Motor carriers whose drivers transport hazardous materials/dangerous goods are specially trained in emergency safety and applicable HM/DG federal regulations.
During the surprise five-day CVSA 2021 HM/DG Road Blitz in June, inspectors spotlight safety-compliant drivers, shippers and motor carriers with vehicles containing hazardous materials/dangerous goods to ensure everything is appropriately marked, placarded, packaged, and secured while being transported on our roadways.
Any vehicles found to have HM/DG out-of-service (OOS) violations, or any other driver/vehicle OOS violations, were restricted from traveling until all OOS violations were addressed.
How many CMVs were stopped, inspected, and cited violations?
In the U.S. and Canada, 10,905 commercial motor vehicles and 8,363 HM/DG packages were inspected over that five-day period. Inspectors identified 2,714 violations, which included:
- 496 shipping papers violations
- 628 non-bulk/small means of containment packaging violations
- 390 bulk packaging/large means of containment placarding violations
- 277 non-bulk/small means of containment labeling violations
- 307 bulk/large means of containment placarding violations
- 167 other safety marks violations
- 288 loading and securement violations
- 50 HM/DG package integrity (leaking) violations
Below is a summary of the HM/DG class types inspected.
|Class 1||Explosives, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, etc.||115||90||317||522|
|Class 2||Flammable, non-flammable/non-poisonous and poisonous.||286||367||1,564||2,217|
|Class 3||Flammable liquids, such as acetone, adhesives, paints, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, some pesticides, etc.||484||1, 526||3,140||5,150|
|Class 4||Flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneously combust and substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases, such as white phosphorus and sodium.||102||17||133||252|
|Class 5||Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium nitrite, ammonium nitrate fertilizers and oxygen generators.||110||26||203||339|
|Class 6||Toxic and infectious substances; any material, other than a gas, that is so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation, such as cyanide, biological samples, clinical wastes and some pesticides.||113||39||120||272|
|Class 7||Radioactive materials, such as cobalt and cesium.||96||2||40||138|
|Class 8||Liquid or solid corrosive substances, such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified time.||192||160||1,149||1,501|
|Class 9||Miscellaneous HM/DG, such as acetaldehyde ammonia, asbestos, elevated temperature materials and benzaldehyde.||114||146||430||690|
The CVSA HM/DG Road Blitz helps increase awareness of the hazardous materials/dangerous goods rules and regulations in place to keep the driver, the public and the environment safe.
Hazmat and DOT Training
There are many rules, regulations, and requirements in each state for authorities to keep track of when it comes to hauling hazardous material. If you are not DOT compliant, it could be detrimental to your company, as fines and penalties can be upwards of $180,000.
Roughly one-quarter of all freight hauled in the United States is transported in tanker trucks, and of that, nearly half is petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel.
Hauling fuel and HAZMAT is a dangerous job.
In a 2016 FleetOwner article, Pinnacle Express vice president, Jim Fox, explains that any breakdowns are a big problem for aviation fuel haulers. If one of the fleet’s trucks has a problem and loses power, Pinnacle drivers are trained to get the truck out of the roadway if they can, even if it damages the vehicle.
“Everybody and their mother are driving down the road doing this now,” says Fox, gesturing with his thumb as if texting or using a smartphone. “I just can’t have my guys there on the side of the road. My drivers are actually trained to have them destroy a tire, a rim, a fender, fuel tank, fuel tank step than sit on the side of the road waiting for repair,” Fox explains. “With what we haul, when we get hit, we tend to leave a smoking crater in the middle of the intersection.”
To keep safety a priority, fuel and HAZMAT haulers can use new safety equipment and best practices that can lower risk and insurance premiums.
The Risk That Surrounds Fuel Haulers
Fleets transporting tanker trucks understand that there are anti-cargo theft and anti-terrorism concerns that drive these loads to be delivered as quickly as possible.
With around 10,000 gallons of fuel in two separate tankers, speed is also balanced with safety requirements. You must be aware of the dangers and constantly be vigilant.
There are a lot of security policies to prevent a terror attack, since it literally is a bomb on wheels. Some policies already in place, include:
- Drivers cannot leave their trucks on lunch breaks
- Drivers can only take lunch in certain areas, and
- Drivers cannot tell anyone where we get the gas from or tell anyone what they are hauling
It is important that the truck is properly grounded to prevent sparks from igniting any vapor as static electricity can build up in the truck when liquid is transferred or simply from the movement of pipes and truck parts.
