Commercial Driver Handbook

Driver Education illustration

Section 10 of 15

Section 9: Hazardous Materials

This section is designed to assist you in understanding your role and responsibilities in hauling HazMat. HazMat are products that pose a risk to health, safety, and property during transportation. The term often is shortened to HazMat, which you may see on road signs or to HM in government regulations. HazMat include explosives, various types of gas, solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other materials. Because of the risks involved and the potential consequences these risks impose, all levels of government regulate the handling of HazMat.

To ensure public safety, DMV examiners will not conduct commercial skills tests in vehicles displaying vehicle placards per CVC §27903. This includes vehicles carrying HazMat and/or wastes and vehicles which have not been purged of their hazardous cargo. CVC §15278(a)(4) requires an “H” endorsement for those who drive a vehicle requiring placards.

Your CDL tests will be based on your knowledge of federal transportation requirements. Text preceded by “California” refers to state (nonfederal) requirements which also apply when driving in California. The state requirements are strictly enforced.

The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and common references are found in CFR, Title 49, Parts 171-180.

The Hazardous Materials Table in the regulations contains a list of these items. However, this list is not all-inclusive. Whether or not a material is considered hazardous is based on its characteristics and the shipper’s decision on whether or not the material meets a definition of a HazMat in the regulations. Due to the constantly changing nature of government regulations, it is impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy of the materials in this section. It is essential for you to have an up-to-date copy of the complete regulations. Included in these regulations is a complete glossary of terms.

The regulations require vehicles transporting certain types or quantities of HazMat to display diamond-shaped, square on point, warning signs called placards.

You must have a CDL with an “H” endorsement before you drive any size vehicle that is used to transport HazMat as defined in CFR, Title 49 §383.5. You must pass a knowledge test about the regulations and requirements to get this endorsement.

A CLP holder is prohibited from transporting HazMat.

Everything you need to know to pass the knowledge test is in this section. However, this is only the beginning. Most drivers need to know much more on the job. You can learn more by reading and understanding the federal and state rules applicable to HazMat, as well as attending HazMat training courses. Your employer, colleges, universities, and various associations usually offer these courses. You can get copies of the Federal Regulations (CFR, Title 49) through your local government printing office bookstore and various industry publishers. Union or company offices often have copies of the rules for driver use. Find out where you can get your own copy to use on the job.

The regulations require training and testing for all drivers involved in transporting HazMat. Your employer or a designated representative is required to provide this training and testing. HazMat employers are required to keep a record of training for each employee as long as that employee is working with HazMat, and for 90 days thereafter. The regulations require that HazMat employees be trained and tested at least once every 3 years.

All drivers must be trained in the security risks of HazMat transportation. This training must include how to recognize and respond to possible security threats.

The regulations also require that drivers have special training before driving a vehicle transporting certain flammable gas materials or highway route controlled quantities of radioactive materials. In addition, drivers transporting cargo tanks and portable tanks must receive specialized training. Each driver’s employer or their designated representative must provide such training.

Some locations require permits to transport certain explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and counties also may require drivers to follow special HazMat routes. The federal government may require permits or exemptions for special HazMat cargo such as rocket fuel. Find out about permits, exemptions, and special routes for the places you drive.

Permits. A permit or route restriction may be required to transport some classifications and quantities of HazMat. Contact CHP and DOT for information. Permits and registrations may also be required for hazardous waste and medical waste transportation. Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Department of Health Services respectively, for information.

If you apply for an original or renew an “H” endorsement, you must undergo a TSA federal security threat assessment (background records check). You start the TSA background records check after you apply for your CDL at DMV, successfully complete all appropriate knowledge tests, and submit a valid medical form. You must submit fingerprints, a fee, and any additional information required to one of TSA’s designated agents. You must also provide the TSA agent with a copy of your CDL permit and 1 of the following ID documents:

  • A California DL/ID card.
  • An out-of-state DL.
  • Your CLP accompanied by a DMV photo receipt.

For a list of TSA agent sites, visit or call 1-855-347-8371.

California Hazardous Material Transportation License

Every motor carrier who transports the following HazMat in California must have a hazardous materials transportation license issued by CHP (CVC §32000.5):

  • HazMat shipments (unless specifically excepted) for which the display of placards is required per CVC §27903.
  • HazMat shipments in excess of 500 pounds, transported for a fee, which would require placarding if shipped in greater amounts in the same manner.

A valid legible copy of the carrier’s HazMat transportation license must be carried in the vehicle and be presented to any peace officer or duly authorized employee of CHP upon request (CCR, Title 13 §1160.3(g)(2)).

This is in addition to the federal HazMat registration that may be required under CFR, Title 49 §107.601.

9.1 – Intent of the Regulations

9.1.1 – Contain the Material

Transporting HazMat can be risky. The regulations are intended to protect you, those around you, and the environment. They tell shippers how to package the materials safely and drivers how to load, transport, and unload the material. These are called “containment rules.”

9.1.2 – Communicate the Risk

Shippers must warn drivers and others about the material’s hazards to communicate the risk. The regulations require shippers to put hazard warning labels on packages, provide proper shipping papers, emergency response information, and placards. These steps communicate the hazard to the shipper, carrier, and driver.

9.1.3 – Assure Safe Drivers and Equipment

You must pass a knowledge test about transporting HazMat to get an “H” endorsement on a CDL. To pass the test, you must know how to:

  • Identify what is HazMat.
  • Safely load shipments.
  • Properly placard your vehicle in accordance with the rules.
  • Safely transport shipments.

Learn the rules and follow them. Following the rules reduces the risk of injury from HazMat. Taking shortcuts by breaking rules is unsafe. Noncompliance with regulations can result in fines and jail.

Inspect your vehicle before and during each trip. Law enforcement officers may stop and inspect your vehicle. When stopped, they may check your shipping papers, vehicle placards, CDL “H” endorsement, and your knowledge of HazMat.

9.2 – Hazardous Materials transportation—Who Does What

9.2.1 – The Shipper

  • Sends products from one place to another by truck, rail, vessel, or airplane.
  • Uses the HazMat regulations to determine the products:
    — ID number.
    — Proper shipping name.
    — Hazard class.
    — Packing group.
    — Correct packaging.
    — Correct label and markings.
    — Correct placards.
  • Must package, mark, and label the materials; prepare shipping papers; provide emergency response information; and supply placards.
  • Must certify on the shipping paper that the shipment has been prepared according to the rules (unless you are pulling cargo tanks supplied by you or your employer).

9.2.2 – The Carrier

  • Takes the shipment from the shipper to its destination.
  • Prior to transportation, checks that the shipper correctly described, marked, labeled, and otherwise prepared the shipment for transportation.
  • Refuses improper shipments.

9.2.3 – The Driver

  • Makes sure the shipper identified, marked, and labeled the HazMat properly.
  • Refuses leaking packages and shipments.
  • Placards the vehicle when loading, if required.
  • Safely transports the shipment without delay.
  • Follows all special rules about transporting HazMat.
  • Keeps HazMat shipping papers and emergency response information in the proper place.
  • Reports accidents and incidents involving HazMat to the proper government agency, when the accident/incident occurs while the driver is in physical control of the shipment.

9.3 – Communication Rules

9.3.1 – Definitions

Some words and phrases have special meanings when talking about HazMat. Some of these may differ from meanings you are used to. The words and phrases in this section may be on your test. The meanings of other important words are in the Glossary at the end of Section 9.

A material’s hazard class reflects the risks associated with it. There are 9 different hazard classes. The types of materials included in these 9 classes are in Figure 9.1.

