If you intend working as a truck driver, then there are several endorsements that you can add to your truck driver’s license. One of these is the Hazardous Materials or HazMat endorsement. One question often raised is, Why? Why do you need a special endorsement to carry these materials? Over the years, the reasons behind a HazMat endorsement have changed, however, the basic reasons are still there – you are carrying hazardous materials, so you need to know how to safely transport them, and what to do in an emergency.
In recent years, a HazMat endorsement has taken on a new importance. To qualify for this endorsement, a driver must now also pass a security check. This check also includes a review by Homeland Security, introduced to prevent further events such as those that occurred on 9/11. From a driver’s perspective, a HazMat endorsement works as a vote of confidence verifying that the holder has never been involved with a serious crime, or had their reputation under investigation for serious unlawful acts.
From the public’s perspective, there should be a certain level of comfort in the knowledge that these truck drivers are safe, secure and trained in the steps necessary to protect life and property should an accident occur. Employers can take the same comfort knowing their goods, no matter how dangerous, are going to be transported in a safe manner, and that every attempt will be made to prevent any accidents.
Transporting hazardous materials is a serious job. Truck drivers do it every day without incident, and when incidents do happen, the risk is significantly reduced to the community. If you intend becoming a truck driver, and you want to include a HazMat endorsement, then you need to treat that endorsement responsibly. As a truck driver, you will often find that wages for transporting hazardous materials are much better than standard materials, but then, there is a risk, and there is added responsibility, hence the higher pay. Are your responsible enough to have a HazMat endorsement? You’ll need to learn to be a truck driver first!