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0 Comments | Mar 25, 2016

DOT Placards and What’s Really on the Roads?

What do DOT Placards Mean?

We’ve all seen those diamond shaped signs on the sides or backs of trucks with numbers like 1993 or 1075, but what are those signs and what do they mean?

1993 dot placard - K5609These little signs are commonly known as DOT placards, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates that these signs be used whenever hazardous materials and dangerous goods are being transported. One of the most common placards is the 1993 dot placard, which is used for eight chemical listings.

Recently, cities like Austin, Texas, have been trying to deal with the problem of the increased number of trucks hauling hazardous materials on major roadways. If an accident were to occur with just one vehicle carrying hazardous materials or dangerous goods, the safety hazards presented to other drivers and the surrounding neighborhoods would be great.

In order to reduce this risk, one pending solution would be to re-route any trucks with DOT placards carrying hazardous materials to safer roadways.

A truck with materials numbered 1993 could carry diesel fuel, fuel oil, or even flammable cleaning liquids. Materials labels under 1988 are toxic or poisonous.

The number on these placards is known as a UN number, short for United Nations Identification Number. These numbers were developed and assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. This standardization for the identifying of  hazardous materials on the roadways can help handlers and first responders safely deal with the materials or react to safety concerns.

UN numbers range from 1 to over 3600, although many of these are no longer in use, including all of the numbers ranging from 601 to 1000.

While these numbers are widely used around the world, the United Nations does not hold any legal authority over their use. In the United States, failure to properly mark hazardous materials can be punished by various authorities.

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