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Transportation of Hazardous Materials

Over one billion tons of hazardous goods and materials are shipped across the U.S. by trucks every day. Unfortunately, when vehicles containing hazardous materials are involved in accidents, it can not only cause injuries to people, but also catastrophic property damage. Roughly 200 trucks containing hazardous materials are involved in fatal car accidents and 5,000 more are involved in nonfatal car accidents every year across the United States.

Hazardous materials include all products that put someone’s health, safety, or property at risk during transportation. This includes everything from explosives and gases to poisons and radioactive materials. Because of this added danger, if a driver is carrying hazardous material, he or she is required to have a hazardous materials endorsement on their commercial driver’s license.

Hazardous Material Rules

Because many hazardous materials can injure or even kill on contact, drivers are required to load, transport, and unload the products in a specific way. These rules are intended to contain the product and warn others of the potential risk, while also protecting the driver and everyone else on the road. In accordance with safety regulations, drivers must also undergo a security threat assessment as mandated by the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Transportation.

Before getting a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on a driver’s commercial driver’s license, a driver must present his or her fingerprints as well as his or her verification of citizenship or immigration eligibility. The applicant must also not:

  • Have been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the seven-years prior to application
  • Have been released from jail within five years of applying
  • Have been found not guilty by reason of insanity of any permanently disqualifying crime
  • Be wanted or under indictment

Sadly, these requirements are not always enough to prevent devastating accidents involving hazardous materials from occurring. If a truck driver is carrying hazardous material and doesn’t have a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on his or her CDL, an accident victim may be able to take legal action and hold them responsible for any accident that occurs and the consequences resulting from that accident. If you are wondering about taking legal action in the wake of an accident involving hazardous materials but want to know more about the legal options that are available to you, fill out the form at the top of the page and a representative will contact you with more information.