A shipping paper describes the HazMat being transported. Shipping orders, bills of lading, and manifests are all shipping papers. Figure 9.6 shows an example of a shipping paper.

After an accident or HazMat spill or leak, you may be injured and unable to communicate the hazards of the materials you are transporting. Firefighters and police can prevent or reduce the amount of damage or injury at the scene if they know what HazMat is being carried. Your life, and the lives of others, may depend on quickly locating the HazMat shipping papers. For that reason the rules require:


Class DivisionName of Class or DivisionExamples
Mass Explosion
Projection Hazard
Fire Hazard
Minor Explosion
Very Insensitive
Extremely Insensitive
Display Fireworks
Blasting Agents
Explosive Devices
Flammable Gases
Non-Flammable Gases
Poisonous / Toxic Gases
Fluorine, Compressed
3Flammable LiquidsGasoline
Flammable Solids
Spontaneously Combustible
Dangerous When Wet
Picrate, Wetted
White Phosphorous Sodium
Organic Peroxides
Ammonium Nitrate
Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide
(Toxic Material)
Infectious Substances
Potassium Cyanide
Anthrax Virus
8CorrosivesBattery Fluid
9Miscellaneous Hazardous MaterialsPolychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB)
NoneORM-D (Other Regulated Material-Domestic
Combustible Liquids
Food Flavorings, Medicines
Fuel Oil

Figure 9.1

  • Shippers to describe HazMat correctly and include an emergency response telephone number on shipping papers.
  • Carriers and drivers to quickly identify HazMat shipping papers, or keep them on top of other shipping papers and keep the required emergency response information with the shipping papers.
  • Drivers to keep HazMat shipping papers in or on:
    — A pouch on the driver’s door.
    — Clear view within immediate reach while the seat belt is fastened while driving.
    — The driver’s seat when out of the vehicle.

9.3.2 – Package Labels

Shippers put diamond-shaped hazard warning labels on most HazMat packages. These labels inform others of the hazard. If the diamond label will not fit on the package, shippers may put the label on a tag securely attached to the package. For example, compressed gas cylinders that will not hold a label will have tags or decals. Figure 9.2 shows examples of labels.

example of hazmat labels

Figure 9.2
Examples of HazMat Labels

9.3.3 – Lists of Regulated Products

Placards. Placards are used to warn others of HazMat. Placards are signs put on the outside of a vehicle and on bulk packages, which identify the hazard class of the cargo. A placarded vehicle must have at least 4 identical placards. They are put on the front, rear, and both sides of the vehicle. See Figure 9.3. Placards must be readable from all 4 directions. They are at least 9.84 inches (250mm) square, square-on-point, in a diamond shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk packaging display the ID number of their contents on placards or orange panels or white square-on-point displays that are the same size as placards.

Figure 9.3
Examples of HazMat Labels

ID numbers are a 4-digit code used by first responders to identify HazMat. An ID number may be used to identify more than 1 chemical. The letters “NA” or “UN” will precede the ID number. The U.S. DOT Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) lists the chemicals and the ID numbers assigned to them.

There are 3 main lists used by shippers, carriers, and drivers when trying to identify HazMat. Before transporting a material, look for its name on 3 lists. Some materials are on all lists, others on only one. Always check the following lists:

  • CFR, Title 49 §172.101, Hazardous Materials Table.
  • Appendix A to CFR, Title 49 §172.101, List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities.
  • Appendix B to CFR, Title 49 §172.101, List of Marine Pollutants.

Hazardous Materials Table. Figure 9.4 shows part of the Hazardous Materials Table. Column 1 tells which shipping mode(s) the entry affects and other information concerning the shipping description. The next 5 columns show each material’s shipping name, hazard class or division, ID number, packaging group, and required labels.

Column 1: 6 different symbols may appear in Column 1 of the table.

(+)Shows the proper shipping name, hazard class, and packing group to use, even if the material does not meet the hazard class definition.
(A)Means the HazMat described in Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when offered or intended for transport by air unless it is a hazardous substance or waste.
(W)Means the HazMat described in Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when offered or intended for transportation by water unless it is a hazardous substance, waste, or marine pollutant.
(D)Means the proper shipping name is appropriate for describing materials for domestic transportation, but may not be proper for international transportation.
(I)Identifies a proper shipping name that is used to describe materials in international transportation. A different shipping name may be used when only domestic transportation is involved.
(G)Means the HazMat described in Column 2 is a generic shipping name. A generic shipping name must be accompanied by a technical name on the shipping paper.

Column 2: lists the proper shipping names and descriptions of regulated materials. Entries are in alphabetical order so you can quickly find the right entry. The table shows proper shipping names in regular type. The shipping paper must show proper shipping names. Names shown in italics are not proper shipping names.

Column 3: shows a material’s hazard class or division, or the entry “Forbidden.” Never transport a “Forbidden” material. Placard HazMat shipments are based on the quantity and hazard class. You can decide which placards to use if you know these 3 things:

  • Material’s hazard class.
  • Amount being shipped.
  • Amount of all HazMat of all classes on your vehicle.

Column 4: lists the ID number for each proper shipping name. ID numbers are preceded by the letters “UN,” “NA” or “ID.”

The letters “NA” are associated with proper shipping names that are only used within the U.S. and to and from Canada. The letters “ID” are associated with proper shipping names recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO) technical instructions for transportation by air. The ID number must appear on the shipping paper as part of the shipping description and also appear on the package. It also must appear on cargo tanks and other bulk packaging. Police and firefighters use this number to quickly identify the HazMat.

Column 5: shows the packing group (in Roman numerals) assigned to a material.

Column 6: shows the hazard warning label(s) shippers must put on packages of hazardous materials. Some products require use of more than 1 label due to multiple hazards being present.

Column 7: lists the additional (special) provisions that apply to this material. When there is an entry in this column, you must refer to the CFR for specific information. The numbers 1-6 in this column mean the HazMat is a POISON INHALATION HAZARD. POISON INHALATION HAZARD materials have special requirements for shipping papers, marking, and placards.

Column 8: is a 3-part column showing the section numbers covering the packaging requirements for each HazMat.

Note: Columns 9 and 10 do not apply to transportation by highway.

Symbols Hazardous Materials Description & Proper Shipping Names
Hazard Class or Division
Identification Numbers
PG Label Codes
Special Provisions (172.102)
Packaging (173.***)
Non Bulk
Acetaldehyde ammonia
IB8, IP6

Figure 9.4

Appendix A to CFR, Title 49 §172.101 – List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities. DOT and EPA want to know about spills of hazardous substances. They are named in the List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities. See Figure 9.5. Column 3 of the list shows each product’s reportable quantity (RQ). When these materials are being transported in an RQ or greater in 1 package, the shipper displays the letters RQ on the shipping paper and package. The letters RQ may appear before or after the basic description. You or your employer must report any spill of these materials, which occurs in an RQ.

If the words INHALATION HAZARD appear on the shipping paper or package, the rules require display of the POISON INHALATION HAZARD or POISON GAS placards, as appropriate. These placards must be used in addition to other placards, which may be required by the product’s hazard class. Always display the hazard class and POISON INHALATION HAZARD placards, even for small amounts.


Hazardous SubstancesReportable Quantity (RQ) Pounds (Kilograms)
Phenyl mercaptan @100 (45.4)
Phenylmercury acetate100 (45.4)
N-Phenylthiourea100 (45.4)
Phorate10 (4.54)
Phosgene10 (4.54)
Phosphine100 (45.4) *
Phosphoric acid5,000 (2270)
Phosphoric acid, diethyl 4-nitrophenyl ester100 (45.4)
Phosphoric acid, lead salt10 (.454)

* Spills of 10 pounds or more must be reported.

