The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry, including shipping and transportation. The transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as well as the Secretary of Transportation, who has the authority to regulate the transportation of hazardous materials under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). Traditionally, this act has been followed closely; however, due to COVID-19, some of these regulations have been eased. There are a few points that drivers transporting hazardous materials should keep in mind.
Requirements for Drivers Reduced Due to COVID-19
There has been an increased demand for drivers who can safely transport hazardous materials largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, there are numerous businesses that have been setting up COVID-19 test sites. Some of the examples include Walmart and Walgreens; however, in order for these tests to be run, they need to be transported to a laboratory. With the United States running nearly a quarter of a million tests per day (and climbing), the demand for drivers is clear.
As a result, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have reduced some of the restrictions surrounding commercial drivers’ licenses, hours of service requirements, and restrictions for training in order to find more drivers who can transport hazardous materials, including COVID-19 tests and the materials needed to collect and run these tests.
Shipping Hazardous Materials During the Pandemic
Despite the reduced regulations surrounding the training of drivers, numerous other guidelines must still be followed. Any shipment involving hazardous materials must be accompanied by documents that clearly state the following information:
-Hazardous Waste Manifests
-A Bill of Lading
-A Description of the Materials Being Transported. This description should include the quantity and weight of the materials, plus a description of the package itself.
Furthermore, those who are driving hazardous materials should also use technology that provides added visibility to the shipment itself. Shippers should know where their products are at all times. This helps ensure proof of delivery while also making sure the materials are being transported correctly.
Regulations Surrounding the Shipment of COVID-19 Tests for a Local Trucking Company
For those drivers who are specifically transporting COVID-19 tests, there are a few additional points to keep in mind. Infectious substances (such as coronavirus tests and samples) have been classified as Dangerous Goods. This means that there are additional packaging and shipping regulations that need to be followed. In the United States, coronavirus falls under Category B; however, the World Health Organization categorizes them as Category A, meaning they are under even stricter regulations. Therefore, it is important to clarify how the tests are being shipped, as there could be a HAZMAT surcharge if they are shipped as Category A.
When shipping COVID-19 tests and materials, they need to be either frozen or refrigerated at between 2 to 8 degrees C. It is crucial that viral samples are shipped to their respective testing labs as quickly as possible; however, it is still important to ensure the viral samples arrive at their final destinations intact while protecting those who handle them.
Contact Road Scholar Transport for Your HAZMAT Transportation Needs
If you have hazardous or sensitive materials that need to be transported, you’ll need a carrier with the proper certifications. 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.
Visit our hazmat and chemical shipping page and put your freight in the hands of a trusted carrier today.