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Explaining where hazardous materials-carrying vehicles can stop

While many do not realize it, those driving in and around San Antonio are often traveling alongside trucks containing hazardous materials. While it is necessary to move such materials via the highway, that does not make the process any safer. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, of the 16,850 incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials that occurred in 2017, over 90 percent happened on highways. An even more frightening statistic may be that only about 1.5 percent of these highway incidents were accident-related, meaning that a majority may have involved simple leaks or spills. 

Hazardous materials can cause plenty of devastation even when the trucks transporting them are not involved in accidents. Exposure from a spill can injure or even kill people within its range. Thus, regulations have been enacted dictating where trucks carrying hazardous materials can be parked or stored so as to limit the potential of people coming into contact with them. According to Section 397.9 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, trucks carrying hazardous materials may not be parked in any of the following areas: 

  • On or within a traveled portion of a public road or highway
  • On private property 
  • Within 300 feet of a bridge, tunnel, dwelling or place where people work, congregate or assemble

There are certain exceptions to these rules. These include instances where necessity requires a truck driver to park his or her vehicle in an otherwise restricted area for a brief period of a few minutes. Regarding the parking of hazardous waste-carrying vehicles on private property, it can be done so long as the driver has the consent of the property owner and the property owner has been made aware of the nature of the cargo the driver is transporting. 

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