions, deaths, and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights-of-way, says a number of concerns have been shared by residents and drivers in this area.

“Our goal is to keep people safe around railroad tracks and crossings. Passing a hazmat vehicle stopped at a railroad crossing is extremely dangerous for the passing driver, for the truck driver, train personnel and local residents. Take a breath, slow down and follow the law to ensure that you and the drivers around you get home safe.”

The NDSC offers a number of classes related to hazardous material and railroad safety including a DOT Hazmat Compliance class on Aug. 8.

As part of Operation Lifesaver, the NDSC also offers railroad safety classes for professional drivers, bus drivers, and presentations for organizations needing to navigate railroad crossings. 

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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