A small percentage of shipments travelling on North American highways is classified as Hazardous. According the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS includes those materials designated by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation as posing an unreasonable threat to the public and the environment. The term “Hazardous Materials” includes all of the following: (1) Hazardous Substances, (2) Hazardous Wastes, (3) Marine Pollutants, (4) Elevated Temperature Material (5) Materials identified in 172.101, and (6) Materials meeting the definitions contained in Part 173. Always verify that your shipping company has the appropriate placards for hazardous freight.
Hazardous or “Hazmat” goods fall under the following classifications:
- Class 1 Explosives
- Class 2 Gases
- Class 3 Flammable Liquid
- Class 4 Flammable Solid
- Class 5 Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides
- Class 6 Poisonous (toxic) and Infectious Substances
- Class 7 Radioactive Material
- Class 8 Corrosives
- Class 9 Miscellaneous & Dangerous Goods
Each carrier hauling Hazmat freight must be appropriately certified and insured and each vehicle hauling such goods must affix the appropriate placards to the outside of their trailers.
After the events of 9-11, and the resulting tightening border regulations, many international carriers ceased to maintain hazmat designations.