The trucking industry has had continued growth for the past few years with a 5.4 percent increase in 2018 and an additional 2-3 percent projected for 2019. With 75% of the freight revenue generated in the United States from trucking, it is clear to see why the industry is growing and why we, at Savannah Transport are looking for career-oriented drivers to fill our HAZMAT trucking jobs.
If you have ever thought about joining the trucking industry or are interested in a HAZMAT trucking job, now is your chance! In this article you will learn what you need to start this lucrative career, how to apply for a job today with Savannah Transport, and tips for success.
What is HAZMAT Driving?
HAZMAT truck drivers are those who transport hazardous materials from place to place. A hazardous material is any radiological, chemical, physical, or biological agent that could potentially harm the environment, animals, or humans by itself or through the interaction with other factors (for example, water, air, or another chemical). Some examples of hazardous materials include:
● Corrosive materials
● Oxidizing Substances
● Flammable or Combustible liquids and solids
● Radioactive materials
At Savannah Transport, we typically haul industrial waste classified as flammable materials. When transporting hazardous materials, vehicles must be labeled with the Department of Transportation (DOT) HAZMAT placards like the ones depicted in the picture below.
Hazardous Material Placarding Chart
How to become a HAZMAT Driver
Arriving at each location safely without incident is every trucking company’s top priority. However, hauling HAZMAT comes with an even greater amount of of risk, responsibility, and expectations due to the cargo being delivered.
On average, most companies require at least three years of accident-free driving and HAZMAT hauling experience. At Savannah Transport, we require our drivers to have two years of driving experience and we will assist our drivers with HAZMAT licensing. Applying for a HAZMAT trucking job with Savannah Transport will begin your career in this growing industry.
There are a few requirements before you start your over the road journey of transporting hazardous materials.
Step 1. Have or obtain a Commercial Driver’s License
- The requirements differ from state to state, but in general all states require a learning period where you practice driving with another CDL holder. Learn more about obtaining your CDL in Kansas here.
- Pass a driving skills test at a certified DMV location after your learning period.
Step 2. Obtain a HAZMAT Certification
- Provide proof of identification – you must be at least 21 years of age.
- Supply proof of citizenship or legal residence.
- Complete medical and eye exams.
- Pass a HAZMAT knowledge test.
- Submit your application! The fee for submitting a HAZMAT application typically ranges between $80-$100.
At the same time you are submitting your application, the Transportation Security Administration will conduct a background check ensuring your qualifications and that you have been trained to operate safely on the road.
Step 3. Obtain a Tanker Endorsement*
- Take a tanker endorsement knowledge test (fees apply). Click here to check your state DMV requirements and regulations on endorsements.
Tanker endorsement is needed to acknowledge the driver is licensed and prepared to safely haul loads containing large quantities of liquid. Having a tanker endorsement can increase your flexibility and load-carrying options to haul more and take on better paying loads.
*As of March 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has installed a new regulation changing the definition of “tanker”; this requires that drivers obtain a tanker endorsement. Those who drive dry vans, reefers, flatbeds, and box trucks are required to have the endorsement if what they are hauling falls into any of the following categories:
- Your cargo liquid or gaseous individual containers are larger than 119 gallon capacity.
- The containers are loaded, not empty.
- The total combined volume in containers exceeds 1,000 gallons.
Options As a HAZMAT Driver
After getting the required license and endorsements, you know have two options of how you want to enter into the industry:
- Be a company driver; or,
- Become an owner-operator.
Whichever one you choose, each driving option varies with the company you choose to work for and comes with positives and negatives. Doing research will help you choose the option that is best for your lifestyle.
Pros of Owner-Operating:
● Choosing your own equipment – Driving whatever truck you like
● Be your own boss – Ability to choose your own routes
● Time off – Independent owner with greater flexibility
Cons of Owner-Operating:
● Financial risk – More expensive to purchase a truck
● Dependence – Relying on the truck company for miles
● Greater Stress – Due to financial risk and truck maintenance
As you can see, whether driving as an owner-operator or company driver, success in the industry can be achieved!
Tips for new HAZMAT Drivers
Below is a list of top tips from professionals in the industry to ensure that when you get your HAZMAT trucking job, you have the best HAZMAT driving experience.
- Plan Ahead – know your routes, plan for stops, and understand construction detours.
- Be aware of your surroundings – while driving and when dropping loads.
- Become familiar and regularly maintain your truck – this provides safety for you and others on the roads and helps you stay ahead of breakdowns.
- Ask questions – nothing is new, use the experience of seasoned drivers in the industry.
If you are considering becoming a truck driver, getting your HAZMAT and tanker endorsements can put you ahead of the competition and increase your flexibility when looking for a job. Savannah Transport would be happy to discuss further training options and positions available for HAZMAT Company Drivers and Owner-Operators. Contact us today to talk about HAZMAT Trucking Jobs.
Listen to what Shane has to say about his HAZMAT Trucking Job
1. Hit The Road Jack, “HAZMAT Trucking | What it’s all about”, 16, October 2018, https://www.alltruckjobs.com/blog/hazmat-trucking-whats-it-all-about/
2. IHMM,”What are Hazardous Materials?”, 2018, https://www.ihmm.org/about-ihmm/what-are-hazardous-materials
3. “How to become a HAZMAT Driver?”, https://www.truckerstraining.com/become-hazmat-driver/
4. “What you need to know about owner operator vs company driver jobs” 30, November 2018, Shttps://www.smart-trucking.com/owner-operator-vs-company-driver/
5. “What is tanker endorsment & how much does it cost?”, https://www.cdl.com/trucking-resources/experienced-truck-drivers/what-is-tanker-endorse ment-and-cost
6. Suppose U Drive, “Why The Trucking Industry Will Continue To Grow in 2019” 22, January 2019, https://supposeudrive.com/why-the-trucking-industry-will-continue-to-grow-in-2019/
7. Conway, Lindsay “New Tanker Endorsment Regulations: Are You Driving Illegally?”, 4, December 2014 https://trinitylogistics.com/blog/new-tanker-endorsement-regulations-are-you-driving-illegally/