Figure 9.5

Appendix B to CFR, Title 49 §172.101 – List of Marine Pollutants. Appendix B is a list of chemicals that are toxic to marine life. For highway transportation, this list is only used for chemicals in a container with a capacity of 119 gallons or more without a placard or label as specified by HMR.

Any bulk packages of a MARINE POLLUTANT must display the MARINE POLLUTANT marking (white triangle with a fish and an “X” through the fish). This marking (it is not a placard) must also be displayed on the outside of the vehicle. In addition, a notation must be made on the shipping papers near the description of the material: MARINE POLLUTANT.

9.3.4 – Shipping Paper

The shipping paper shown in Figure 9.6 describes a shipment. A shipping paper for HazMat must include:

  • Page numbers if the shipping paper has more than 1 page. The first page must tell the total number of pages. For example, “Page 1 of 4.”
  • A proper shipping description for each HazMat.
  • A shipper’s certification, signed by the shipper, saying they prepared the shipment according to HMR.
shipping paper label

Figure 9.6

9.3.5 – Item Description

If a shipping paper describes both hazardous and nonhazardous products, the HazMat must be:

  • Entered first.
  • Highlighted in a contrasting color.


  • Identified by an “X” placed before the shipping description (ID#, shipping name, hazard class, packing group) in a column titled “HM.” The letters “RQ” may be used instead of “X” if a reportable quantity needs to be identified.

The basic description of HazMat includes the ID number, proper shipping name, hazard class or division, and the packing group, if any, in that order. The packing group is displayed in Roman numerals and may be preceded by “PG.”

The ID number, shipping name, and hazard class must not be abbreviated unless specifically authorized in HMR. The description must also show:

  • The total quantity and unit of measure.
  • The number and type of packages (example: “6 Drums”).
  • The letters “RQ,” if a reportable quantity.
  • If the letters “RQ” appear, the name of the hazardous substance (if not included in the shipping name).
  • For all materials with the letter “G” (Generic) in Column 1, the technical name of the HazMat.

Shipping papers also must list an emergency response telephone number (unless excepted). The emergency response telephone number is the responsibility of the shipper. It can be used by emergency responders to obtain information about any HazMat involved in a spill or fire. The telephone number must be:

  • The number of the person offering the HazMat for transportation (if the shipper/offerer is the emergency response information [ERI] provider).


  • The number of an agency or organization capable of, and accepting responsibility for, providing the detailed information required by paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The person who is registered with the ERI provider must be identified on the shipping paper by name, contract number, or other unique identifier assigned by the ERI provider.

Shippers also must provide emergency response information to the motor carrier for each HazMat being shipped. The emergency response information must be able to be used away from the motor vehicle and provide information on how to safely handle incidents involving the material. At a minimum, it must include the following information:

  • The basic description and technical name.
  • Immediate hazards to health.
  • Risks of fire or explosion.
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident or incident.
  • Immediate methods for handling fires.
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fires.
  • Preliminary first aid measures.

Such information can be on the shipping paper or some other document that includes the basic description and technical name of the HazMat. It also may be in a guidance book, such as the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). Motor carriers may assist shippers by keeping an ERG on each vehicle carrying HazMat. The driver must provide the emergency response information to any federal, state, or local authority responding to or investigating a HazMat incident.

Total quantity, number and type of packages must appear before or after the basic description. The packaging type and the unit of measurement may be abbreviated. For example:

  • 10 ctns, UN1263, Paint, 3, PG II, 500 pounds.

The shipper of hazardous wastes must put the word WASTE before the proper shipping name of the material on the shipping paper (hazardous waste manifest). For example:

  • UN1090, Waste Acetone, 3, PG II.

A nonhazardous material may not be described by using a hazard class or ID number.

Shippers must keep a copy of shipping papers (or an electronic image) for a period of 2 years (3 years for hazardous waste) after the material is accepted by the initial carrier.

If a shipper provides a carrier service only and is not the originator of the shipment, a carrier is required to keep a copy of the shipping paper (or an electronic image) for a period of 1 year.

To view complete regulatory requirements for the transportation of HazMat, refer to CFR, Title 49, Parts 171–180.

9.3.6 – Shipper’s Certification

When the shipper packages HazMat, they certify that the package has been prepared according to HMR. The signed shipper’s certification appears on the original shipping paper. The only exceptions are when a shipper is a private carrier transporting their own product and when the package is provided by the carrier (for example, a cargo tank). Unless a package is clearly unsafe or does not comply with HMR, you may accept the shipper’s certification concerning proper packaging. Some carriers have additional rules about transporting HazMat. Follow your employer’s rules when accepting shipments.

9.3.7 – Package Markings and Labels

Shippers print required markings directly on the package, an attached label, or tag. An important package marking is the name of the HazMat. It is the same name as the one on the shipping paper. The requirements for marking vary by package size and material being transported. When required, the shipper will put the following on the package:

  • The name and address of shipper or consignee.
  • The HazMat shipping name and ID number.
  • The labels required.

It is a good idea to compare the shipping paper to the markings and labels. Always make sure that the shipper shows the correct basic description on the shipping paper, and verifies that the proper labels are shown on the packages. If you are not familiar with the material, ask the shipper to contact your office.

If HMR requires it, the shipper will put RQ, MARINE POLLUTANT, BIOHAZARD, HOT, or INHALATION-HAZARD on the package. Packages with liquid containers inside will also have package orientation markings with the arrows pointing in the correct upright direction. The labels used always reflect the hazard class of the product. If a package needs more than 1 label, the labels must be close together, near the proper shipping name.

9.3.8 – Recognizing Hazardous Materials

Learn to recognize shipments of HazMat. To find out if the shipment includes HazMat, look at the shipping paper. Does it have:

  • An entry with a proper shipping name, hazard class, and ID number?
  • A highlighted entry or one with an X or RQ in the HazMat column?

Other clues suggesting HazMat:

  • What business is the shipper in? Paint dealer? Chemical supply? Scientific supply house? Pest control or agricultural supplier? Explosives, munitions, or fireworks dealer?
  • Are there tanks with diamond labels or placards on the premises?
  • What type of package is being shipped? Cylinders and drums are often used for HazMat shipments.
  • Is a hazard class label, proper shipping name, or ID number on the package?
  • Are there any handling precautions?

9.3.9 – Hazardous Waste Manifest

When transporting hazardous wastes, you must sign by hand and carry a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The name and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number of the shippers, carriers, and destination must appear on the manifest. Shippers must prepare, date, and sign by hand the manifest. Treat the manifest as a shipping paper when transporting the waste. Only give the waste shipment to another registered carrier or disposal/treatment facility. Each carrier transporting the shipment must sign by hand the manifest. After you deliver the shipment, keep your copy of the manifest. Each copy must have all needed signatures and dates, including those of the person to whom you delivered the waste.

9.3.10 – Placarding

Attach the appropriate placards to the vehicle before you drive it. You are only allowed to move an improperly placarded vehicle during an emergency, to protect life or property.

Placards must appear on both sides and ends of the vehicle. The front placard may be on the front of the tractor or trailer. Each placard must be:

  • Easily seen from the direction it faces.
  • Placed so the words or numbers are level and read from left to right.
  • At least 3 inches away from any other markings.
  • Kept clear of attachments or devices such as ladders, doors, and tarpaulins.
  • Kept clean and undamaged so that the color, format, and message are easily seen.
  • Affixed to a background of contrasting color.
  • The use of “Drive Safely” and other slogans is prohibited.

