What is HAZMAT Trucking, And How Does It Benefit The Driver

Written By Alla Levin
July 21, 2022
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What is HAZMAT Trucking, and How Does It Benefit The Driver

If you already work as a trucker, you’ve probably heard about hauling hazardous materials and may be interested in getting a HAZMAT permit.

They range from nuclear waste to explosive gasses. To be able to transport them, truck drivers need a HAZMAT permit. For many truckers, transporting hazardous materials remains an open question.

The importance of HAZMAT trucking

HAZMAT truck drivers transport hazardous materials from one location to another. The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management definition of hazardous material is: “any object or agent that has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.” This list includes:

  • Oxidizing substances;
  • Explosive substances;
  • Radioactive materials;
  • Gases;
  • Flammable liquids and solids;
  • Radioactive materials;
  • Corrosive materials;
  • Poisons.

Most HAZMAT haulers have experienced drivers with prior training in handling and transporting toxic materials. These drivers cannot only haul materials but also carefully monitor the route and follow safety regulations at all times.

Some hazardous materials are time sensitive, so HAZMAT truck drivers sometimes have to adjust their routes based on traffic and road conditions to ensure their cargo gets to its destination on time.

How do I get a permit to drive HAZMAT trucks?How do I get a permit to drive HAZMAT trucks

HAZMAT trucking is considerably more dangerous than transporting conventional cargo. To work with hazardous goods, a regular CDL will not be enough. Truckers are required to obtain a HAZMAT permit, and only then can they be allowed to transport dangerous goods.

To do so, drivers must apply, pass a HAZMAT knowledge test, and pass a background check. The demand for drivers with a HAZMAT permit is consistently higher than their counterparts without one.

However, another step is sometimes required in obtaining a permit to transport dangerous goods. Almost all hazardous materials are transported in tanker trucks. For such transportations, drivers must also obtain a tanker truck permit, which requires an additional knowledge test. Either way, drivers can get a HAZMAT and tanker license simultaneously as an X license.

Advantages of transportation under HAZMAT conditions

The main advantage of working for HAZMAT is the salary. The average base salary for a HAZMAT tank truck driver in the United States is about $65,000. After getting a CDL, truckers can also get a hazardous materials permit and start earning even more.

Realistically, transporting hazardous materials is one of the highest-paying occupations in the trucking industry. In addition, to pay, there are other job prospects for HAZMAT truck drivers.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this occupation is projected to grow 17 percent by 2026, much higher than the average for other occupations. Truckers with HAZMAT and tanker truck certifications have a much more comprehensive range of choices when looking for jobs in the trucking industry. A significant advantage is that having these certifications helps drivers stand out from other candidates in the hiring process.

Tips for a successful HAZMAT trucking business

You must understand that working as a hazardous goods transporter is complex and requires a lot of attention. Knowing the laws, safety risks, and regulations associated with the job is most important. Roads and highways can be just as dangerous as the loads being transported, so HAZMAT truck drivers need to know their job thoroughly.

A successful career as a HAZMAT truck driver depends on dedication to your job. Truck drivers who strive to learn and practice safe driving techniques should have no problem making a profitable and lucrative career in the HAZMAT trucking industry.

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