What is ADR transport for vehicles and drivers?


The ADR or European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road is a European agreement signed by several countries in Geneva on September 30, 1957 to regulate the transport of dangerous goods by road.

The ADR has been in force in Spain since October 19, 1972, in accordance with the recommendations made by the United Nations. Not only have most European countries signed it, but also Asian and North African countries.

ADR comes from the first letter of some of the words in the French title Accord Européen relatif au Transport International des Marchandises Dangereuses par Route. This agreement was drawn up in Geneva in 1957 under the supervision of the Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The agreement is reviewed on a biannual basis.

What aspects are covered by the ADR carriage of goods?

The agreement regulates packaging, transport, documentation and other aspects of the transport of dangerous goods by road . This includes: loading, unloading and storage of dangerous goods, whether the transport is between countries or within a territory.

An important aspect of this agreement is that it takes into account the obligations and responsibilities of each of the parties involved in the operations. This avoids damage to people and property and protects the environment.

The regulations contain a detailed list with headings for most of the goods considered dangerous (coded according to a numbering established by the UN) and the regulatory requirements that apply to each case:

  • Details the type of dangerous goods that can be transported by road.
  • Indicates the types of containers and packaging for each substance.
  • For the labeling and marking of loads, it also includes the different indications for goods and vehicles.
  • Defines the documentation that must be presented for transportation.
  • It also includes the relevant requirements for loading, stowage and unloading of dangerous goods.
  • It details the permits and training required by the people involved in the freight forwarding process.

The regulation affects both the agents directly involved in transport and the manufacturers of elements and materials related to the transport, packaging and handling of dangerous goods.

Do vehicles and drivers require any special permits?

There is a specialized ADR test for the transport of dangerous goods. Most commercial vehicles must be tested every year to ensure that they are roadworthy and comply with the rules of the road. But in addition to this test, a heavy vehicle must undergo a control in the case of:

  1. Transporting explosives or dangerous goods in bulk (known as ADR Test).
  2. If goods vehicles are taken outside the EU (this is known as TIR transport).
  3. In the event that the characteristics of the vehicle are increased or reduced, such as varying the weight it can carry.
  4. Obtain a low-emission certificate.

In addition, the driver of the vehicle must be in possession of an ADR license of the appropriate type for the material to be transported. There is a basic ADR license for driving vehicles transporting hazardous materials, but there are other special licenses depending on whether they are for transporting tankers, explosives or radioactive materials. This permit must be renewed every five years as stipulated in the Royal Decree in accordance with the international agreement on the transport of these goods.

The ADR agreement does not establish any penalties for non-compliance. National authorities will be able to act by applying their own legislation. For more information, a complete list of the 49 countries adhering to ADR can be found on the website of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).



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