To decide which placards to use, you need to know:

  • The hazard class of the materials.
  • The amount of HazMat shipped.
  • The total weight of all classes of HazMat in your vehicle.
  • Figure 9.7
  • Figure 9.8

9.3.11 – Placard Tables

There are 2 placard tables, Table 1 and 2. Table 1 materials must be placarded whenever any amount is transported. See Figure 9.7.



If your vehicle contains any amount of……Placard as…
1.1 Mass ExplosivesExplosives 1.1
1.2 Project HazardsExplosives 1.2
1.3 Mass Fire HazardsExplosives 1.3
2.3 Poisonous/Toxic GasesPoison Gas
4.3 Dangerous When WetDangerous When Wet
5.2 (Organic Peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, Temperature controlled)Organic Peroxide
6.1 (Inhalation hazard zone A & B only)Poison/toxic inhalation
7 (Radioactive Yellow III label only)Radioactive

Figure 9.7

Except for bulk packaging, the hazard classes in Table 2 need placards only if the total amount transported is 1,001 pounds or more, including the package. Add the amounts from all shipping papers for the Table 2 products you have on board. See Figure 9.8.

You may use DANGEROUS placards instead of separate placards for each Table 2 hazard class when:

  • You have 1,001 pounds or more, of 2 or more, Table 2 hazard classes, requiring different placards, and
  • You have not loaded 2,205 pounds or more, of any Table 2 hazard class material, at any one place. (You must use the specific placard for this material.)
  • The DANGEROUS placard is an option, not a requirement. You can always placard for the materials.
  • If the words INHALATION HAZARD are on the shipping paper or package, you must display POISON GAS or POISON INHALATION placards in addition to any other placards needed by the product’s hazard class. The 1,000 pound exception does not apply to these materials.
  • Materials with a secondary hazard of dangerous when wet must display the DANGEROUS WHEN WET placard in addition to any other placards needed by the product’s hazard class. The 1,000 pound exception to placarding does not apply to these materials.



Category of Material
(Hazard class or division number and additional description, as appropriate)
Placard Name
1.4 Minor ExplosionExplosives 1.4
1.5 Very InsensitiveExplosives 1.5
1.6 Extremely InsensitiveExplosives 1.6
2.1 Flammable GasesFlammable Gas
2.2 Non-Flammable GasesNon-Flammable Gas
3 Flammable LiquidsFlammable
Combustible LiquidCombustible*
4.1 Flammable SolidsFlammable Solid
4.2 Spontaneously CombustibleSpontaneously Combustible
5.1 OxidizersOxidizer
5.2 (other than organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, Temperature Controlled)Organic Peroxide
6.1 (other than inhalation hazard zone A or B)Poison
6.2 Infectious Substances(None)
8 CorrosivesCorrosive
9 Miscellaneous Hazardous MaterialsClass 9**

* FLAMMABLE may be used in place of a COMBUSTIBLE on a cargo tank or portable tank.

** Class 9 Placard is not required for domestic transportation.

Figure 9.8

Placards used to identify the primary or subsidiary hazard class of a material must have the hazard class or division number displayed in the lower corner of the placard. Permanently affixed subsidiary hazard placards without the hazard class number may be used as long as they stay within color specifications.

Placards may be displayed for HazMat even if not required so long as the placard identifies the hazard of the material being transported.

Bulk packaging is a single container with a capacity greater than 119 gallons. A bulk package, and a vehicle transporting a bulk package, must be placarded, even if it only has the residue of HazMat. Certain bulk packages only have to be placarded on the 2 opposite sides or display labels. All other bulk packages must be placarded on all 4 sides.

SUBSECTIONS 9.1, 9.2 AND 9.3

Test your Knowledge

  1. Shippers package in order to (fill in the blank) the material.
  2. Drivers placard their vehicle to (fill in the blank) the risk.
  3. What 3 things do you need to know to decide which placards (if any) you need?
  4. A HazMat ID number must appear on the (fill in the blank) and on the (fill in the blank). The ID number must also appear on cargo tanks and other bulk packaging.
  5. Where must you keep shipping papers describing HazMat?

These questions may be on your test. If you cannot answer them all, reread Subsections 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3.

9.4 – Loading and Unloading

Do all you can to protect containers of HazMat. Do not use any tools which might damage containers or other packaging during loading. Do not use hooks.

9.4.1 – General Loading Requirements

  • Before loading or unloading, set the parking brake. Make sure the vehicle will not move.
  • Many products become more hazardous when exposed to heat. Load HazMat away from heat sources.
  • Watch for signs of leaking or damaged containers. LEAKS SPELL TROUBLE! Do not transport leaking packages. Depending on the material, you, your truck, and others could be in danger. It is illegal to move a vehicle with leaking HazMat.

Containers of HazMat must be braced to prevent movement of packages during transportation.

No Smoking. When loading or unloading HazMat, keep fire away. Do not let people smoke nearby. Never smoke around:

  • Class 1 (Explosives).
  • Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas).
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids).
  • Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers).

Secure Against Movement. Brace containers so they will not fall, slide, or bounce around during transportation. Be very careful when loading containers that have valves or other fittings. All HazMat packages must be secured during transportation.

After loading, do not open any package during your trip. Never transfer HazMat from 1 package to another while in transit. You may empty a cargo tank, but do not empty any other package while it is on the vehicle.

Cargo Heater Rules. There are special cargo heater rules for loading:

  • Class 1 (Explosives).
  • Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas).
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids).

The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters, including automatic cargo heater/air conditioner units. Unless you have read all the related rules, do not load the above products in a cargo space that has a heater.

Use Closed Cargo Space. You cannot have overhang or tailgate loads of:

  • Class 1 (Explosives).
  • Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers).

You must load these HazMat into a closed cargo space unless all packages are:

  • Fire and water-resistant.
  • Covered with a fire and water-resistant tarp.

Precautions for Specific Hazards

Class 1 (Explosives) Materials. Turn your engine off before loading or unloading any explosives. Then check the cargo space. You must:

  • Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater power sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
  • Make sure there are no sharp points that might damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails, broken side panels, and broken floorboards.
  • Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives. The floors must be tight and the liner must be either nonmetallic material or nonferrous metal. (Nonferrous metals are any metal that does not contain iron or iron alloys.)

Use extra care to protect explosives. Never use hooks or other metal tools. Never drop, throw, or roll packages. Protect explosive packages from other cargo that might cause damage.

Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosive from 1 vehicle to another on a public roadway except in an emergency. If safety requires an emergency transfer, set out red warning reflectors, flags, or electric lanterns. You must warn others on the road.

Never transport damaged packages of explosives. Do not accept a package that shows any dampness or oily stain.

Do not transport Division 1.1 or 1.2 Explosives in vehicle combinations if:

  • There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in the combination.
  • The other vehicle in the combination contains:
    — Division 1.1 A (Initiating Explosives).
    — Packages of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials labeled “Yellow III.”
    — Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1 (Poisonous) materials.
    — HazMat in a portable tank, on a DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.

Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5 (Oxidizers) Materials. Class 4 materials are solids that react (including fire and explosion) to water, heat, and air, or even react spontaneously.

Class 4 and 5 materials must be completely enclosed in a vehicle or covered securely. Class 4 and 5 materials, which become unstable and dangerous when wet, must be kept dry while in transit and during loading and unloading. Materials that are subject to spontaneous combustion or heating must be in vehicles with sufficient ventilation.

Class 8 (Corrosive) Materials. If loading by hand, load breakable containers of corrosive liquid one by one. Keep them right side up. Do not drop or roll the containers. Load them onto an even floor surface. Stack carboys only if the lower tiers can bear the weight of the upper tiers safely.

Do not load nitric acid above any other product.

