Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials
Information Regarding Hazmat Truck Insurance
Trucks are required to obtain insurance that meets Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards. Trucks are insured differently depending on their measured liability. For example, if a truck driver has a poor driving record, then it is likely more expensive to insure them. In the same vein, if a truck is more dangerous and at-risk for an accident, then their insurance will be higher as well so that it can cover for more damages. This is true in the case of trucks that carry hazardous materials. Hazardous materials are strictly defined by type and by weight.
A truck may be carrying hazardous materials, but if it is not the primary cargo and not over a certain amount, then the driver may not need to have hazardous material carrier insurance.
What Qualifies as a Hazardous Material?
When it comes to commercial truck cargo, there are various materials that will necessitate this type of insurance:
- Class 7 Radioactive Material
- More Than 55 Pounds of Explosives
- Division 1.5 or Greater Explosives
- Toxic Inhalation Hazards (More Than 1 Liter)
- Compressed, Refrigerated, or Liquefied Methane / Natural Gas (Over 3,500 Gallons)
If a driver does not possess the proper insurance and drives a truck carrying the above materials, then both the driver and the trucking company will incur fines and violations. The minimum penalty is $275; however, this may actually incur criminal charges, and the related fines, if the violation is serious enough.
Truck drivers need to take every precaution to ensure they have hazmat truck insurance. If they are not, and they are involved in a collision, then this can create serious problems for victims of these accidents. The company, among a variety of precautions that should be taken, should strictly evaluate all cargo to determine if it meets the hazardous material standard and make sure that the driver is properly licensed to transport these materials.
In order for a commercial driver to be able to transport these materials, they not only need to possess a commercial driver's license (CDL) per FMCSA standards, but must possess an "H" endorsement.
Hazmat Safety Permit (HMSP)
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA, drivers that carry hazardous materials must possess a hazmat safety permit. Primarily, radioactive materials and explosives are the materials that require safety permits.
A HMSP is also required for those carrying materials that are toxic if inhaled:
- Hazard Zone A: More than 1 liter of the materials that meet this criteria require a safety permit
- Hazard Zone B: This is bulk packaging of toxic inhalation hazards in a quantity of 119 gallons or more
- Hazard Zone C & D: These defined by the CFR and being transported in quantities equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons
- Methane: Compressed or refrigerated liquid methane, natural gas, or other petrochemical that has a methane content of at least 85 percent and comes in a quantity of 3,500 gallons or greater
Do Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials Need a Special Permit?
Because of the potential for catastrophic injuries in a truck accident involving hazardous cargo, motor carriers hauling hazardous materials are required to have a special permit to transport certain types and quantities of hazardous materials. These include radioactive materials, explosives, materials that are poisonous to breathe and certain compressed gases. Trucks carrying hazardous materials also need hazmat truck insurance.
About 3,100 U.S. carriers must have these special permits.
How Arnold & Itkin Can Help with Your Case
Arnold & Itkin represents victims of truck accidents nationwide. Our aggressive truck accident lawyers are prepared to stand up to trucking companies to secure a just settlement that recognizes the severity of your injuries. We have extensive experience handling commercial motor vehicle accidents and a track record of success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
To learn more about our services and how we can help you, contact our offices today.