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changes to information requirements when carrying dangerous goods by road

11 June 2009
When carrying goods by road or rail, there is the unavoidable possibility that they may be involved in a traffic accident. If the freight being transported is dangerous in character, the repercussions of such an accident could be substantial. Incidents such as spillage could occur, leading to hazards including explosion, fire, environmental damage or chemical burn.

The European Agreement on the International Road Carriage of Dangerous Goods (ADR) requires that vehicles contain information known as Instructions in Writing, which advise the driver and emergency services of how to respond in the event of an accident. However, as of 1 July 2009, the requirements relating to Instructions in Writing change significantly.

Prior to this date, information has often been provided in the form of Transport Emergency Cards, more commonly referred to as Tremcards. Tremcards must be carried in the cab of any vehicle carrying dangerous goods in quantities exceeding the prescribed minimum.

Key implications to consider as a result of the changes introduced by ADR 2009 include:

  • It is now the driver/hauliers responsibility to provide the vehicle crew with the Instructions in Writing, as opposed to the consignor, as was previously the case
  • The Instructions in Writing to be provided will now be a single ADR prescribed document which covers all dangerous goods, rather than a document specific to the particular set of goods being transported. It is four pages long and details what action is to be taken in an emergency, giving guidance on the specific dangers and actions to be taken for each class of dangerous goods
  • The Instructions must be in a language that the driver and/or crew members can read and understand before starting their journey; they are no longer required in the languages of the country of origin, transit and destination. Emergency services in ADR-contracting states will have a version of the Instructions in Writing available in their local language

The new Instructions in Writing provisions were introduced on 1 January 2009 in ADR 2009, and until 30 June 2009 there is a phase in period when the old format Tremcards can still be used. However, from 1 July 2009 the new Instructions in Writing must be used.

The new Instructions are available from www.unece.org, in the languages of the contracting countries to ADR.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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