Companies that produce, use, and ship liquid bulk materials are highly regulated by the federal government as well as state and local authorities. The health, safety, and well-being of humans, animals, and the environment are at stake should a spill, or leak occur.
There are other potential issues as well, such as the risk of explosion or contact with a caustic, or corrosive, substance. That is why there are very specific regulations for transporting liquid bulk chemicals that do not apply to other types of cargo. This includes training and certification requirements for drivers, parking restrictions for trailers containing materials, and driver attendance requirements while stopped.
In order to transport hazardous liquid bulk materials, drivers are required to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement on their commercial driver’s license. This requires both class work and hands-on training and programs are designed to ensure students are able to pass the final test to receive their endorsement. They also must pass a both drug and alcohol testing as well as a standard medical exam. In addition, HAZMAT drivers must pass a criminal background check and meet citizenship, or legal alien, status before they can haul HAZMAT cargo.
It’s fairly common to see a truck with a dry van, flatbed, or refrigerated trailer parked in a public parking lot, pulled into a restaurant parking lot, or even parked along the road. Their cargo gives them the flexibility to stop and have lunch wherever they can park, however, liquid bulk drivers cannot. Federal regulations state that any truck hauling explosives, for example, cannot park closer than 300 feet from any structure, or place people gather. What’s more, a driver must notify a landowner of the nature of the cargo contained in the tanker, and obtain explicit permission to park there.
While all truck drivers have to be diligent in protecting their cargo from theft and damage, by staying aware, a HAZMAT driver’s attention must be laser focused. The attendance rules state that a driver hauling explosive materials must remain within 100 feet of his, or her, truck and trailer at all times. It is also required that the driver be able to quickly reach the vehicle in case of an emergency. In addition, they must always have a complete, unobstructed view of the vehicle. Therefore, dining, or any other activity not required for the transportation of the cargo is prohibited.