The regulations regarding hazardous materials are fairly straightforward, especially when it comes to transporting these products. However, there are still some areas where trucking companies are confused to the point they don’t know whether the product being transported requires a placard (sign on back and front of truck) and a driver with a HazMat (hazardous materials) endorsement on the commercial drivers license. In many cases, rather than risk potential prosecution and fines, the company uses the placards and a driver with the right endorsement.
If you don’t have a HazMat endorsement, you cannot be considered for these jobs. In fact, most trucking companies prefer drivers who do have this endorsement, just in case they are required to carry hazardous material – and you’d be surprised at what is often labelled as hazardous. With many products, it’s often the quantity and the sizes of the containers that determine it’s hazardous material status, not just the product on it’s own.
Employers also look at a HazMat endorsement as a security measure since drivers need to be cleared by Homeland Security before an endorsement is issued. This endorsement adds another layer of security for companies that transport high value products. For new drivers, hazardous materials is normally included as part of your truck driver training program, and to obtain the endorsement, you will need to pass the appropriate test (along with a security check). This is generally worth the effort as it does open more doors for employment.
HazMat is one of several endorsements that can be included on your commercial drivers license. If you have not been granted these endorsements, then you are not permitted to drive any vehicle where an endorsement is required. Check with your truck driver training company to determine what endorsements they include in their training before signing up to undertake training.