Hazardous Material Endorsements (HME) will need to be renewed through the TSA at least every five (5) years, unless a shorter time frame is specified by a driver's particular state.
When renewing a Hazmat endorsement, CDL drivers will be required to submit to a new threat assessment, including fingerprinting and background check. Drivers will need to check with their individual states regarding length of Hazmat endorsement.
We'd like to share some excellent insights from professional drivers in our trucker's forum who haul hazardous materials, especially involving chemical tankers.
What I Did Not Like About Hauling Chemical Tankers
- wearing hazmat PPE (personal protective equipment) and sweating in places I didn't know I could sweat in making you prone to dehydration and heat exhaustion. It feels like you're wearing an extra 20 lbs and it didn't fit right in certain places even with a bigger size suit.
- chemical plants - "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore"... some were clean, but many were dirty, dusty, and a maze to get through with very tight turns. you will get dirty.
- the added responsibilities of making sure the paper work is correct and that you have the right placards due to HAZMAT regulations
- driving a loaded tanker with front & backward surge, and slosh pulling the tanker in all different directions.
- remembering to stop at all railroad crossing.
Even as a tanker driver you do quite a bit of backing in tight spaces in the unloading areas of chemical plants.
What I Did Like About Hauling Chemical Tankers:
- automatic trucks
- driving (lots of fun pulling a tanker down the road).
- decent hotel stay with microwave/fridge, wifi, and even a pool and within walking distance to stores and places to eat.
- orientation was very, very informative and the daily lunch was delicious.
- company personnel and were nice and treated you like a decent human being.
- trainer was professional and easy to get along with.
Tanker drivers generally get paid more than dry van or reefer drivers. But flatbed drivers also get paid more than dry van and reefer. The reasons are because there is some physical labor involved and some added danger of driving a tanker or flatbed. There are probably only 150,000 tanker drivers out of the several million truck drivers in total, same with flatbed drivers, I am not sure of the number but it is smaller than dry van/reefer drivers.
Working in the oil fields is completely different. For one, there's usually a lot of manual labor involved. You're not just driving, you're working on the sites also and the work is dirty and dangerous. Secondly, the oil fields you choose to work in make all the difference. North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas are the biggest regions and they're all completely different from each other when it comes to finding housing, pay rates, and of course climate. You have a nice choice of climate - you can work in the 95 degree pseudo-desert heat all summer in Texas or in 35 below zero pseudo-arctic temps in North Dakota! Fun, fun choices.
It's a funny thing how people seem to think if they are hauling something dangerous they will be making more money. It is not necessarily true. You can make some good money hauling a food grade tanker. Hazmat is not all it is thought to be when it comes to earnings.
There is a fair amount of physical labor involved; if you're not keen on tarping, you might not be keen on offloading chemicals. The hoses are not light, and you will be climbing up and down the ladder to the top of your tanker several times. In the summertime, you'll find yourself dripping with perspiration, and you won't be even halfway done yet. There are times when the customer will unload your trailer, but there are also times when you're doing the unload yourself. I never know until I get there how it's going to go. But if you're 60 and not in great shape, maybe you should rethink this.
Any material that presents a hazard during shipment but does not meet the definition of the other classes. For example:
Any driver looking for some really heavy further reading can read through the ENTIRE HAZMAT materials table. Enjoy!
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations
A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.
State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.
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:
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.
A refrigerated trailer.
A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).
It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.
Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.
When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.