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Section 9: Hazardous Materials

The hazardous material transportation information in this section reflects all revisions as of October 2009. This section contains partial information relative to the hazardous material requirements. The purpose of this section is to prepare an individual for the CDL hazardous material test. It should not be used for the hazardous material recurrent training. For detailed hazardous material transportation information, consult the regulations.

Prior to seeking or renewing the Hazardous Materials Endorsement, you must complete the application for the fingerprint and security background checks. Call 877-429-7746 or visit http://hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov to complete the application process and make an appointment at a convenient location. The fee must be paid at the time of application.

Types of Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation. The term often is shortened to HAZMAT , which you may see on road signs, or HM in government regulations. Hazardous materials include explosives, various types of gas, solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other materials. Because of the risks involved and the potential consequences these risks impose, the handling of hazardous material is very heavily regulated by all levels of government.

The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are found in parts 100-185 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The common reference for these regulations is 49 CFR 100-185.

The Hazardous Materials Table in these regulations contains a list of these items. However, this list is not all-inclusive. Whether or not a material is considered hazardous is based on its characteristics and the shipperʼs decision on whether or not the material meets a definition of a hazardous material in the regulations.

The regulations require vehicles transporting certain types or quantities of hazardous materials to display diamond-shaped, square-on-point, warning signs called placards.

This section is designed to assist you in understanding your role and responsibilities in hauling hazardous materials. Due to the constantly changing nature of government regulations, it is impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy of the materials in this section. An up-to-date copy of the complete regulations, which includes a complete glossary of terms, is essential for you to have.

Hazardous Materials Endorsement

You must have a CDL with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement before driving vehicles carrying hazardous materials that require placards. You must pass a security background check and a written exam about the regulations and requirements to get this endorsement.

Training and Testing

Everything you need to know to pass a security background check and the written exam is in this section. However, this is only a beginning. Most drivers need to know much more on the job. You can learn more by reading and understanding the federal and state rules applicable to hazardous materials as well as attending hazardous materials training courses. These courses are usually offered by your employer, colleges and universities, and various associations. You may obtain copies of the Federal Regulations (49 CFR) from your local Government Printing Office bookstore and various industry publishers. Union or company offices often have copies of the rules for driver use.

The regulations require training and testing for all drivers involved in transporting hazardous materials. Your employer or a designated representative is required to provide this training and testing. Hazardous materials employers are required to keep a record of that training on each employee as long as that employee is working with hazardous materials, and for 90 days thereafter. The regulations require that hazardous materials employees be trained and tested at least once every three years.

The regulations also require that drivers have special training before driving a vehicle transporting certain flammable gas materials or highway route controlled quantities of radioactive materials. In addition, drivers transporting cargo tanks and portable tanks must receive specialized training. Each driverʼs employer or designated representative must provide such training.

Permits

Some locations require permits to transport certain explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and counties also may require drivers to follow special hazardous materials routes. The federal government may require permits or exemptions for special hazardous materials cargo such as rocket fuel. Find out about permits, exemptions and special routes for places you drive.

HAZMAT and HM are the most common abbreviations for hazardous materials. HM appears on many roadway signs, so you need to remember the abbreviation. It may show up on the written exam as well.
Don't forget that in addition to passing the written exam, you must also undergo a background investigation and submit fingerprints. This process can take several weeks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

What statement accurately describes hazardous materials?
  • Products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation.
  • All statements are correct
  • Cargo which may be explosive
  • Flammable or combustible products

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation. The term often is shortened to HAZMAT, which you may see on road signs, or HM in government regulations. Hazardous materials include explosives, various types of gas, solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other materials. Because of the risks involved and the potential consequences these risks impose, the handling of hazardous material is very heavily regulated by all levels of government.

