A truck driver that hauls hazardous materials has to follow a completely different set of rules compared to general freight. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has several hazardous materials regulations in place that must be followed to ensure the safety of everyone in and around the transporting vehicle. This is a brief description of the things that you should know about hazardous materials transportation.
The preparing for the transportation of Hazmat is the shipper’s responsibility. They package, label and prepare the materials for transportation with the appropriate shipping papers. Once the materials are loaded onto your truck, there are a few things that must be done before the truck starts moving.
As a truck driver hauling these dangerous materials, it is your job to follow all DOT regulations. Before you start transporting, you first need to find out if any permits will be required and also if you need to take any special routes. Remember, transporting dangerous, highly combustible materials falls into different regulations. Some routes prohibit the transportation of hazardous materials.
You will also need to identify the classification of the load on the shipping papers so you can display the proper placards on your truck and trailer. The last thing that needs to be done before you start transporting is that all dual tires must be inspected.
While transporting this load, a truck driver must follow DOT regulations and be in DOT compliance at all times. Hauling different classifications require different protocols. Carrying Class A or B explosives probably require the strictest protocols. As an example, a driver must possess a written route plan.
When a truck driver is hauling a load of this nature, the driver is required to stop every 100 miles or 2 hours, whichever comes first, to check all dual tires. If a driver discovers an overheated tire, that tire must be removed and placed a safe distance from the truck and trailer. When a driver is not in the cab of the truck, the shipping papers must be in plain sight either located in the door pouch or on the driver’s seat.
When adding fuel to their truck, someone must be at the nozzle in control at all times. If a truck driver see’s a vehicle fire or any other type of fire ahead, they should avoid driving by the fire, unless they can do so without stopping and at a safe distance. Also, a driver cannot park any closer than 300 feet of a fire.
Any truck driver that transports hazardous materials must be on guard and follow all DOT hazardous materials regulations at all times. This includes stopping at railroad crossings and parking the regulated distance from buildings. Truck drivers need to stay aware of what is around their hazardous materials load, including not only buildings and vehicles, but also people.
There cannot be anyone smoking within 25 feet of any truck hauling hazardous materials. DOT compliance and regulations are very important to ensure that everyone is safe while transporting hazardous materials. For a full review of hazardous materials regulations, you can view the DOT Handbook for truckers.