Driving & Parking Rules & Emergencies

9.6.1 – Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives

Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives within five feet of the traveled part of the road. Except for short periods of time needed for vehicle operation necessities (e.g., fueling), do not park within 300 feet of:

  • A bridge, tunnel, or building.
  • A place where people gather.
  • An open fire.

If you must park to do your job, do so only briefly.

Don’t park on private property unless the owner is aware of the danger. Someone must always watch the parked vehicle. You may let someone else watch it for you only if your vehicle is:

  • On the shipper’s property.
  • On the carrier’s property.
  • On the consignee’s property.

You are allowed to leave your vehicle unattended in a safe haven. A safe haven is an approved place for parking unattended vehicles loaded with explosives. Designation of authorized safe havens is usually made by local authorities.

9.6.2 – Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not Transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3) Explosives

You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with explosives) within five feet of the traveled part of the road only if your work requires it. Do so only briefly. Someone must always watch the vehicle when parked on a public roadway or shoulder. Do not uncouple a trailer and leave it with hazardous materials on a public street. Do not park within 300 feet of an open fire.

9.6.3 – Attending Parked Vehicles

The person attending a placarded vehicle must:

  • Be in the vehicle, awake, and not in the sleeper berth, or within 100 feet of the vehicle and have it within clear view.
  • Be aware of the hazards of the materials being transported.
  • Know what to do in emergencies.
  • Be able to move the vehicle, if needed.

9.6.4 – No Flares!

You might break down and have to use stopped vehicle signals. Use reflective triangles or red electric lights. Never use burning signals, such as flares or fuses, around a:

  • Tank used for Class 3 (Flammable Liquids) or Division 2.1 (Flammable Gas) whether loaded or empty.
  • Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives.

9.6.5 – Route Restrictions

Some states and counties require permits to transport hazardous materials or wastes. They may limit the routes you can use. Local rules about routes and permits change often. It is your job as driver to find out if you need permits or must use special routes. Make sure you have all needed papers before starting.

If you work for a carrier, ask your dispatcher about route restrictions or permits. If you are an independent trucker and are planning a new route, check with state agencies where you plan to travel. Some localities prohibit transportation of hazardous materials through tunnels, over bridges, or other roadways. Always check before you start.

Whenever placarded, avoid heavily populated areas, crowds, tunnels, narrow streets, and alleys. Take other routes, even if inconvenient, unless there is no other way. Never drive a placarded vehicle near open fires unless you can safely pass without stopping.

If transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives, you must have a written route plan and follow that plan. Carriers prepare the route plan in advance and give the driver a copy. You may plan the route yourself if you pick up the explosives at a location other than your employer’s terminal. Write out the plan in advance. Keep a copy of it with you while transporting the explosives. Deliver shipments of explosives only to authorized persons or leave them in locked rooms designed for explosives storage.

A carrier must choose the safest route to transport placarded radioactive materials. After choosing the route, the carrier must tell the driver about the radioactive materials, and show the route plan.

9.6.6 – No Smoking

Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded cargo tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases). Also, do not smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe within 25 feet of any vehicle, which contains:

  • Class 1 (Explosives)
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
  • Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
  • Class 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible)

9.6.7 – Refuel with Engine Off

Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle containing hazardous materials. Someone must always be at the nozzle, controlling fuel flow.

9.6.8 – 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher

The power unit of placarded vehicles must have a fire extinguisher with a UL rating of 10 B:C or more.

9.6.9 – Check Tires

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check placarded vehicles with dual tires at the start of each trip and when you park. You must check the tires each time you stop. The only acceptable way to check tire pressure is to use a tire pressure gauge.

Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except to the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove any overheated tire. Place it a safe distance from your vehicle. Don’t drive until you correct the cause of the overheating. Remember to follow the rules about parking and attending placarded vehicles. They apply even when checking, repairing, or replacing tires.

9.6.10 – Where to Keep Shipping Papers and Emergency Response Information

Do not accept a hazardous materials shipment without a properly prepared shipping paper. A shipping paper for hazardous materials must always be easily recognized. Other people must be able to find it quickly after a crash.

  • Clearly distinguish hazardous materials shipping papers from others by tabbing them or keeping them on top of the stack of papers.
  • When you are behind the wheel, keep shipping papers within your reach (with your seat belt on), or in a pouch on the driver’s door. They must be easily seen by someone entering the cab.
  • When not behind the wheel, leave shipping papers in the driver’s door pouch or on the driver’s seat.
  • Emergency response information must be kept in the same location as the shipping paper.
  • Papers for Division 1.1, 1.2 or, 1.3 Explosives.

A carrier must give each driver transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives a copy of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), Part 397. The carrier must also give written instructions on what to do if delayed or in an accident. The written instructions must include:

  • The names and telephone numbers of people to contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
  • The nature of the explosives transported.
  • The precautions to take in emergencies such as fires, accidents, or leaks.

Drivers must sign a receipt for these documents. You must be familiar with, and have in your possession while driving, the:

  • Shipping papers.
  • Written emergency instructions.
  • Written route plan.
  • A copy of FMCSR, Part 397.

