Hazardous Waste Truck Driver: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Sep 17, 2019

Hazardous waste truck drivers must have a knowledge of safety and regulations, along with a specific license to haul hazardous materials. Requirements vary by state,but they may need to pass a background check and an exam. Job growth for all types of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is anticipated to about as fast as average for all occupations over the next few years.

Essential Information

Hazardous waste truck drivers transport a variety of substances that are toxic to people and the environment. These professionals must be knowledgeable of safety regulations and protocols for transporting hazardous wastes. Many employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for this position, as well as a commercial driver's license with a special endorsement for transporting hazardous materials.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements Commercial driver's license with endorsement for hazardous material transportation; background check and ability to meet physical qualifications may also be required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for all heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
Mean Salary (2018)* $45,570 for all heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

In general, hazardous waste truck drivers follow safety laws and keep records of their activity to ensure that hazardous materials are appropriately tracked and accounted for at all stages of transport. Examples of hazardous materials include flammable gases, corrosive liquids, radioactive material and infectious material.

Truck drivers handling hazardous materials must have a commercial driver's license with a special license endorsement. While regulations might vary by state, the hazardous materials endorsement may require fingerprints, a criminal background check and completion of a written test. Hazardous waste truck drivers must also meet physical qualifications regarding vision and hearing.


Hazardous waste truck drivers adhere to a strict safety checklist when transporting dangerous materials. The driver ensures that materials are properly labeled and that no packages are leaking or otherwise improperly prepared for shipping. The driver must know the regulations regarding transportation of hazardous substances, including if permits are necessary anywhere along a planned route. Other responsibilities include maintaining shipping papers and emergency contact information in a designated area of the truck and properly securing cargo to prevent movement or spilling during transport.

Hazardous waste truck drivers follow safety procedures regarding loading, unloading, parking and route restrictions. In the case of an accident, a hazardous waste truck driver must ensure the safety of nearby people and prevent the spread of materials. The transportation of hazardous waste might require additional paperwork and protocol. For example, waste materials might need to be labeled more specifically than other materials and may require the completion of a Hazardous Waste Manifest. The truck driver is responsible for securing appropriate signatures on all relevant shipping paperwork. Requirements may vary by state, but a driver might need to submit paperwork to various departments following delivery completion.

Employment Outlook

Exact statistics for hazardous waste truck drivers are not currently available. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted an 5% increase in jobs for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers from 2018-2028. Job opportunities should continue to be available as companies seek individuals who are both qualified and willing to handle the challenges associated with the work. The BLS estimated that in May 2018, the middle 50% of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earned between $35,040 and $54,400 annually. The same source noted that the average yearly income for these types of truck drivers was $45,570, as of 2018.

A hazardous waste truck driver must have strong knowledge of safety requirements, regulations, and procedures, especially in the case of an accident, in addition to a commercial driver's license (CDL). A high school diploma or GED is typically the highest level of formal education required. Jobs for truck drivers in general are expected to grow by 5% from 2018-2028, and their salaries averaged about $45,000.

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