The driver shortage is expected to hit 100,000 by 2025 and 160,000 by 2028, according to the American Trucking Associations. (1) Shippers, receivers, and brokers are having an even greater difficulty finding qualified hazmat drivers to haul their freight. This high demand is partly due to the struggles drivers are facing in becoming hazmat certified, which includes fees and the lengthy process to acquire their endorsement.
What’s Involved in Becoming a Hazmat Certified Driver?
The process to obtain a hazmat certification can seem complex and cumbersome to many. Even those with an impeccable driving record could find themselves intimidated by the time and effort that goes into getting their hazmat shipping certification.
In order to receive their hazmat endorsement, drivers must first have an up-to-date CDL. Individuals must then take a hazmat knowledge test which varies by state but typically consists of 30-50 questions. Drivers must take this test every time they renew their hazmat endorsement. Once passed, the individual must then apply for a Federal Security Threat Assessment and have their fingerprints taken. The entire process can take up to 90 days. This doesn’t include the fees drivers must endure to obtain this certification.
Are Their Different Types of Hazmat Endorsements?
The answer is yes. Drivers can obtain an H Endorsement (which covers all of the hazmat placards), N Endorsement (tanker), or X Endorsement (tanker with a minimum of 119 gallons of hazardous gas). (2)
Should I Get a Tanker Endorsement?
Obtaining a tanker endorsement can open up a range of opportunities for you and if you work for a company that already does chemical transport, a tanker endorsement goes a lot further than just a hazmat certification. Drivers who possess these additional endorsements are in demand, which makes them stand out on a resume and due to the skill involved, these drivers are some of the highest paid. (3)
How Long is a Hazmat Endorsement Good For?
Simply put, 5 years. 90 days prior to its expiration, a driver will be contacted by the TSA and will need to go through the background check, fingerprints, and pay a fee, while some states require the written test to be retaken. (2) Additionally, training must be done every 3 years to keep up-to-date with requirements.
What is the Cost of Gaining a Hazmat Endorsement?
When all is said and done, a driver would be looking at a total cost of around $100, which includes $86.50 for the background check, along with application and CDL fees. (2)
Is it Worth It?
According to CDL.com, drivers who are hazmat certified can earn as much as $1000 more per week, while a tanker endorsement can earn close to $20k more a year. Those drivers who are caught hauling hazmat materials without the proper endorsements or violating hazmat laws can lose their CDL or receive a maximum fine of up to $75,000. (2)
Why Does Becoming a Hazmat Certified Driver Matter?
As noted above, most truck drivers have the experience and driving record to prove that they know what they’re doing when it comes to transporting goods via truck. When a driver is also one who is hazmat certified, he or she has the knowledge and training required to safely deliver, handle and dispose of a range of materials that are deemed to be hazardous in some way. These include chemicals, matches, fuel, fireworks, paint, batteries, and cleaning products to name a few. A hazmat driver is often a “first responder” of sorts and vital to keeping the roadways safe. Because the truck driver is often the first one to notice and respond to hazardous situations involving sensitive materials, it’s critical that they have the pertinent training and qualifications.
How Hazardous Spills Can Affect Your Business
If your business involves hazmat transportation, then you have additional responsibilities that others do not. An accident in chemical transport can lead to fire, explosion, reactivity, health concerns, and damages to the environment. Not only are you responsible for transporting, using, disposing and storing the materials in a safe and compliant manner, you’re also required to pay the applicable costs associated with these actions. This liability covers those costs associated with the cleanup and containment that are necessary in the event of a spill or release of a hazardous substance. You are also responsible for the costs of any damages that could result from such a spill. The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal entity in the United States that oversees these issues. In addition to the costs noted above, it’s also possible that your company will be penalized for the release of the hazardous materials. In some cases, the cost of these penalties could be as much as $25,000 per day.
Looking for Hazmat Tucking Companies? We Can Help
Road Scholar knows how vital safe and knowledgeable truck drivers are to the country’s economy and your business. That’s why we provide hazmat shipping services to some of the country’s largest chemical manufacturers on a daily basis. Road Scholar’s hazmat certified drivers participate in a training program that keeps them “up to speed” on the latest techniques to prevent accidents and protect hazardous cargo. Combine Road Scholar’s drivers’ experience with our strict in transit security protocols and the result is a “security officer” behind the wheel escorting your freight. Here are some of the things Road Scholar has to offer:
*$5,000,000 in hazmat and pollution coverage!
*100% asset based carrier.
*Dedicated use and teams.
*Protect from freezing service.
*All shipment location and temperature tracked and monitored real time via telematics.
*Dock-to-dock, no transfers cutting back on the handling of your products.
*24 x 7 dispatch and oversight.
*Air ride equipment.
*Anti-collision sensors to prevent our trucks from hitting a forward vehicle as well as anti-rollover technology.
Are You a Hazmat Truck Driver Looking for a Career?
Here are some of the things Road Scholar offers:
*A comprehensive healthcare and benefits package
*Modern air-ride equipment
*A flexible dispatch team
*‘Access perks’ family discount program
*Average $26+ per Hour Local Drivers
*Average .60+ cents per mile Regional Drivers