The biggest risk comes at deliveries because exhaust from other people driving nearby can ignite gas, and people could be walking around smoking. Similarly, no cell phones or other electronics can be near the gasoline either because cell phones can easily ignite gas.
When it comes to obstacles in the road or accidents, drivers have two possibilities: (1) stand on those brakes and stop the truck or (2) hit whatever it is if they cannot stop. Drivers cannot turn the wheel to avoid obstacles because they will roll over, leading to a much bigger problem.
There are 3 main areas of focus for fleets when it comes to safety.
- driver skills
- in-cab technology
Driver Training Reduces Risk
Your road safety approach should focus on driver skills and behavior. Mandatory defensive driving training courses and online training videos teaches safe driving techniques and behavior, with an overall aim of reducing risks.
For example, if driver trainers notice a habit of hard acceleration or hard braking, they should make sure a video training schedule includes driving fundamentals and defensive driving topics.
All custom training schedules should be accompanied by common new driver training, such as reviewing common maintenance and pre-trip inspection training, what to expect during a roadside inspection and how to treat inspectors, highlight drug testing processes and marijuana regulations, seasonal safe driving tips, cargo securement training, etc.
Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track driver performance. If their assessment score is low, then the training needs to be retaken.
The Right Equipment Reduces Risk
To reduce maintenance costs and roadside breakdowns, many fuel haulers purchase new trucks. These tractors can be on a replacement cycle of 5-7 years and 450,000-500,000 mi.
Trucks can also be fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems. ESC anticipates rollovers and loss of directional control, so it can apply brakes on the vehicle in a way that will improve its control.
For example, if a truck is going too fast around a corner and the system perceives that the truck is likely to roll over, ESC can intervene to brake the truck and slow it down.
For trailers, it is recommended that fleets get trailers with disc brakes. Thesetrailers are almost maintenance-free as disc brakes and last three times longer than drum brakes.
The reduced maintenance leads to better Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores on maintenance/ shop time.
In-cab Technology Reduces Risk
If your fleet is not using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), then using in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) will provide information on driver behavior across a range of areas such as speeding, harsh braking and seat belt compliance and are used to support drivers to drive safely.
Otherwise, most ELDs utilize engine data telematics that can gather and track similar data.
In-cab cameras can also be used with IVMS to coach drivers. Waccamaw Transport, a regional fuel hauler based in Selma NC, deployed a video-based safety program that reduced insurance premiums by 10 percent.
DOT Compliance Programs (PSM)
At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM), a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.
Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:
- ELD management
- Driver Qualification File Management
- New driver on-boarding
- Driver safety meetings
- CSA score management
- Policies and handbooks
- Vehicle maintenance
- and more
Hazmat CDL endorsement and Background Checks
Two rules that have been in place since 2003 and 2005 were recently finalized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and went into effect on November 1, 2019. The rules concern the passing of a mandatory background check for truck drivers interested in adding or renewing a hazmat endorsement on their CDL.
As mentioned above, the background checks are mandatory and are administered by the Department of Homeland Security, with two exemptions, including state drivers with a valid transportation security card or Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC).
Rule #1: Hazmat background check
A provision to the final rule was published in 2003 prohibiting states from issuing, renewing, transferring or upgrading a CDL with a hazmat endorsement for truck drivers that have not successfully passed a background check by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that clears them as a security risk.
Rule #2: Background check notice
In 2005, another provision to the final rule was published, reducing the amount of required notice a state must provide a truck driver that a background check will be performed for a hazmat endorsement renewal.
For example, if a driver’s hazmat endorsement is up to expire in the coming year, a state must notify the driver of the required background check at least 180 days, or 6 months, before the date of expiration for the CDL or hazmat endorsement.
Do you already have your hazmat endorsement?
Current drivers need not worry about the finalization of these rules as it has no bearing on current drivers or carriers, since the rules have been in place since 2003 and 2005.
Hazmat and DOT Training
There are many rules, regulations and requirements in each state for authorities to keep track of when it comes to hauling hazardous material. If you are not DOT compliant, it could be detrimental to your company, as fines and penalties can be upwards of $180,000.