Load charged storage batteries so their liquid will not spill. Keep them right side up. Make sure other cargo will not fall against or short circuit them.


Do Not LoadIn the Same Vehicle With
Division 6.1 or 2.3 (POISON or poison inhalation hazard labeled material).Animal or human food unless the poison package is over packed in an approved way. Foodstuffs are anything you swallow. However, mouthwash, toothpaste, and skin creams are not foodstuff.
Division 2.3 (Poisonous) gas Zone A or Division 6.1 (Poison) liquids, PGI, Zone A.Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives, Division 5.1 (Oxidizers), Class 3 (Flammable Liquids), Class 8 (Corrosive Liquids), Division 5.2 (Organic Peroxides), Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives, Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents), Division 2.1 (Flammable Gases), Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
Charged storage batteries.Division 1.1.
Class 1 (Detonating primers).Any other explosives unless in authorized containers or packages.
Division 6.1 (Cyanides or cyanide mixtures).Acids, corrosive materials, or other acidic materials which could release hydrocyanic acid. For Example: Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s. Silver Cyanide Sodium Cyanide.
Nitric acid (Class 8).Other materials unless the nitric acid is not loaded above any other material.

Figure 9.9

Never load corrosive liquids next to or above:

  • Division 1.4 (Explosives C).
  • Division 4.1 (Flammable Solids).
  • Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet).
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers).
  • Division 2.3, Zone B (Poisonous Gases).

Never load corrosive liquids with:

  • Division 1.1 or 1.2.
  • Division 1.2 or 1.3.
  • Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents).
  • Division 2.3, Zone A (Poisonous Gases).
  • Division 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible Materials).
  • Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (Poison Liquids).

Class 2 (Compressed Gases) Materials, Including Cryogenic Liquids. If your vehicle does not have racks to hold cylinders, the cargo space floor must be flat. The cylinders must be:

  • Held upright.
  • In racks attached to the vehicle or in boxes that will keep them from turning over.

Cylinders may be loaded in a horizontal position (lying down) if it is designed so the relief valve is in the vapor space.

Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1 (Poisonous) Materials. Never transport these materials in containers with interconnections. Never load a package labeled POISON or POISON INHALATION HAZARD in the driver’s cab or sleeper or with food material for human or animal consumption. There are special rules for loading and unloading Class 2 materials in cargo tanks. You must have special training to do this.

Class 7 (Radioactive) Materials. Some packages of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials bear a number called the “transport index.” The shipper labels these packages Radioactive II or Radioactive III, and prints the package’s transport index on the label. Radiation surrounds each package, passing through all nearby packages. To deal with this problem, the number of packages you can load together is controlled. Their closeness to people, animals, and unexposed film is also controlled. The transport index tells the degree of control needed during transportation. The total transport index of all packages in a single vehicle must not exceed 50. Table A in this section (CFR, Title 49 §177.842) shows rules for each transport index. It shows how close you can load Class 7 (Radioactive) materials to people, animals, or film. For example, you cannot leave a package with a transport index of 1.1 within 2 feet of people or cargo space walls.

Mixed Loads. The rules require some products to be loaded separately. You cannot load them together in the same cargo space. Figure 9.9 lists some examples. The regulations (the Segregation Table for Hazardous Materials) name other materials you must keep apart.


Test your Knowledge

  1. Around which hazard classes must you never smoke?
  2. Which 3 hazard classes should not be loaded into a trailer that has a heater/air conditioner unit?
  3. Should the floor liner required for Division 1.1 or 1.2 materials be stainless steel?
  4. At the shipper’s dock, you are given a paper for 100 cartons of battery acid. You already have 100 pounds of dry Silver Cyanide on board. What precautions do you have to take?
  5. Name a hazard class that uses transport indexes to determine the amount that can be loaded in a single vehicle.

These questions may be on your test. If you cannot answer them all, reread Subsection 9.4.

9.5 – Bulk Packaging Marking, Loading and Unloading

The glossary at the end of this section gives the meaning of the word bulk. Cargo tanks are bulk packaging permanently attached to a vehicle. Cargo tanks remain on the vehicle when you load and unload them. Portable tanks are bulk packaging, which are not permanently attached to a vehicle. The product is loaded or unloaded while the portable tanks are off the vehicle. Portable tanks are then put on a vehicle for transportation. There are many types of cargo tanks in use. The most common cargo tanks are MC306 for liquids and MC331 for gases.

9.5.1 – Markings

You must display the ID number of the HazMat in portable tanks and cargo tanks and other bulk packaging (such as dump trucks). ID numbers are in Column 4 of the Hazardous Materials Table. The rules require black 100 mm (3.9 inch) numbers on orange panels, placards, or a white, diamond-shaped background if no placards are required. Specification cargo tanks must show retest date markings.

Portable tanks must also show the lessee or owner’s name. They must also display the shipping name of the contents on two opposing sides. The letters of the shipping name must be at least 2 inches tall on portable tanks with capacities of more than 1,000 gallons and 1-inch tall on portable tanks with capacities of less than 1,000 gallons. The ID number must appear on each side and each end of a portable tank or other bulk packaging that holds 1,000 gallons or more and on 2 opposing sides, if the portable tank holds less than 1,000 gallons. The ID numbers must still be visible when the portable tank is on the motor vehicle. If they are not visible, you must display the ID number on both sides and ends of the motor vehicle.

Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are bulk packaging, but are not required to have the owner’s name or shipping name.

9.5.2 – Tank Loading

The person in charge of loading and unloading a cargo tank must be sure a qualified person is always watching. This person watching the loading or unloading must:

  • Be alert.
  • Have a clear view of the cargo tank.
  • Be within 25 feet of the tank.
  • Know the hazards of the materials involved.
  • Know the procedures to follow in an emergency.
  • Be authorized to move the cargo tank and able to do so.

There are special attendance rules for cargo tanks transporting propane and anhydrous ammonia.

Close all manholes and valves before moving a tank of HazMat, no matter how small the amount in the tank or how short the distance. Manholes and valves must be closed to prevent leaks. It is illegal to move a cargo tank with open valves or covers unless it is empty according to CFR, Title 49 §173.29.

9.5.3 – Flammable Liquids

Turn off your engine before loading or unloading any flammable liquids. Only run the engine if needed to operate a pump. Ground a cargo tank correctly before filling it through an open filling hole. Ground the tank before opening the filling hole, and maintain the ground until after closing the filling hole.

9.5.4 – Compressed Gas

Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas tank closed except when loading and unloading. Unless your engine runs a pump for product transfer, turn it off when loading or unloading. If you use the engine, turn it off after product transfer, and before you unhook the hose. Unhook all loading/unloading connections before coupling, uncoupling, or moving a cargo tank. Always chock trailers and semi-trailers to prevent motion when uncoupled from the power unit.


Test Your Knowledge

  1. What are cargo tanks?
  2. How is a portable tank different from a cargo tank?
  3. Your engine runs a pump used during delivery of compressed gas. Should you turn off the engine before or after unhooking hoses after delivery?

These questions may be on your test. If you cannot answer them all, reread Subsection 9.5.

9.6 – Hazardous Materials — Driving and Parking Rules

9.6.1 – Parking With Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives

Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives within 5 feet of the traveled part of the road. Except for short periods of time needed for vehicle operation necessities (for example, fueling), do not park within 300 feet of:

  • A bridge, tunnel, or building.
  • A place where people gather.
  • An open fire.

If you must park to do your job, do so only briefly.

Do not park on private property unless the owner is aware of the danger. Someone must always watch the parked vehicle. You may let someone else watch it for you only if your vehicle is:

  • On the shipper’s property.
  • On the carrier’s property.
  • On the consignee’s property.

