About three or four years into driving, truckers start to look for more opportunities and a path to making more money. One of the best ways to increase pay, benefits, and experience on the road is to become a hazmat truck driver. Here are four reasons to become a hazmat truck driver today:
What is Hazmat Truck Driving?
Hazmat or hazardous materials are materials and products that risk health, safety, or property when transported. Cargo includes:
- Corrosive materials
- Flammable and combustible liquids
- Flammable solids
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides
- Radioactive materials
Hazmat trucker drivers need special license endorsements. There are three endorsements available to truck drivers. “H” or the hazardous materials endorsement, the “N” or the tanker endorsement, and the “X” for both the dangerous materials and tanker endorsement.
The Department of Transportation requires all hazmat drivers to have additional training in safely loading and unloading, compliant paperwork, and accident management. Obtaining hazardous materials endorsements require fingerprints, pass a criminal background check, and completing a written test. Hazmat truck drivers must also meet specific physical qualifications like vision and hearing.
According to the American Trucking Associations, the driver shortage will hit 100,000 by 2025 and 160,000 by 2028. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports the need for hazmat truckers will around 7% after a significant spike in 2020. The trucking industry has a tough time finding qualified drivers. Those truck drivers who put in the extra time, energy, and money (paperwork and training) into acquiring hazmat endorsements look to have plenty of opportunities.
Higher Demand Leads to Higher Pay
According to CDL.com, hazmat-certified drivers can earn as much as $1000 more per week, while a tanker endorsement can earn close to $20k more a year than other types of truck driving. Because a limited number of truckers carry active endorsements (requires updating every five years), hazmat driving opportunities are generally higher, on average, than positions not requiring additional training.
Better Job Security
Higher demand usually means carriers constantly try to keep hazmat truck drivers happy with perks, bonuses, and favorable benefits. Healthy safety and retention bonuses, employer-paid health insurance, matching 401k programs, and excellent vacation time are some of the ways trucking companies use to keep quality hazmat truck drivers.
Truck and Job Technology
Hazmat truck and their carriers typically equip fleets with the latest technology. Because safety is the name of the hazmat trucking game, most trucks have some or all of the following tech:
- Web-based and satellite tracking systems
- Video monitoring
- Collision Avoidance System
- Lane Departure Warning Systems
- Side Angel Cameras
- Automatic Transmission
- Blind-Spot Camera System
Being a Hazmat Truck Driver Conclusion
Hazmat trucking can be a fantastic career for those truckers who like to travel more than the average driver, like the challenge of hauling important cargo safely, and want the highest rewards the trucking industry has to offer. Going the extra mile can be the difference between an average trucking career and the most satisfying trucking career.
Our Drivers are our #1 asset at Tr-State, and the equipment has to be the BEST! Our best-in-class equipment features the newest Kenworths, Peterbilts, Volvos, and Freightliners. Our entire fleet has E-Logs, refrigerators, CB Radios, SiriusXM, and comfortable and spacious sleepers for driver comfort.
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