What Do You Need to be a Hazmat Driver?

What Do You Need to be a Hazmat Driver?

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) are ever-present in the 21st century. From medical equipment to flammable gases, corrosive agents, and even nuclear waste, we are constantly surrounded by HAZMAT. Thankfully, the majority of hazardous items are safely and professionally transported to specialized facilities around the country. 

Hazmat drivers transport hazardous substances out of harm’s way and are expected to maintain meticulous standards of practice when handling dangerous materials. However, transporting these highly hazardous materials and substances does present a large risk for many trucking businesses, so hazmat insurance is a must. There are also certain requisites that the driver must obtain before transporting these materials. 

Commercial Driver’s License

There are a few stringent requirements to become certified to transport large quantities of hazardous materials. To start, the successful applicant must have an active Commercial Driver’s License (CDL- Class A). State regulations on CDLs differ, however typically mandate a learning period allowing you to practice driving with another CDL holder in the vehicle.

After the permit period, the applicant must pass a driving skills test at a DMV location or receive an endorsement from a DMV certified training center or employer.

The HAZMAT Endorsement

Being an endorsed commercial driver is not sufficient to be trusted with hauling hazardous materials. Extra steps are needed to ensure strict safety standards.

A separate application is necessary for HAZMAT certification, with the requirements of:

  • Being 21 years of age, providing proof of identification
  • Supplying proof of citizenship (or legal residence)
  • Completing medical/eye exams
  • Passing a HAZMAT knowledge test

During the application period, an intensive TSA (Transportation Security Administration) background check occurs.  

Obtain Tanker Endorsement

Most hazardous materials are transported in tankers, think gasoline, pressurized gases, or anything flammable. Therefore, in order to be functional as a Hazmat truck driver, a tanker endorsement is commonly needed.

Fortunately, the Hazmat endorsement (H) and tanker endorsement (N) can be coupled as an “X” endorsement on a CDL. These can be obtained separately or at the same time. Either way, the applicant must take two separate knowledge tests.

The “X “endorsement is the most desirable for Hazmat transportation companies as it allows drivers to transport a variety of substances. A valid CDL with an “X” endorsement will give drivers the best chance of finding employment in this field.

Note that state requirements for transporting hazmat do differ, so be sure to check your state laws and protect your business with proper hazmat insurance.  

About Tobico Trucking Insurance

Trucking insurance is one of the most difficult types of insurance to obtain, but it doesn’t have to be. At Tobico Trucking Insurance, we are experienced and knowledgable about the trucking insurance market and the needs of trucking operations of all types and sizes. You need an agent who has the specialized knowledge of this ever-changing industry, and we have the products and the dedicated customer service to provide you with what you need. For more information, contact us any time of day at (469) 731-0707 to find out how we can help you.