What Should I Expect from the Hazardous Materials Test?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2018
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Truck drivers are required to pass a hazardous materials test before hauling any types of hazardous material. The hazardous materials test determines that the driver has sufficient training to know how to handle hazardous materials in day-to-day circumstances, as well in the case of an accident or other emergency. Hazardous material testing requires the driver to understand a great deal about the different types of hazardous materials he or she may haul, and taking the test qualifies the driver for jobs that require specific hazardous material training.

The hazardous materials test require that the driver know how and when to place placards on the truck so that others will know what type of hazardous material is being hauled. The test also requires that the driver know what additional gear may be required, depending on the material the driver is hauling. An example of this is carrying facemasks or gloves in the cab of the truck when transporting certain types of hazardous materials.


Another important component of the hazardous materials test is that the driver understands how to handle contamination if it should occur. While emergency personnel will respond in the case of an emergency, the driver is essentially the first responder. The driver should know how dangerous the material is, and how to best contain it and prevent further contamination from occurring until help arrives. Drivers planning to take the hazardous materials test should also know what paperwork is required to handle and carry hazardous materials, and where those papers are to be stored in the cab of the truck. Hazardous materials all have a code that the driver is responsible for noting on paperwork, on the container, and on any documentation produced because of a traffic accident.

Obtaining a hazardous material driver's license is recommended for people planning to pursue a career as a truck driver. Having the hazardous material certification enables the driver to haul a greater variety of materials than they would qualify for with only a traditional CDL license. A large number of the materials hauled by truckers are hazardous, so working without this certification can limit career potential.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulate hazardous materials. Hazardous materials are any items of a physical, biological or chemical nature that have the ability to harm the environment, humans, or animals. Testing is conducted by each state's Division of Transportation, and will include fingerprinting and a threat assessment as part of the US Patriot Act.



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