Rules and Regulations Specific to Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials

Large commercial vehicles and trucks create a unique set of risks on Tennessee roadways. Not only are these vehicles big in size, they are also typically heavy loaded semi trucks may weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of this, accidents involving trucks often lead to serious damages and injury.

Trucks carrying hazardous material pose another unique set of additional risks. Cargo trucks carrying hazardous materials are high risk vehicles that can be prone to accidents, damages, and injuries.

What Classifies as Hazardous Materials

There are several characterizations of hazardous materials. Most of the time, these types of cargo can cause additional problems to accident scenes because they may be flammable or dangerous in other ways. Some common categories of hazardous cargo include:

  • Explosive materials such as dynamite.
  • Hazardous products such as flares, fireworks, or ammunition.
  • Flammable gases such as propane.
  • Toxic or hazardous gases such as helium or compressed fluorine.
  • Flammable liquids such as gasoline.
  • Infectious substances such as viruses and pathogens harmful to people and animals.

Regulations for Hazardous Trucks

Risks are so high for commercial vehicles transporting hazardous materials that there are both state and federal standard regulations and laws for trucking companies and drivers to follow.

Specific regulations and laws regarding transporting hazardous materials include:

  • Posting proper signage. Trucking companies must display adequate signage that identifies the types of hazardous materials in transport. This will alert others of the danger and warn authorities in case of emergencies.
  • Handle materials properly. Officials with the trucking company, including drivers and loaders, must follow proper procedures when handling hazardous materials. This includes following safe loading and storing procedures.
  • Follow roadway and parking laws. There may be rules prohibiting the transport of hazardous materials on a specific roadway. There may also be laws dictating where a hazardous truck may park.
  • Continuously monitor the materials. Drivers and company officials need to monitor dangerous cargo to prevent accidents and ensure proper maintenance.
  • Educate everyone involved with the materials. It is illegal for truck drivers to haul dangerous cargo without taking the proper training classes or safety measures needed to transport those materials. He or she will learn packing processes, transportation rules, and safety techniques.

Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME)

Most drivers of hazardous materials need to carry a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) on his or her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To obtain this designation, a truck driver must pass a written exam. Questions will cover Section 9 of the Texas Commercial Vehicle Drivers Handbook. Drivers traveling in a truck greater than 26,000 pounds with hazardous materials in a cargo tank must also obtain a Tank Endorsement.

Trucking companies must sufficiently educate drivers receiving these types of endorsements about the specific regulations involved. It is against the law to drive with hazardous products without a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME).

Those that are unsure of any rules should contact his or her employer asking about truck restrictions. Certain rules in Section 9 include knowing which materials may or may not be loaded together, understanding risks inherent in different materials and how to avoid them, and labeling products, materials, and tank containers properly.

What to Do When Injured in a Hazardous Truck Accident

Truck drivers and trucking companies traveling with hazardous materials need to adhere to rules to keep other drivers safe. If a hazardous transport injures a person, however, he or she can potentially recover losses.

Victims of hazardous truck accidents in the Nashville area can contact the team at Larry R. Williams. Our client-first procedures will guide victims through the often-challenging legal processes after truck accidents.