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What are Placards?
  • Rectangular banners displaying the hazard type on a given trailer
  • Square shaped warning signs which indicate hazardous materials are loaded on a truck
  • Audible warning devices placed inside a trailer so that when the trailer doors open, the warning devices activate
  • Diamond-shaped, square-on-point warning signs which indicate hazardous materials are loaded on a truck

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The regulations require vehicles transporting certain types or quantities of hazardous materials to display diamond-shaped, square-on-point, warning signs called placards.

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Next
Before driving vehicles carrying hazardous materials that require placards, you must:
  • Acquire a temporary HAZMAT permit
  • Any of these are ways to carry hazardous materials that require placards
  • Hold a CDL with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement
  • Receive a written Permission Of Endorsement Exemption (POEE) from the shipper

Quote From The CDL Manual:

You must have a CDL with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement before driving vehicles carrying hazardous materials that require placards. You must pass a security background check and a written exam about the regulations and requirements to get this endorsement

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Under no circumstance should you transport a Hazardous Materials placarded vehicle unless you hold a valid CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement.

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Next
Some locations require permits to transport some forms of hazardous materials. What is the purpose of these permits?
  • To allow drivers without a hazardous materials endorsement to drive a placarded vehicle
  • So that dangerous chemicals can be transported without placards
  • None of these answers are correct
  • Some hazardous materials are not allowed on certain roadways unless permits are obtained

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Some locations require permits to transport certain explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and counties also may require drivers to follow special hazardous materials routes. The federal government may require permits or exemptions for special hazardous materials cargo such as rocket fuel. Find out about permits, exemptions and special routes for places you drive.

Prev
Next
Hazardous materials are controlled at:
  • All levels of government
  • Local and city levels of government only
  • State levels of government only
  • Federal levels of government only

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Because of the risks involved and the potential consequences these risks impose, the handling of hazardous material is very heavily regulated by all levels of government.

Prev
Next
Hazardous materials include all of these, except:
  • Explosives
  • Flammable gas
  • Combustible liquids
  • Dangerous animals

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Hazardous materials include explosives, various types of gas, solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other materials.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

There are many dangerous types of cargo which can be considered hazardous but not specifically classified as hazardous materials.

Prev
Next
The term "Hazardous Materials" is often shortened to:
  • HAZMAT
  • Hmaterial
  • HAZ
  • HazardM

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation. The term often is shortened to HAZMAT, which you may see on road signs, or HM in government regulations.

Prev
Next
Which statement is true regarding hazardous material transport employers?
  • Hazardous materials employers are required to keep a record of training that each employee has received
  • Your employer or a designated representative is required to provide periodic testing and training
  • Both of these statements are true
  • Both of these statements are false

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The regulations require training and testing for all drivers involved in transporting hazardous materials. Your employer or a designated representative is required to provide this training and testing. Hazardous materials employers are required to keep a record of that training on each employee as long as that employee is working with hazardous materials, and for 90 days thereafter. The regulations require that hazardous materials employees be trained and tested at least once every three years.

The regulations also require that drivers have special training before driving a vehicle transporting certain flammable gas materials or highway route controlled quantities of radioactive materials. In addition, drivers transporting cargo tanks and portable tanks must receive specialized training. Each driver's employer or designated representative must provide such training.

Prev
Next
The term "Hazardous Materials" can go by initials instead. Those initials are usually:
  • HT
  • HZ
  • HA
  • HM

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation. The term often is shortened to HAZMAT, which you may see on road signs, or HM in government regulations.

Prev
Next
Regulations require vehicles transporting certain types or quantities of hazardous material to display:
  • A yellow banner on the front and back of the truck displaying the type of hazardous material on-board
  • Diamond-shaped warning signs on all 4 sides of the vehicle
  • A red square warning sign on all 4 sides of the vehicle
  • An orange "HAZMAT Certified" window sticker on the passenger side of the windshield

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The regulations require vehicles transporting certain types or quantities of hazardous materials to display diamond-shaped, square-on-point, warning signs called placards.

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