Hazardous materials are substances that pose a substantial risk to the safety and health of the public, the environment, as well as public or private property. The safe transportation of these hazardous materials (or hazmat) via trucks across long distances requires strict management and adherence to rules and regulations.
A good understanding and knowledge of hazmat routing – as well as access to a guided hazmat route through a GPS – is essential for fuel truck drivers for a number of reasons, such as:
Identifying Route Designation and Restriction
According to the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act, there are a number of different state and local highway routes for the safe movement and transportation of hazmat. Some routes are designated for trucks, while others are completely off limits. A hazmat routing system outlines the route designation and restriction clearly for the truck drivers, allowing them to easily navigate to their delivery destinations.
Ensuring Compliance with All Federal and State Laws and Regulations
The transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by a number of different federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, each with its own set of rules and requirements. Local, state and federal regulations can often be conflicting and confusing for truck drivers. Clarified hazmat routing helps truck drivers comply with all the laws. This also allows for uniformity of regulatory implementation across the country.
Preventing Unwanted Fines
Noncompliance with the hazmat transport rules and regulations can result in hefty fines and significant legal concerns for the truck driver. Understanding specific hazmat routing ensures that all truck drivers responsible for carrying hazardous materials across intercity or interstate borders are protected from unnecessary legal troubles.
Being Aware of Changes in the Route
As mentioned earlier, there are specific route designations and restrictions that truck drivers must comply with when transporting hazardous fuel through cities. Oftentimes, however, there are detours, construction blockages or other route changes, which take place due to unforeseen circumstances.
Hazmat routing allows truck drivers to be aware of the changes within their proposed route and make adjustments beforehand. Furthermore, it allows truck drivers to prepare the necessary documents, registrations and permits in case they do have to venture into the restricted territories on their detours.
Making Timely Fuel Deliveries
According to the FMCSA, trucks transport approximately 95 percent of the entire hazmat shipment of the United States. This means that a large majority of the industry relies on timely fuel deliveries to ensure smooth operations.
Truck drivers carrying hazmat loads are only able to make timely fuel deliveries if they have a proper route mapped out, effectively guiding them to their destination. Not every driver has driven across the country or is familiar with the routes and intersections of every city, town or suburb. With the hazmat routing through a hazmat GPS or navigation system, not only will drivers be able to protect themselves and their fuel, but also ensure that they reach their destination as planned.
Knowing Route Conditions
Pavement conditions, like the vertical or horizontal alignment of the route and level of road access, are variables when it comes to route mapping for hazmat transportations. These variables directly affect the driver and the public’s safety during transport, as well as influence the time and duration of the fuel delivery journey.
Definitive routing through a comprehensive hazmat GPS enables drivers to provide greater security to the population and themselves, and be aware of which paths to take, avoid and navigate through cautiously.
Knowing Locations of Sensitive Environmental Areas
Hazmat loads are not allowed through tunnels or within 300 feet of public recreational areas, such as parks, shopping malls, etc. They are also not allowed near private dwellings, bridges or heavy metropolitan areas.
A hazmat GPS guide, which provides a specifically mapped route, makes truck drivers aware of locations to avoid; such as hospitals, schools and other public areas. It also notifies the driver of environmental areas – such as lakes, rivers, and ponds – so that they may be avoided as well.
A guided hazmat routing system helps truck drivers be more aware of the route conditions, as well as the route feasibility in order to successfully avoid accidents. The route guidance helps the driver operate the vehicle appropriately and enables them to make hasty adjustments as needed in order to protect themselves and others on the roads.
Furthermore, a GPS guided route also tells the truck driver where the emergency response capabilities are located, in case they require immediate assistance during their journey.
As the fuel logistics industry evolves, smart technology is helping truck drivers complete fuel deliveries more successfully. Hazmat GPS routing is just one of the breakthroughs that has reduced fuel delivery issues and delays that drivers have experienced for decades.