You are allowed to leave your vehicle unattended in a safe haven. A safe haven is an approved place for parking unattended vehicles loaded with explosives. Designation of authorized safe havens is usually made by local authorities.

9.6.2 – Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not Transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives

You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with explosives) within 5 feet of the traveled part of the road only if your work requires it. Do so only briefly. Someone must always watch the vehicle when parked on a public roadway or shoulder. Do not uncouple a trailer and leave it with HazMat on a public street. Do not park within 300 feet of an open fire.

9.6.3 – Attending Placarded Parked Vehicles

The person attending a placarded vehicle must:

  • Be in the vehicle, awake, and not in the sleeper berth, or within 100 feet of the vehicle, and have it within clear view.
  • Be aware of hazards of the materials being transported.
  • Know what to do in emergencies.
  • Be able to move the vehicle, if needed.

9.6.4 – No Flares!

You might break down and have to use stopped vehicle signals. Use reflective triangles or red electric lights. Never use burning signals, such as flares or fuses, around a:

  • Tank used for Class 3 (Flammable Liquids) or Division 2.1 (Flammable Gas) whether loaded or empty.
  • Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives.

9.6.5 – Route Restrictions

Some states and counties require permits to transport HazMat or wastes. They may limit the routes you can use. Local rules about routes and permits change often. It is your job as driver to find out if you need permits or must use special routes. Make sure you have all needed papers before starting.

If you work for a carrier, ask your dispatcher about route restrictions or permits. If you are an independent trucker and are planning a new route, check with state agencies where you plan to travel. Some localities prohibit transportation of HazMat through tunnels, over bridges, or other roadways. Always check before you start.

Whenever placarded, avoid heavily populated areas, crowds, tunnels, narrow streets, and alleys. Take other routes, even if inconvenient, unless there is no other way. Never drive a placarded vehicle near open fires unless you can safely pass without stopping.

If transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives, you must have a written route plan and follow that plan. Carriers prepare the route plan in advance and give the driver a copy. You may plan the route yourself if you pick up the explosives at a location other than your employer’s terminal. Write out the plan in advance. Keep a copy of it with you while transporting the explosives. Deliver shipments of explosives only to authorized persons or leave them in locked rooms designed for explosives storage.

A carrier must choose the safest route to transport placarded radioactive materials. After choosing the route, the carrier must tell the driver about the radioactive materials, and show the route plan. – Transporting Explosives in California

When transporting any amount of Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, or 1.6 EXPLOSIVES or a combination of any of these explosives together with a Division 1.5 EXPLOSIVE (blasting agent) as a delivery service or “for hire,” you must use special routes, safe stopping places, safe parking places, and mandatory vehicle inspection locations prescribed by CHP. When transporting more than 1,000 pounds of these explosives in private carriage (other than as a delivery service) the same requirements apply. – Transporting Inhalation Hazards in California

Shipments of materials designated as POISON INHALATION HAZARD, TOXIC INHALATION HAZARD, or INHALATION HAZARD per CFR, Title 49 §172.203, when transported in bulk packaging (CFR, Title 49 §171.8), must also be transported using special routes, safe stopping places, and mandatory vehicle inspection locations prescribed by CHP for these materials. – Transporting Radioactive Materials in California

There are also specific routes prescribed by the CHP for “Highway-Route Controlled Quantity (HRCQ)” and “Radioactive Materials (RAM)” shipments.

Drivers must have in their possession, a copy of the routes supplied by the carrier applicable to their shipment when transporting these materials. The routes, stopping places and inspection locations are contained in CCR, Title 13 §§1150–1152.8 (Explosives), 1155–1157.20 (IH), and 1158–1159 (HRCQ). These requirements are also published by CHP.

Motor carriers may receive these publications, including revisions, by indicating their request on the APPLICATION FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION LICENSE (CHP 361M) form or by contacting the DMV Commercial Vehicle Section, Routing Coordinator at (916) 327-3310. – California General Hazardous Materials Routing Requirement

The following general routing and parking restrictions (CVC §31303) apply to HazMat and waste shipments for which the display of vehicle placards and/or markings is required per CVC §27903 (except shipments subject to, and in conformance with, special routing and related requirements):

  • Unless specifically restricted or prohibited (CVC §31304), use state or interstate highways that offer the least transit time whenever possible.
  • Whenever practical, avoid congested highways, places where crowds are assembled, and residence districts (CVC §515).
  • Deviation from designated routes is not excusable on the basis of operating convenience.
  • Do not leave a loaded vehicle unattended or parked overnight in a residence district.
  • Except for specifically restricted or prohibited highways, other highways may be used that provide necessary access for pick up or delivery consistent with safe vehicle operation.
  • Highways that provide reasonable access to fuel, repairs, rest or food facilities that are designed to and intended for commercial vehicle parking, when that access is safe and when the facility is within 1/2 mile of the points of exit and/or entry to the designated route.
  • Restricted or prohibited routes may only be used when no other lawful alternative exists. The CHP also publishes a list of restricted or prohibited highways (CVC §31304). Copies of this list may be obtained by contacting the DMV Commercial Vehicle Section, Routing Coordinator at (916) 327-3310.

9.6.6 – No Smoking

Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded cargo tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases). Also, do not smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe within 25 feet of any vehicle, which contains:

  • Class 1 (Explosives).
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids).
  • Class 4.1 (Flammable Solids).
  • Class 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible).
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers)

9.6.7 – Refuel With Engine Off

Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle containing HazMat. Someone must always be at the nozzle, controlling fuel flow.

9.6.8 – 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher

The power unit of placarded vehicles must have a fire extinguisher with a Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating of 10 B:C or more.

9.6.9 – Check Tires

Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

You must examine each tire on a motor vehicle at the beginning of each trip and each time the vehicle is parked.

The only acceptable way to check tire pressure is to use a tire pressure gauge.

Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except to the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove any overheated tire. Place it a safe distance from your vehicle. Do not drive until you correct the cause of the overheating. Remember to follow the rules about parking and attending placarded vehicles. They apply even when checking, repairing, or replacing tires.

9.6.10 – Where to Keep Shipping Papers and Emergency Response Information

Do not accept a HazMat shipment without a properly prepared shipping paper. A shipping paper for HazMat must always be easily recognized. Other people must be able to find it quickly after an accident.

  • Clearly distinguish HazMat shipping papers from others by tabbing them or keeping them on top of your stack of papers.
  • When you are behind the wheel, keep shipping papers within your reach (with your seat belt on), or in a pouch on the driver’s door. They must be easily seen by someone entering the cab.
  • When not behind the wheel, leave shipping papers in the driver’s door pouch or on the driver’s seat.
  • Emergency response information must be kept in the same location as the shipping paper.

Papers for Division 1.1, 1.2 or, 1.3 Explosives

A carrier must give each driver transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives a copy of FMCSR, Part 397. The carrier must also give written instructions on what to do if delayed or in an accident. The written instructions must include:

  • The names and telephone numbers of people to contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
  • The nature of the explosives transported.
  • The precautions to take in emergencies such as fires, accidents, or leaks.

Drivers must sign a receipt for these documents.

You must be familiar with, and have in your possession while driving, the:

  • Shipping papers.
  • Written emergency instructions.
  • A written route plan.
  • A copy of FMCSR, Part 397.

9.6.11 – Equipment for Chlorine

A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must have an approved gas mask in the vehicle. The driver must also have an emergency kit for controlling leaks in dome cover plate fittings on the cargo tank.

9.6.12 – Stop Before Railroad Crossings

Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:

  • Is placarded.
  • Carries any amount of chlorine.
  • Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty, used for HazMat.

