More Than 7,500 Vehicles Transporting Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Were Inspected During CVSA’s Unannounced Five-Day Inspection and Enforcement Initiative

Trained professional inspectors in Canada and the U.S. inspected 7,572 commercial motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials/dangerous goods (HM/DG) during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual five-day unannounced HM/DG inspection and enforcement initiative.

Thirty-seven jurisdictions participated in this year’s HM/DG Road Blitz, which was June 12-16. A total of 8,395 packages were inspected, and inspectors discovered 2,578 HM/DG violations, of which 701 were HM/DG out-of-service (OOS) violations.

Vehicles that had out-of-service HM/DG violations were removed from roadways until those violations could be corrected. Vehicles that passed a North American Standard Level I Inspection without any critical inspection violations or specification cargo tank vehicle violations were eligible to receive a CVSA decal and permitted to continue to their destination.

The transportation of HM/DG demands rigorous training and heightened compliance requirements. For motor carriers and drivers, safely transporting HM/DG is imperative to the safety of the driver, the public and the environment. For inspectors, inspecting vehicles transporting HM/DG is a complex and detailed process that involves safely looking for any leaking materials or unsecured HM/DG cargo, and checking shipping papers, placarding, marking, labeling, packaging and loading compliance.

The annual unannounced HM/DG Road Blitz aims to:

  • Spotlight the importance of the programs, processes and regulations associated with the safe transportation of HM/DG.
  • Recognize safety-compliant HM/DG drivers, motor carriers, manufacturers, shippers, etc.
  • Highlight the specially trained inspectors who prioritize transportation safety by inspecting vehicles transporting HM/DG and enforcing strict compliance regulations.
  • Identify all shipping paper, placarding, marking, labeling, packaging and loading compliance violations.
  • Remove vehicles with HM/DG out-of-service violations from roadways.

There are nine recognized classes of HM/DG. These classes designate HM/DG into categories, based on the materials’ specific chemical and physical properties, and describe the different types of risks associated with those materials. 

Table 1

Number of HM/DG Classes Inspected
Class  Description Canada U.S. Total
Class 1 Explosives, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, etc. 40 137 177
Class 2 Gases, Flammable, non-flammable oxygen and inhalation hazards 348 1,392 1,740
Class 3 Flammable and combustible liquids, such as fuel oil, acetone, adhesives, paints, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, some pesticides, etc. 628 3,326 3,954
Class 4 Flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneously combust and substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases, such as white phosphorus and sodium. 48 155 203
Class 5 Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium nitrite, ammonium nitrate fertilizers and oxygen generators. 58 173 231
Class 6 Toxic and infectious substances; any material, other than a gas, that is so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation, such as cyanide, biological samples, clinical wastes and some pesticides. 40 121 161
Class 7 Radioactive materials, such as cobalt-60 and cesium-137. 5 41 46
Class 8 Liquid or solid corrosive substances, such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified time. 266 989 1,255
Class 9 Miscellaneous HM/DG, such as acetaldehyde ammonia, asbestos, elevated temperature materials and benzaldehyde. 98 468 566
Total 1,531 6,802 8,333

U.S. Results

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a hazardous material has properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. Commercial motor vehicles transported the largest volume of hazardous materials through the U.S. transportation system, moving 1.2 out of 2.2 billion tons of hazardous materials. To minimize the risks associated with transporting hazardous materials, anyone involved in HM transportation is required to comply with the federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). The HMRs govern the transportation of hazardous materials in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce.

In the U.S., 6,123 vehicles and 6,722 HM packages were inspected during the five days of the HM/DG Road Blitz (2,658 non-bulk packages, 3,256 cargo tank packaging and 808 other bulk packaging). Inspectors identified 2,096 HM violations, of which 538 were out-of-service HM violations.

Inspectors also discovered eight undeclared packages. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, each year, approximately 1,500 transportation incidents occur when undeclared hazardous materials are shipped. Hazardous materials must always be properly classified, packaged, labeled, handled and stowed for transportation. This protects workers, emergency responders and the general public from the risks associated with HM transportation.

Table 2

U.S. – HM OOS and Total Violations
Category of Violation # of HM OOS Violations Total # of HM Violations
Shipping Papers 106 462
Shipping Papers – Shipper Related 9 75
Non-Bulk Packaging 103 452
Non-Bulk Packaging – Shipper Related 21 100
Bulk Packaging 76 403
Bulk Packaging – Shipper Related 2 32
Non-Bulk Labeling 0 107
Non-Bulk Labeling – Shipper Related 0 10
Bulk Packaging Placarding 41 149
Bulk Packaging Placarding – Shipper Related 2 17
Other Safety Marks (as per NAS OOSC Part III Item 4, 5) 16 103
Other Safety Marks (as per NAS OOSC Part III Item 4, 5) – Shipper Related 4 20
Loading and Securement 135 135
HM Package Integrity (Leaking) 23 23
Undeclared Packages 0 8
Total 538 2,096

Canadian Results

In Canada, a dangerous good is defined as any substance or material capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce. Shipments of dangerous goods number in the multi-millions annually. The federal, provincial and territorial governments enacted legislation to regulate the transportation of dangerous goods via the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations. Canada’s TDG Regulations prescribe safety standards and shipping requirements for dangerous goods, and communicate the nature and level of hazard and risk associated with those dangerous goods.

In Canada, 1,449 vehicles and 1,673 DG packages were inspected during the five days of the HM/DG Road Blitz (799 small means of containment, 690 highway tank packaging and 184 other large means of containment). Inspectors discovered 482 DG violations, of which 163 were out-of-service DG violations.

Table 3

Canada – DG OOS and Total Violations
Category of Violation # of DG OOS Violations Total # of DG Violations
Shipping Papers 18 165
Emergency Response Assistance Plan Violations 1 1
Small Means of Containment Packaging 2 21
Large Means of Containment Packaging 28 36
Small Means of Containment Labeling 0 18
Large Means of Containment Placarding 30 78
Other Safety Marks (Anhydrous Ammonia, TIH) 4 11
Loading and Securement 15 37
DG Package Integrity (Leaking) 4 6
TDG Training Certificate (Endorsement) 54 96
Driver Not Trained for TDG 7 13
Total 163 482

The HM/DG Road Blitz is an annual unannounced HM/DG inspection and enforcement initiative with participation from CVSA member jurisdictions in North America. It is supported by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Transport Canada. The initiative was adopted by the CVSA Hazardous Materials Committee, which provides technical HM/DG guidance and assistance to government and industry in an effort to reduce HM/DG incidents and encourage uniformity and consistency in the application of the regulations.

View last year’s HM/DG Road Blitz results.