Our society uses a lot of materials considered hazardous. They are used in, or are the byproduct of, industrial processes, power plants, the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and fuels. Much of the land transport of hazardous materials is the job of the trucking industry.
Because of the risks to both the truck driver and the public, Hazmat transport pays better. Yearly pay for Hazmat truck drivers can be $50,000 and more. While this makes Hazmat transport attractive, keep in mind the materials you’ll be pulling behind you every day:
- Flammable gases
- Poison gases
- Corrosive gases
- Corrosive solids
- Corrosive liquids
- Flammable liquids
- Flammable solids
- Flammable solids that spontaneously combust
- Poisonous materials
- Infectious agents
- Radioactive materials
- Hazardous waste
In an accident, some hazardous materials can affect more than merely the truck driver and the surrounding cars. Entire neighborhoods and communities can be affected, and possibly rendered uninhabitable. This is why getting a Hazmat truck driving job is more difficult than getting driving jobs pulling ordinary freight. In addition to the usual requirements of being a truck driver, you must pass your state’s hazardous materials endorsement knowledge test, have no criminal record, have no mental illness, and must pass a security check by the transportation security agency. You should also have a good driving record.
The challenges of the job include careful route planning to avoid roads that don’t allow the particular material you are hauling. There are a lot of regulations you must follow including where you can pull over for the night. Failure to keep good records may result in large fines or imprisonment.
If you’re a professional who has what it takes to haul hazardous materials, then you have access to job opportunities closed off to the rest of the trucking world. In addition, a Hazmat qualification doesn’t limit you to Hazmat jobs. It opens the way for other high-paying trucking work that only use the very best drivers.
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