You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail. Proceed only when you are sure no train is coming and you can clear the tracks without stopping. Do not shift gears while crossing the tracks.

9.7 – Hazardous Materials — Emergencies

9.7.1 – Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)

DOT has a guidebook for firefighters, police, and industry workers on how to protect themselves and the public from HazMat. The guide is indexed by the proper shipping name and HazMat ID number. Emergency personnel look for these things on the shipping paper. That is why it is vital that the proper shipping name, ID number, label, and placards are correct.

9.7.2 – Accidents/Incidents

As a professional driver, your job at the scene of an accident or an incident is to:

  • Keep people away from the scene.
  • Limit the spread of material, only if you can safely do so.
  • Communicate the danger of the HazMat to emergency response personnel.
  • Provide emergency responders with the shipping papers and emergency response information.

Follow this checklist:

  • Check to see that your driving partner is okay.
  • Keep shipping papers with you.
  • Keep people far away and upwind.
  • Warn others of the danger.
  • Call for help.
  • Follow your employer’s instructions.

9.7.3 – Fires

You might have to control minor truck fires on the road. However, unless you have the training and equipment to do so safely, do not fight HazMat fires. Dealing with HazMat fires requires special training and protective gear.

If you discover a fire, call for help! You may use the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck fires from spreading to cargo before firefighters arrive. Feel trailer doors to see if they are hot before opening them. If hot, you may have a cargo fire and should not open the doors. Opening doors lets air in and may make the fire flare up. Without air, many fires only smolder until firefighters arrive, doing less damage. If your cargo is already on fire, it is not safe to fight the fire. Keep the shipping papers with you to give to emergency personnel as soon as they arrive. Warn other people of the danger and keep them away.

If you discover a cargo leak, call for help! Identify the HazMat leaking using shipping papers, labels, or package location. Do not touch any leaking material—many people injure themselves by touching HazMat. Do not try to identify the material or find the source of a leak by smell. Toxic gases can destroy your sense of smell and can injure or kill you, even if they do not smell. Never eat, drink, or smoke around a leak or spill.

If HazMat is spilling from your vehicle, call for help! Do not move your vehicle any more than safety requires. You may move off the road and away from places where people gather, if doing so serves safety. Only move your vehicle if you can do so without danger to yourself or others.

Never continue driving with HazMat leaking from your vehicle in order to find a phone booth, truck stop, help, or similar reason. Remember, the carrier pays for the cleanup of contaminated parking lots, roadways, and drainage ditches. The costs are enormous, so do not leave a lengthy trail of contamination. If HazMat is spilling from your vehicle:

  • Park it.
  • Secure the area.
  • Stay there.
  • Use your cell phone or CB to call for help.
  • If your cell phone or CB does not work, send someone else for help.

When sending someone for help, give that person:

  • A description of the emergency.
  • Your exact location and direction of travel.
  • Your name, the carrier’s name, and the name of the community or city where your terminal is located.
  • The proper shipping name, hazard class, and ID number of the HazMat, if you know them.

This is a lot for someone to remember. It is a good idea to write it all down for the person you send for help. The emergency response team must know these things to find you and to handle the emergency. They may have to travel miles to get to you. This information will help them to bring the right equipment the first time, without having to go back for it. (It may be quicker to take a picture of your shipping papers and emergency contact information with their cell phone.)

Never move your vehicle, if doing so will cause contamination or damage the vehicle. Keep upwind and away from roadside rest stops, truck stops, cafes, and businesses. Never try to repack leaking containers. Unless you have the training and equipment to repair leaks safely, do not try it. Call your dispatcher or supervisor for instructions and, if needed, emergency personnel.

9.7.4 – Responses to Specific Hazards

Class 1 (Explosives). If your vehicle has a breakdown or accident while carrying explosives, warn others of the danger. Keep bystanders away. Do not allow smoking or open fire near the vehicle. If there is a fire, warn everyone of the danger of explosion.

Remove all explosives before separating vehicles involved in an accident. Place the explosives at least 200 feet from vehicles and occupied buildings. Stay a safe distance away.

Class 2 (Compressed Gases). If compressed gas is leaking from your vehicle, warn others of the danger. Only permit those involved in removing the hazard or wreckage to get close. You must notify the shipper if compressed gas is involved in any accident.

Unless you are fueling machinery used in road construction or maintenance, do not transfer a flammable compressed gas from one tank to another on any public roadway.

Class 3 (Flammable Liquids). If you are transporting a flammable liquid and have an accident or your vehicle breaks down, prevent bystanders from gathering. Warn people of the danger. Keep them from smoking.

Never transport a leaking cargo tank farther than needed to reach a safe place. Get off the roadway if you can do so safely. Do not transfer flammable liquid from one vehicle to another on a public roadway except in an emergency.

Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5 (Oxidizing Materials). If a flammable solid or oxidizing material spills, warn others of the fire hazard. Do not open smoldering packages of flammable solids. Remove them from the vehicle if you can safely do so. Also, remove unbroken packages if it will decrease the fire hazard.

Class 6 (Poisonous Materials and Infectious Substances). It is your job to protect yourself, other people, and property from harm. Remember that many products classed as poison are also flammable. If you think a Division 2.3 (Poison Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poison Materials) might be flammable, take the added precautions needed for flammable liquids or gases. Do not allow smoking, open flame, or welding near the vehicle. Warn others of the hazards of fire, of inhaling vapors, or coming in contact with the poison.

A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 (Poison Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poisons) must be checked for stray poison before being used again.

If a Division 6.2 (Infectious Substances) package is damaged in handling or transportation, you should immediately contact your supervisor. Packages that appear to be damaged or show signs of leakage should not be accepted.

Class 7 (Radioactive Materials). If radioactive material is involved in a leak or broken package, tell your dispatcher or supervisor as soon as possible. If there is a spill, or if an internal container might be damaged, do not touch or inhale the material. Do not use the vehicle until it is cleaned and checked with a survey meter.

Class 8 (Corrosive Materials). If corrosives spill or leak during transportation, be careful to avoid further damage or injury when handling the containers. Parts of the vehicle exposed to a corrosive liquid must be thoroughly washed with water. After unloading, wash out the interior as soon as possible before reloading.

If continuing to transport a leaking tank would be unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, contain any liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep bystanders away from the liquid and its fumes. Do everything possible to prevent injury to you and to others.

9.7.5 – Required Notification

The National Response Center helps coordinate emergency response to chemical hazards. It is a resource to police and firefighters. It maintains a 24-hour toll-free phone line listed below. You or your employer must phone when any of the following occur as a direct result of a HazMat incident:

  • A person is killed.
  • An injured person requires hospitalization.
  • Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
  • The general public is evacuated for more than 1 hour.
  • One or more major transportation arteries or facilities are closed for one hour or more.
  • Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected radioactive contamination occurs.
  • Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected contamination occurs involving shipment of infectious substances (bacteria or toxins).
  • The release of a marine pollutant in a quantity greater than 119 gallons for a liquid or 882 pounds for a solid; or a situation exists (for example, continuing danger to life exists at the scene of an incident) that, in the judgment of the carrier, should be reported to:

National Response Center

Persons telephoning the National Response Center should be ready to give:

  • Their name.
  • Name and address of the carrier they work for.
  • Phone number where they can be reached.
  • Date, time, and location of incident.
  • The extent of injuries, if any.
  • Classification, name, and quantity of HazMat involved, if such information is available.
  • Type of incident, nature of HazMat involvement, and whether a continuing danger to life exists at the scene.

If a reportable quantity of hazardous substance was involved, the name of the shipper and quantity of the hazardous substance discharged.

