Sometimes busy people try to take shortcuts to save time and money. They think about how “just doing something one time could be okay” and sometimes it is. However, in the case where a company needs to transport hazardous material, even just across town, throwing it in the backseat of a car is not the right choice and it is best left to the professional trucking companies.
You cannot drive just anywhere on the streets of Boston or any city for that matter without proper permits to carry non-radioactive hazardous materials known as HAZMAT. In order to save thousands of dollars in fines and avoid the risk of injury to the general public, anyone transporting Hazardous materials must adhere to the same rules and regulations.
Whether you are a new trucking company considering adding Hazmat services to your business or a busy businessman just trying to get a job done, this article gives you a better understanding of the complicated process both the city and trucking companies go through to safely drive through the streets of Boston and surrounding areas.
Local DOT Regulations
Local Departments of Transportation have strict rules and regulations that must meet both State and Federal approval. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) is the governing body designated as the routing agency for the Greater Boston Metro Area. It is responsible for the routing designations through downtown Boston and major highways in the Boston area. Every route is analyzed under strong scrutiny to see which one will pass all five main issues for approval, gain public support, and become the route of choice. The five main issues of concern are as follows:
- Risk to Public Safety
- Emergency Response Capabilities
- Burdens to Commerce
- Height/Width Clearance Restrictions
- Safety of the Roadways
Once all the routes have been analyzed, and the general public notified, the local and state officials would make their recommendations that then go to the DOT for a scrutiny of safety and security standards violations. If approved there, the new route goes on the registry.
Less than 3 years ago, Boston had major routing changes to downtown Boston and major highways in the Boston area. Anytime routes change or regulations change, it affects trucking companies and their customers. It can cause major delays in delivery, forced changes to drivers, and many headaches for trucking companies.
There are two federal agencies responsible for applying established federal safety and security standards and the red-tape process for transporting hazardous materials by all modes of transportation. They are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is what substantially affects how complicated the local routing designations are. These agencies also file and maintain the routing registries that become the bibles to the trucking companies.
Since 2005, in order to get a truck on the road, HAZMAT trucking companies have to obtain a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit prior to every transport of certain highly hazardous materials. Penalties are steep, running from $75,000 up to $500,000 for non-compliance. The responsibilities of the trucking companies include but are not limited to: 1) Proper shipping papers 2) Proper use of a manifest 3) Employee training and log books 4) Vehicle inspections for mechanical soundness, suitable cargo space, and proper markings and placards on vehicles.
Maybe you are not willing to take all this on! That is okay. Trucking companies carry the burden every day to adhere to the ever-changing local, state, and federal requirements of the “permits and road access” programs and routing registries specific to the cities and states where each of their trucks drive. And they do a great job! Why not let the experts transport your hazardous materials for you and leave the worry to them. Contact us for more information on HAZMAT trucking. First Call Trucking & Courier covers all New England and across the USA.