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Transportation department opens dockets to all Internet users

Transportation department opens dockets to all Internet users

Have you had a hard time following the Department of Transportation's regulatory ruffle over air bags? You can now use the Internet to find out--among other things--the agency's latest position regarding on-off switches for deactivating the bags. While launching a nationwide effort to explain its ruling allowing the switches, the department unveiled the federal government's first Internet web site that contains rulemaking and other legal documents. The files, known as the docket, are available at http://dms.dot.gov. The docket is a compilation of information about proposed and final regulations issued by the department, including public comments on department decisions, Federal Register notices, legal pleadings, rulemaking, and other documents produced during regulatory or adjudicatory actions. The system allows rapid retrieval, cross-referencing and searching for specific subjects at all hours. Now, many viewers around the world can read the same document together. Previously, only one copy could be viewed at a time in Washington during office hours. Before fall, the public will be able to use the Internet to file comments, petitions, and requests, making it easier to participate in the department's regulatory process.

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