How much thought do you think a truck driver puts into his/her load as they are driving down a highway? You’d be surprised since different types of cargo respond differently in given situations. Liquids, for example, can be quite tricky to transport, even in smaller containers. When it comes to hazardous materials, there are extra factors that need to be considered, including what actions are required should there be an accident, or accidental spill.
Before transporting hazardous materials, truck drivers need to apply for and receive a hazardous materials endorsement on their commercial drivers license. To obtain this endorsement, you will need training that gives you the knowledge to pass the hazardous materials theoretical test that is required by licensing authorities. That, however, is not the only requirement to receiving a hazardous materials endorsement.
Hazardous materials are considered a possible threat to national security. As such, truck drivers are assessed on the risk they themselves pose to the nation; after all, you don’t want truck drivers with ‘terrorist’ tendencies in control of hazardous materials. Homeland Security vets each application for a hazardous materials endorsement. If you pass through their vetting processes, you will gain your endorsement and be permitted to transport hazardous materials.
For most truck drivers, this endorsement is acquired when they first obtain their commercial drivers license, with the hazardous materials training included in their comprehensive truck driver training programs. Again, for most truck drivers, the vetting process is a routine check that doesn’t raise any problems. In fact, it’s a behind-the-scenes vetting process that doesn’t involve any interaction between applicants and those undertaking the vetting process.
Should you include a hazardous endorsement on your drivers license? It’s a personal decision, however, in practical terms, it does make you more employable, and it does add a small security layer to any job application process. Employers know that those drivers who do have a hazardous materials endorsement have been through that Homeland Security vetting process. There’s a lot to consider when transporting hazardous materials, and drivers are often paid extra for transporting this type of material.