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Dangerous goods driver course

It is a requirement of the Road Vehicles Carrying Dangerous Goods (Construction and Use) Regulations 2008 that on or after 1 September 2010 every person must, when driving a dangerous goods vehicle:

  • carry a certificate issued by the Department of Infrastructure or by a corresponding authority1 stating that the driver has participated in such training course(s), and has passed such examination(s), as are prescribed in the Regulations, and
  • carry documentation, including a photograph, for example a driving licence or passport, which enables him or her to be identified as the person to whom the certificate has been issued.

Initially each driver is required to attend a basic training course. Its main objectives are to make drivers aware of hazards arising in the carriage of dangerous goods and to give them basic information indispensable for minimising the likelihood of an incident taking place and, if it does, to enable them to take measures which may prove necessary for their own safety, for that of the public and the environment, and for limiting the effects of an incident.

Drivers of vehicles carrying:

  • Explosives,
  • Certain radioactive material, or
  • Dangerous goods in fixed or demountable tanks

will additionally receive specialised training in relation to these matters.

Every certificate will be valid for a period of five years. In the year before its date of expiry a driver must take a refresher course and pass the corresponding examinations(s). If or when he does so, his existing certificate will be either endorsed or replaced so that the new period of five years will commence on the date that the old period expires.

The Regulations enable a police constable to require the production by a driver of his or her ADR certificate and the documentation referred to in paragraph 1. It will be an offence if a driver fails to comply.

The fee for the one day course is £140.00 per person plus VAT.

When does the driver of a vehicle carrying dangerous goods need a training certificate?

If the goods are listed in the United Nations dangerous goods list they will have been assigned a four figure UN number, for example Petrol UN 1203.

This number is used to identify the regulations applicable to that product within ADR.

There are two exemptions available under ADR under which the certificate is not required.

  1. The goods are packaged in Limited Quantities, that is they are in small containers of a size determined in ADR, to present no significant hazard during transport. The size of the container is determined using tables depending on the hazardous nature of the goods. For example, perfume (UN 1256) in bottles of 500ml or under is exempt under Limited Quantities. If the same perfume had been packaged in large drums then it would fall in scope of the regulations as a class 3 flammable liquid.
  2. If the goods have been packaged in containers larger than the Limited Quantity amounts, the next possible exemption is that of Load Threshold. This refers to the total quantity of goods carried on a vehicle at any one time, it will vary, again according to the hazardous nature of the goods and is determined in ADR.

All substances on the dangerous goods list have under ADR been assigned to a transport category according to the degree of danger they represent. The following chart lists the categories and their respective load thresholds, or the amount above which a driver training certificate would be required where that quantity is exceeded on a vehicle.

Transport categoryDegree of dangerLoad threshold in kg or litres
0 Extremely dangerous 0
1 Very dangerous 20
2 Dangerous 333
3 Less dangerous 1000
4 Hardly any danger No limit 

Some examples

  • Hydrofluoric Acid UN 1790 Transport Category 0, Corrosive class 8. As the load threshold is 0 any amount on a vehicle would require a driver’s certificate.
  • Petrol UN 1203 Transport Category 2, Flammable liquid class 3. As the load threshold is 333 any amount above 333 litres requires certification.
  • Matches UN 331 Transport category 4, flammable solid class 4.1. Although listed, any load will always be under the threshold for driver certification.
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