Commercial Driver Handbook

Driver Education illustration

Section 15 of 15


Bulk packaging—Packaging, other than a vessel or a barge, including a transport vehicle or freight container, in which hazardous materials are loaded with no intermediate form of containment and which has:

  1. A maximum capacity greater than 119 gallons (450 L) as a receptacle for a liquid.
  2. A maximum net mass greater than 882 pounds (400 kg) or a maximum capacity greater than 119 gallons (450 L) as a receptacle for a solid.
  3. A water capacity greater than of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) as a receptacle for a gas defined in CFR, Title 49 §173.115.

California Hazardous Waste Manifest—The shipping paper that must accompany all shipments of hazardous waste.

Caltrans—California Department of Transportation.

Carboy—A bottle or rectangular container that holds from 5 to 15 gallons of liquid. Carboys are made of glass, plastic, or metal, and often cushioned in a wooden box.

Cargo tank—A bulk packaging that:

  1. Is a tank intended primarily for the carriage of liquids or gases and includes appurtenances, reinforcements, fittings, and closures (for tank, see CFR, Title 49 §§178.3451(c), 178.3371, or 178.3381, as applicable).
  2. Is permanently attached to or forms a part of a motor vehicle, or not permanently attached to a motor vehicle but, by reason of it size, construction, or attachment to a motor vehicle is loaded or unloaded without being removed from the motor vehicle.

Carrier—A person engaged in the transportation of passengers or property by:

  1. Land or water as a common, contract, or private carrier.
  2. Civil aircraft.

CCRCalifornia Code of Regulations—Title 13 and 22.

CFR—Code of Federal Regulations—Title 49.

CHP—California Highway Patrol.

CHSCCalifornia Health and Safety Code.

CLCCalifornia Labor Code.

Compressed gas—Any gaseous material, or liquefied gas, kept in a container under pressure (see more specific Class 2 definitions in CFR, Title 49 §173.115).

Consignee—The business or person to whom a shipment is delivered.

CVC §California Vehicle Code section.

Cryogenic liquid—A refrigerated liquefied gas having a boiling point colder than -130 degrees Fahrenheit at 14.7 psia.

Cylinder—A pressure vessel designed for pressures higher than 40 psia and having a circular cross section. It does not include a portable or cargo tank.

DMV—Department of Motor Vehicles.

DOT—Department of Transportation (federal).

DTSC—Department of Toxic Substance Control.

EPA—U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

FAA—Federal Aviation Administration.

FHWA—Federal Highway Administration.

FMCSA—Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

FMCSR—Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Freight container—A reusable container having a volume of 64 cubic feet or more, designed and constructed to permit being lifted with its contents intact, and intended primarily for containment of packages (in unit form) during transportation.

GCWR—Gross combination weight rating.

Gross weight or mass—The weight of the packaging plus the weight of its contents.

GVW—Gross vehicle weight.

GVWR—Gross vehicle weight rating.

Hazardous material (HazMat)—A substance or material which has been determined by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated. The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, and materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table of CFR, Title 49 §172.101 and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in CFR, Title 49, Part 173, Subchapter C.

HMR—Hazardous Materials Regulations.

IFTA—International Fuel Tax Agreement.

Infectious substances or etiologic agents—A living microorganism, or its toxin, which may cause human or animal disease.

IRP—International Registration Plan.

Limited quantity—When specified as such in a section applicable to a particular material, it means the maxi-mum amount with specific placarding, labeling, and packaging exceptions.

Marking—The descriptive name, ID number, instructions, cautions, weight, specifications, UN marks, or combinations thereof, required on outer packaging of hazardous materials.

MCP—Motor Carrier Permit.

Mixture—A material composed of more than one chemical compound or element.

Name of contents—The proper shipping name as specified in CFR, Title 49 §172.101.

NHTSA—National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

N.O.S.—Not otherwise specified.

NTSB—National Transportation Safety Board.

Outage or ullage—The amount by which a packaging falls short of being liquid full, usually expressed in per-cent by volume. The amount of outage required for liquids in cargo tanks depends on how much the material will expand with temperature changes during transit. Different materials expand at different rates. Enough out-age must be allowed so that the tank will not be full at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overpack—An enclosure used by a single shipper to provide protection, convenience in handling of a package, or to combine 2 or more packages. Overpack does not include a transport vehicle or freight container.

Portable tank—Any bulk packaging (except a cylinder having a water capacity of 1000 pounds or less) de-signed primarily to be loaded onto, or on, or temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship and equipped with skids, mountings, or accessories to facilitate handling of the tank by mechanical means. It does not include a cargo tank, tank car, multi-unit tank car tank, or trailer carrying 3AX, 3AAX, or 3T cylinders.

Proper shipping name—The name of the hazardous material shown in Roman print (not italics) in CFR, Title 49 §172.101.

Psi—Pounds per square inch.

Psia—Pounds per square inch absolute.

PUC—Public Utilities Commission.

Registered hazardous waste transporter— Person registered by DTSC who engages in offsite transportation of hazardous waste by air, rail, highway, or water.

Reportable quantity (RQ)—The quantity specified in Column 2 of Appendix A to CFR, Title 49 §172.101 for any material identified in Column 1 of Appendix A.

Shipper’s certification—A statement on a shipping paper, signed by the shipper, saying they prepared the shipment properly, according to law. For example:
“This is to certify that the above named materials are properly classified, described, packaged, marked, and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation according to the applicable regulations of the Department of Transportation.”
“I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by the proper shipping name and are classified, packaged, marked, and labeled/placarded, and are in all respects in proper condition for transport by (mode of transportation such as rail, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel) according to applicable international and national governmental regulations.”

Shipping paper—A shipping order, bill of lading, manifest, or other shipping document serving a similar purpose containing the information required by regulations.

Tank vehicle—Any CMV with any size fixed tank(s) (except tanks necessary for vehicle operation such as air, gas, and oil) or portable tanks of 1,000 gallons or more capacity. Includes any fixed tank in excess of 119 gallons mounted on any vehicle or vehicle combination which requires a CDL or placards.

To transport HazMat or wastes, an “N” endorsement and “H” endorsement are required for a fixed tank(s) regardless of the weight of the vehicle or the size of the tank. If the tank is portable and less than 1,000 gallons, only the “H” endorsement is required.

Technical name—A recognized chemical name or microbiological name currently used in scientific and technical handbooks, journals, and texts.

Title 13California Code of Regulations—Motor Vehicles.

Title 22California Code of Regulations—Environmental Health Standards for the Management of Hazardous Waste.

TSA—Transportation Security Administration.

Transport vehicle—A cargo carrying vehicle such as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semitrailer, tank car, or rail car used for the transportation of cargo by any mode. Each cargo carrying body (trailer, rail car, etc.) is a separate transport vehicle.

Water reactive material—Any material (including sludge and pastes) which when mixed with water, is likely to ignite or give off flammable or toxic gases in dangerous quantities. Water reactive material is required to be labeled DANGEROUS WHEN WET.


A CVC book may be viewed online at or purchased at any DMV field office.
California regulations relating to commercial vehicles are contained in CCR, Title 13 and may be purchased from Barclays at or by calling 1-800-888-3600.

Copies of the CFR, Title 49 or CCR, Title 22, Division 4.5 may be purchased from the U.S. Government Bookstore by calling the Government Publishing Office at 1-866-512-1800.


When using this handbook, remember that it is only a summary of the laws and regulations.
DMV, law enforcement, and courts follow the full and exact language contained in the CVC.


Questions or comments regarding this handbook may be addressed to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Customer Communications Unit, MS H165
PO Box 932345
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450