9.6.11 – Equipment for Chlorine

A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must have an approved gas mask in the vehicle. The driver must also have an emergency kit for controlling leaks in dome cover plate fittings on the cargo tank.

9.6.12 – Stop Before Railroad Crossings

Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:

  • Is placarded.
  • Carries any amount of chlorine.
  • Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty used for hazardous materials.

You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail. Proceed only when you are sure no train is coming and you can clear the tracks without stopping. Don’t shift gears while crossing the tracks.

9.7 – Hazardous Materials-Emergencies

9.7.1 – Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)

The Department of Transportation has a guidebook for firefighters, police, and industry workers on how to protect themselves and the public from hazardous materials. The guide is indexed by proper shipping name and hazardous materials identification number. Emergency personnel look for these things on the shipping paper. That is why it is vital that the proper shipping name, identification number, label, and placards are correct.

9.7.2 – Crashes/Incidents

As a professional driver, your job at the scene of a crash or an incident is to:

  • Keep people away from the scene.
  • Limit the spread of material, only if you can safely do so.
  • Communicate the danger of the hazardous materials to emergency response personnel.
  • Provide emergency responders with the shipping papers and emergency response information.

Follow this checklist:

  • Check to see that your driving partner is OK.
  • Keep shipping papers with you.
  • Keep people far away and upwind.
  • Warn others of the danger.
  • Call for help.
  • Follow your employer’s instructions.

9.7.3 – Fires

You might have to control minor truck fires on the road. However, unless you have the training and equipment to do so safely, don’t fight hazardous materials fires. Dealing with hazardous materials fires requires special training and protective gear.

When you discover a fire, call for help. You may use the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck fires from spreading to cargo before firefighters arrive. Feel trailer doors to see if they are hot before opening them. If hot, you may have a cargo fire and should not open the doors. Opening doors lets air in and may make the fire flare up. Without air, many fires only smolder until firemen arrive, doing less damage. If your cargo is already on fire, it is not safe to fight the fire. Keep the shipping papers with you to give to emergency personnel as soon as they arrive. Warn other people of the danger and keep them away.

If you discover a cargo leak, identify the hazardous materials leaking by using shipping papers, labels, or package location. Do not touch any leaking material–many people injure themselves by touching hazardous materials. Do not try to identify the material or find the source of a leak by smell. Toxic gases can destroy your sense of smell and can injure or kill you even if they don’t smell. Never eat, drink, or smoke around a leak or spill.

If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle, do not move it any more than safety requires. You may move off the road and away from places where people gather, if doing so serves safety. Only move your vehicle if you can do so without danger to yourself or others.

Never continue driving with hazardous materials leaking from your vehicle in order to find a phone booth, truck stop, help, or similar reason. Remember, the carrier pays for the cleanup of contaminated parking lots, roadways, and drainage ditches. The costs are enormous, so don’t leave a lengthy trail of contamination. If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle:

  • Park it.
  • Secure the area.
  • Stay there.
  • Send someone else for help.

When sending someone for help, give that person:

  • A description of the emergency.
  • Your exact location and direction of travel.
  • Your name, the carrier’s name, and the name of the community or city where your terminal is located.
  • The proper shipping name, hazard class, and identification number of the hazardous materials, if you know them.

This is a lot for someone to remember. It is a good idea to write it all down for the person you send for help. The emergency response team must know these things to find you and to handle the emergency. They may have to travel miles to get to you. This information will help them to bring the right equipment the first time, without having to go back for it.

Never move your vehicle, if doing so will cause contamination or damage the vehicle. Keep upwind and away from roadside rests, truck stops, cafes, and businesses. Never try to repack leaking containers. Unless you have the training and equipment to repair leaks safely, don’t try it. Call your dispatcher or supervisor for instructions and, if needed, emergency personnel.

9.7.4 – Responses to Specific Hazards

Class 1 (Explosives). If your vehicle has a breakdown or accident while carrying explosives, warn others of the danger. Keep bystanders away. Do not allow smoking or open fire near the vehicle. If there is a fire, warn everyone of the danger of explosion.

Remove all explosives before separating vehicles involved in a collision. Place the explosives at least 200 feet from the vehicles and occupied buildings. Stay a safe distance away.

Class 2 (Compressed Gases). If compressed gas is leaking from your vehicle, warn others of the danger. Only permit those involved in removing the hazard or wreckage to get close. You must notify the shipper if compressed gas is involved in any accident.

Unless you are fueling machinery used in road construction or maintenance, do not transfer a flammable compressed gas from one tank to another on any public roadway.

Class 3 (Flammable Liquids). If you are transporting a flammable liquid and have an accident or your vehicle breaks down, prevent bystanders from gathering. Warn people of the danger. Keep them from smoking.

Never transport a leaking cargo tank farther than needed to reach a safe place. Get off the roadway if you can do so safely. Don’t transfer flammable liquid from one vehicle to another on a public roadway except in an emergency.

Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5 (Oxidizing Materials). If a flammable solid or oxidizing material spills, warn others of the fire hazard. Do not open smoldering packages of flammable solids. Remove them from the vehicle if you can safely do so. Also, remove unbroken packages if it will decrease the fire hazard.

