The US DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) requires all vehicles to display images, signs and placards for any hazardous materials that they are carrying. Title 49 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations requires by law to place hazardous material placard when shipping or transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous materials inside the United States either through air, vessel, railway or highway (Environmental Chemistry). When these signs or placards are placed on vehicles carrying any inflammable or dangerous item, it can serve as a warning for other motor vehicles on the road to stay away from the vehicle carrying the dangerous materials. The placards serve as an indicator for motorists through pictures and images that the vehicle contains dangerous items which could have devastating impact if they come into contact with other vehicles upon impact in case of accident or overtaking. The department also requires getting approvals or authorizations from the Bureau of Explosives before carrying any explosive materials onboard.
The Department of Transportation has rules outlined in case any emergency occurs involving transportation of hazardous materials. In case any incident involving hazardous materials happens, immediate notification shall be issued of the incident to warn other motorists and alert the required authorities. The department requires detailed hazardous materials incident report to constantly monitor and take corrective measures to deal with the incident. The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) was developed jointly by the US Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico. It is a guidebook used by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel involved in a hazardous material transportation incident a transportation incident (PHMSA). It helps the response team in identifying the hazardous material involved in the accident and also guidelines as to how to protect themselves and the public during the initial stages of the incident.
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