The real danger of hauling HazMat is not likely what you think it is. Non-truckers would probably believe that hauling HazMat is dangerous and possibly toxic. And, when there’s a collision, those are a possibility. However, if the load is packaged, loaded, and secured correctly, then the real hazards are the trucking regulations, possible fines, and employment dismissal, which could also terminate your driving career.
Can you even imagine paying a $75,000 fine for improper packaging or using the wrong container? There is an additional $175,000 civil penalty possible if someone dies, gets seriously ill, or if there is substantial property damage. The carrier or trucking company endure most of these enormous fines, but what about the owner-operator or independent driver? A fine of this magnitude could put a small trucking firm out of business.
Drivers that violate a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) out-of-service order (OOS) face a fine of $2,750 for the first conviction and $5,500 for every conviction after that. Plus, many of these violations involving HazMat transportation are misdemeanors which carry possible jail time. Carriers that knew and allowed a drive with an OOS to haul HazMat could get fined up to $27,500, and just the minimum fine is $4,750.
You’re right in thinking the driver and firm should know better than to allow a driver with an OOS to drive anyway. However, there are several violations that are not so obvious, or that could be easily missed or forgotten:
- Invalid or missing route maps
- Leaving the designated route without permission or law enforcement directive
- Load not properly secured
- Missing US DOT HazMat registration number
- Missing shipping papers
- Inaccurate or missing HazMat product descriptions
- Missing, damaged, or obscured placards
- Missing emergency response data
- Expired or missing HazMat tank inspection
- Packaging or containers missing labels or incorrectly labeled
Missing route maps, CDL endorsements, inspection records, shipping instructions, unspecified stops, or wrong/unauthorized routes while hauling explosives are misdemeanor crimes with a $4,175 fine in CA if convicted. Unspecified stops, unauthorized routes, or CDL endorsements also carry three negligent operator treatment (NOTS) system points, plus FMCSA Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) points.
Remember, PrePass® does not give HazMat haulers a free pass at “chicken coops” or weigh stations. Every truck carrying HazMat must pull in when the station is open and be prepared for inspection. Failing to do so in CA is a misdemeanor according to CVC 2813, Administration and Enforcement. The non-resident drivers’ home states and the FMCSA will be notified by the DMV if convicted or if they fail to appear.
The real danger of hauling HazMat when it is well-packaged, loaded, and secured are the possible fines and penalties that could bankrupt a small trucking firm or end the career of a driver convicted of even one violation. Ask the advice of a traffic ticket defender.
Traffic Ticket Defenders for Riverside County
CDL holders and HazMat haulers know when they have a traffic violation, they need reliable legal representation by professionals who have firsthand knowledge of the CA Vehicle Code and FMCSA regulations. Bigger & Harman regularly represent CDL holders with traffic tickets in Riverside County. When you get a ticket hauling HazMat from the Long Beach or Los Angeles ports on I-10 or 15 to Phoenix or Las Vegas, call (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
Or, email email@example.com and include an attached duplicate copy of the ticket. Provide as much detail as possible, and we will reply or call if you leave a number and discuss your options and how much our flat fee will cost to resolve your ticket. Many trucking firms today will not tolerate a conviction, and we know you don’t want one either.
Visit our Facebook business page and read what your fellow truckers are saying about our legal service. You could also find comments and endorsements on Avvo and Nolo. Yelp is another good source of client comments, and you surely know some of the nearly 100 drivers who have left feedback.
The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf
The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf
The FMCSA Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Regulations website