Hazardous Drayage Guide

Hazardous Drayage Guide

What is Hazardous Drayage?

Hazardous drayage refers to the transportation of certain dangerous (or hazardous) materials from one point to another in a safe and controlled environment. Drayage usually refers to ground transport over a short distance, often functioning as part of a longer chain of transportation. Materials that can be considered hazardous are those that can cause harm to their surrounding environment (people, animals, natural world, etc.), whether on their own or if they come in contact with outside factors like air, water, fire, or other materials. For this reason, companies are required to transport such materials in a certain manner that ensures safety throughout the entire process. If you as a producer are not familiar with some of these processes and regulations or simply don’t have the capacity to adhere to them, it is advantageous to partner with an experienced trucking company that can help you avoid risks and consequences associated with hazardous transport.

Industries/Products That Use Hazardous Drayage

The properties of certain materials make them inherently more dangerous to transport than others, and for this reason there are certain industries who are more likely to utilize hazardous drayage as their materials require them to do so. The Department of Transportation specifically outlines certain classifications of hazardous materials, some of which include:

  • Explosives (includes things like dynamite, fireworks, gun powder)
  • Gasses (propane, carbon monoxide)
  • Flammable Solids/Liquids (oil/gasoline, matchsticks)
  • Corrosive Materials (battery acid, hydrochloric acid, etc.)
  • Radioactive Materials (uranium, plutonium, etc)

History of Hazardous Drayage

In the mid-1800s, the primary mode of transportation for hazardous/dangerous goods was by ship, so the first organization that dealt with regulation of hazardous transport was the US Coast Guard. There were a few piecemeal and informal rules addressing this in the early-mid 1800s, but the first formal law came into effect in 1871, with the government prohibiting the transport of flammable and combustible materials on passenger ships. In 1887 the Interstate Commerce Commission was established to create a unified regulatory agency that would oversee the transport of hazardous materials on the railroads, but over the next 40 years would grow to include all methods of transport including rail, water, road, and air as they became increasingly popular and more feasible.  The Bureau of Explosives, created in 1907 also created its own set of hazmat transportation rules for railroad transport that were later expanded upon by the ICC and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Although these laws were present throughout the 1900s, the lack of consistent inspection and enforcement by the ICC eventually led to the passing of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975, which gave the Department of Transportation the authority for increased regulation and enforcement. At the time of its passing, the DOT estimated that an astounding 75% of hazmat transportations were not in compliance with existing regulations. The Act of 1975 was eventually followed by The Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990, which standardized international safety requirements as recommended by the United Nations and The Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994, which gave the DOT increased authority and funding. For the most part, these laws and organizations shaped the processes of hazmat transport and brought it to what it is today.

Hazardous Drayage Legal Requirements

Per California law, anyone who is transporting materials classified as hazardous must have a valid hazardous materials transportation license issued by the CHP (California Highway Patrol), which must be valid and on hand when shipping. For most shipments over 500 pounds, the truck (or other mode of transportation) must have some sort of visible marker that denotes it is carrying hazardous materials. There are also rules addressing the transportation of specific hazardous materials set out by the state that you are transporting through. The State of California places limitations on the following materials:


Any commercial shipment or materials classified as explosives must use special routes, safe stopping places, and mandatory vehicle inspection locations as outlined by CHP. This also applies to transporting over 1000 pounds of such materials in a personal vehicle

Inhalation Hazards:

Shipments designated as inhalation hazard, poison inhalation hazard, or toxic inhalation hazard must be transported using special routes, safe stopping places, and mandatory vehicle inspection locations as outlined by CHP

Radioactive Materials:

There are also specific routes for those classified as radioactive materials. In addition to adhering to these, drivers must have a copy of the routes from the carrier that relate to to their specific to their shipment when transporting these materials

The routing and parking restrictions that should be followed are outlined in Section 9 of the CA DMV Commercial Driver Handbook (see – California General Hazardous Materials Routing Requirement). Because of the rigorous nature of the rules/requirements surrounding hazmat transportation, we provide value as an experienced provider by knowing and adhering to existing guidelines and avoiding any consequences you might face as a result of not knowing or not following them.

Alternatives to Hazardous Drayage

As a trucking company, we deal specifically with ground transportation when it comes to hazardous shipping and logistics. However, there are alternatives to ground transport that each have their own processes, some of which rely on us as an intermediary. Certain materials that have a hazardous designation can also be transported by airplane, boat, and train. For obvious reasons, there modes of transportation come with their own rules and regulations based on capabilities of different planes, boats, trains, etc. to ensure safe and efficient transport of hazardous products. It is important to recognize what modes of transportation can be used for certain materials and the risks and regulations associated with each to make sure that all necessary precautions are taken with your product(s).

Contact the Hazardous Drayage Experts at Dura Trucking

When transporting hazardous materials, it is important to make sure all necessary precautions are taken both for the benefit of your product and for the safety of the environment through which it will be transported and stored. For this reason, it is best to partner with a service whose experience will allow for the safest and most efficient transportation possible.  At Dura Trucking, we place utmost importance on customer service and communication at all levels of our organization in order to establish the strongest long-term relationships with our customers. We have over 20 years of experience in transportation, warehousing, and distribution and are available 24/7 to assist you throughout the process. If you think our services are right for you, contact us over the phone or on our website to get started with us today!