Be prepared to give your employer the required information as well. Carriers must make detailed written reports within 30 days of an incident to:


The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) in Washington, DC, also has a 24-hour toll-free phone line. CHEMTREC was created to provide emergency personnel with technical information about the physical properties of HazMat. The National Response Center and CHEMTREC are in close communication. If you call either one, they will tell the other about the problem, when appropriate.

Do not leave radioactive Yellow II or Yellow III labeled packages near people, animals, or film longer than shown in Figure 9.10.

radioactive separation table a

Figure 9.10

California Immediate Spill Reporting

Spills of HazMat on California highways must be reported immediately to the CHP office or police department having traffic control jurisdiction (CVC §23112.5).

Classes of Hazardous Materials

HazMat is categorized into 9 major hazard classes and additional categories for consumer commodities and combustible liquids. The classes of HazMat are listed in Figure 9.11.



ClassClass NameExample
1ExplosivesAmmunition, Dynamite, Fireworks
2GasesPropane, Oxygen, Helium
3FlammableGasoline Fuel, Acetone
4Flammable SolidsMatches, Fuses
5OxidizersAmmonium Nitrate, Hydrogen Peroxide
6PoisonsPesticides, Arsenic
7RadioactiveUranium, Plutonium
8CorrosivesHydrochloric Acid, Battery Fluid
9Miscellaneous Hazardous MaterialsFormaldehyde, Asbestos
NoneORM-D (Other Regulated Material-Domestic)Hair Spray, Charcoal
NoneCombustible LiquidsFuel Oils, Lighter Fluid

Figure 9.11


Test Your Knowledge

  1. If your placarded trailer has dual tires, how often should you check the tires?
  2. What is a safe haven?
  3. How close to the traveled part of the roadway can you park with Division 1.2 or 1.3 materials?
  4. How close can you park to a bridge, tunnel, or building with the same load?
  5. What type of fire extinguisher must placarded vehicles carry?
  6. You are hauling 100 pounds of Division 4.3 (DANGEROUS WHEN WET) materials. Do you need to stop before a railroad-highway crossing?
  7. At a rest area you discover your HazMat shipment is slowly leaking from the vehicle. There is no phone around. What should you do?
  8. What is the Emergency Response Guide (ERG)?

These questions may be on your test. If you cannot answer them all, reread Subsections 9.6 and 9.7.

9.8 – Hazardous Materials Glossary

This glossary presents definitions of certain terms used in this section. A complete glossary of terms can be found in the federal HMR (CFR, Title 49 §171.8). You should have an up-to-date copy of these rules for your reference.

You will not be tested on this glossary.

9.8.1 – CFR, Title 49 §171.8
Definitions and Abbreviations

Bulk packaging—Packaging, other than a vessel or barge, including a transport vehicle or freight container, in which HazMat 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) and a maximum capacity greater than 119 gallons (450 L) as a receptacle for a solid. OR
  3. A water capacity greater than 1,000 pounds (454 kg) as a receptacle for a gas as defined in CFR, Title 49 §173.115.

Cargo tank—A bulk packaging which is:

  1. A tank intended primarily for the carriage of liquids or gases and includes appurtenances, reinforcements, fittings, and closures (for “tank” definition, see CFR, Title 49 §§178.3451(c), 178.3371, or 178.3381, as applicable).
  2. Permanently attached to or forms a part of a motor vehicle, or not permanently attached to a motor vehicle but which, by reason of its size, construction, or attachment to a motor vehicle, is loaded or unloaded without being removed from the motor vehicle.
  3. Not fabricated under a specification for cylinders, portable tanks, tank cars, or multiunit tank car tanks.

Carrier—A person who transports passengers or property in commerce by rail, car, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel.

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

Division—A subdivision of a hazard class.

EPA—U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

FMCSR—The 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.

Fuel tank—A tank, other than a cargo tank, used to transport flammable or combustible liquid or compressed gas for the purpose of supplying fuel for propulsion of the transport vehicle to which it is attached, or for the operation of other equipment on the transport vehicle.

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

Hazard class—The category of hazard assigned to a HazMat under the definitional criteria of Part 173 and the provisions of the CFR, Title 49 §172.101 table. A material may meet the defining criteria for more than one hazard class but is assigned to only one hazard class.

Hazardous materials (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 definition criteria for hazard classes and divisions in CFR, Title 49 Part 173, Subchapter C.

Hazardous substance—A material, including its mixtures and solutions, that:

  1. Is listed in Appendix A to CFR, Title 49, Part §§173 and §172.101.
  2. Is in a quantity, in one package, which equals or exceeds the reportable quantity (RQ) listed in Appendix A to CFR, Title 49, Part 173 and §172.101. AND
  3. When in a mixture or solution for:
    Radionuclides, conforms to paragraph 7 of Appendix A to CFR, Title 49, Part 173 and §172.101.
    Other than radionuclides, is in a concentration by weight which equals or exceeds the concentration corresponding to the RQ of the material, as shown in Figure 9.12.


RQ Pounds (Kilograms)Concentration by Weight – Percent Concentration by Weight – PPM
5,000 (2,270)10100,000
1,000 (454)220,000
100 (45.4).22,000
10 (4.54).02200
1 (0.454).00220

Figure 9.12

This definition does not apply to petroleum products that are lubricants or fuels (see CFR, Title 40 §300.6).

Hazardous waste—Any material that is subject to the Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the EPA specified in CFR, Title 40 §262.

Intermediate bulk container (IBC)—A rigid or flexible portable packaging, other than a cylinder or portable tank, which is designed for mechanical handling. Standards for IBCs manufactured in the U.S. are set forth in CFR, Title 49, §178 Subparts N and O.

Limited quantity—The maximum amount of a HazMat for which there may be specific labeling or packaging exceptions.

Marking—The descriptive name, ID number, instructions, cautions, weight, specification, United Nations (UN) marks, or combinations thereof, required on outer packaging of HazMat.

Mixture—A material composed of more than 1 chemical compound or element.

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

Nonbulk packaging—A packaging, which has:

  1. A maximum capacity of  119 gallons (450 L) or less as a receptacle for a liquid.
  2. A maximum net mass of 882 pounds (400 kg) or less and a maximum capacity of 119 gallons (450 L) or less as a receptacle for a solid. OR
  3. A water capacity greater than 1,000 pounds (454 kg) or less as a receptacle for a gas as defined in CFR, Title 49 §173.115.
  4. Regardless of the definition of bulk packaging, a maximum net mass of 400 kg (882 pounds) or less for a bag or box conforming to the applicable requirements for specification packaging, including the maximum net mass limitations, provided in CFR, Title 49, Part 178, Subpart L.

N.O.S.—Not otherwise specified.

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

PHMSA—The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC 20590.

Portable tank—Bulk packaging (except a cylinder having a water capacity of 1,000 pounds or less) designed 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, multiunit tank car tank, or trailer carrying 3AX, 3AAX, or 3T cylinders.

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

P.s.i. or psi—Pounds per square inch.

P.s.i.a. or psia—Pounds per square inch absolute.

Reportable quantity (RQ)—The quantity specified in Column 2 of the 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 or 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 by (insert mode of transportation, such as rail, aircraft motor vehicle, or vessel) according to applicable international and national government regulations.

Shipping paper—A shipping order, bill of lading, manifest, or other shipping document serving a similar purpose prepared in accordance with CFR, Title 49, Part 172, Subpart C.

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

Transport vehicle—A cargo-carrying vehicle such as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semi-trailer, 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.

UN standard packaging—Packaging specifications conforming to standards in UN recommendations.

UN—United Nations