Class 6 (Poisonous Materials and Infectious Substances). It is your job to protect yourself, other people, and property from harm. Remember that many products classed as poison are also flammable. If you think a Division 2.3 (Poison Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poison Materials) might be flammable, take the added precautions needed for flammable liquids or gases. Do not allow smoking, open flame, or welding. Warn others of the hazards of fire, of inhaling vapors, or coming in contact with the poison.

A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 (Poison Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poisons) must be checked for stray poison before being used again.

If a Division 6.2 (Infectious Substances) package is damaged in handling or transportation, you should immediately contact your supervisor. Packages that appear to be damaged or show signs of leakage should not be accepted.

Class 7 (Radioactive Materials). If radioactive material is involved in a leak or broken package, tell your dispatcher or supervisor as soon as possible. If there is a spill, or if an internal container might be damaged, do not touch or inhale the material. Do not use the vehicle until it is cleaned and checked with a survey meter.

Class 8 (Corrosive Materials). If corrosives spill or leak during transportation, be careful to avoid further damage or injury when handling the containers. Parts of the vehicle exposed to a corrosive liquid must be thoroughly washed with water. After unloading, wash out the interior as soon as possible before reloading.

If continuing to transport a leaking tank would be unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, contain any liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep bystanders away from the liquid and its fumes. Do everything possible to prevent injury to yourself and to others.

9.7.5 – Required Notification

The National Response Center helps coordinate emergency response to chemical hazards. It is a resource to the police and firefighters. It maintains a 24-hour toll-free line listed below. You or your employer must phone when any of the following occur as a direct result of a hazardous materials incident:

  • A person is killed.
  • An injured person requires hospitalization.
  • Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
  • The general public is evacuated for more than one hour.
  • One or more major transportation arteries or facilities are closed for one hour or more.
  • Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected radioactive contamination occurs.
  • Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected contamination occur involving shipment of etiologic agents (bacteria or toxins).
  • A situation exists of such a nature (e.g., continuing danger to life exists at the scene of an incident) that, in the judgment of the carrier, should be reported.

National Response Center

(800) 424-8802

Persons telephoning the National Response Center should be ready to give:

  • Their name.
  • Name and address of the carrier they work for.
  • Phone number where they can be reached.
  • Date, time, and location of incident.
  • The extent of injuries, if any.
  • Classification, name, and quantity of hazardous materials involved, if such information is available.
  • Type of incident and nature of hazardous materials involvement and whether a continuing danger to life exists at the scene.

If a reportable quantity of hazardous substance was involved, the caller should give the name of the shipper and the quantity of the hazardous substance discharged.

Be prepared to give your employer the required information as well. Carriers must make detailed written reports within 30 days of an incident.


(800) 424-9300

The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) in Washington also has a 24-hour toll-free line. CHEMTREC was created to provide emergency personnel with technical information about the physical properties of hazardous materials. The National Response Center and CHEMTREC are in close communication. If you call either one, they will tell the other about the problem when appropriate.

Do not leave radioactive yellow – II or yellow – III labeled packages near people, animals, or film longer than shown in Figure 9.10

Radioactive Separation
Table A

Transport Index

Minimum Distance In Feet o Nearest Undeveloped Film

To People
Or Cargo Compartment Partitions

0-2 Hrs.

2-4 Hrs.

4-8 Hrs.

8-12 Hrs.

Over 12 Hrs.








0.1 To 1.0







1.1 To 5.0







5.1 To 10.0







10.1 To 20.0







20.1 To 30.0







30.1 To 40.0







40.1 To 50.0






Figure 9.10

Classes of Hazardous Materials. Hazardous materials are categorized into nine major hazard classes and additional categories for consumer commodities and combustible liquids. The classes of hazardous materials are listed in Figure 9.11

Hazard Class Definitions
Table B


Class Name




Ammunition, Dynamite, Fireworks



Propane, Oxygen, Helium



Gasoline Fuel, Acetone


Flammable Solids

Matches, Fuses



Ammonium Nitrate, Hydrogen Peroxide



Pesticides, Arsenic



Uranium, Plutonium



Hydrochloric Acid, Battery Acid


Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials

Formaldehyde, Asbestos


(Other Regulated Material-Domestic)

Hair Spray or Charcoal


Combustible Liquids

Fuel Oils, Lighter Fluid

Figure 9.11

Test Your Knowledge

  • If your placarded trailer has dual tires, how often should you check the tires?
  • What is a safe haven?
  • How close to the traveled part of the roadway can you park with Division 1.2 or 1.3 materials?
  • How close can you park to a bridge, tunnel, or building with the same load?
  • What type of fire extinguisher must placarded vehicles carry?
  • You’re hauling 100 pounds of Division 4.3 (dangerous when wet) materials. Do you need to stop before a railroad-highway crossing?
  • At a rest area you discover your hazardous materials shipments slowly leaking from the vehicle. There is no phone around. What should you do?
  • What is the Emergency Response Guide (ERG)?

These questions may be on your test. If you can’t answer them all, re-read subsections 9.6. and 9.7