ADR regulations for dangerous goods transport

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adr normativa per il trasporto merci pericolose

ADR regulations concern the European rules related to the transport of dangerous goods by road. The acronym ADR derives from the French (Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route) and it is well known as European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road.

The ADR agreement was signed by the ONU countries in 1957 in Geneva and ratified in Italy in 1962 with the law n.1839 (updated in 2016). The treaty comes from the willing to safeguard people and environment against the dangers related to the circulation of dangerous goods. The ONU agreement was undersigned by 45 countries.

According to chapter 1.4 of the agreement, the main subjects of ADR regulations are the transport operators, classified in 8 categories: consignor, carrier, consignee, loader, packer, filler, tank-container/portable tank operator, unloader.  

The responsibilities of the parties involved may be frequently updated and, for this reason, it is fundamental for transport operators to entrust specific positions with all the aspects related to the transport of dangerous goods. This is the best way to protect themselves both from the risks and from the huge penalties provided for those who do not comply with the regulation.

The ADR agreement is composed by 9 parts divided into 2 annexes:

  • Annex A: general provisions and provisions concerning dangerous articles and substances
  • Annex B: provisions concerning transport equipment and transport operations. It includes, among others: classification and list of dangerous goods, regulations about packaging and tanks, dispatch procedures, prescriptions related to the transport equipment.


Classification of dangerous goods

The ADR agreement classifies the dangerousness of goods based on the risks they can cause to the people and the environment, by dividing them in 9 categories:

  • Class 1 – Explosives substances and articles
  • Class 2 – Gases
  • Class 3 – Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1 – Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, solid desensitized explosives
  • Class 4.2 – Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3 – Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5.1 – Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2 – Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1 – Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2 – Infectious substances
  • Class 7 – Radioactive material
  • Class 8 – Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 – Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Each class of goods, with the related dangers, is detailed also for what concerns the order of prevalence of the risks defined in each class.

Depending on the dangerousness of the goods there can be different precautions and duties related to the transport. It is also necessary to follow specific protocols which may differ depending on the material.


List of ADR dangerous goods

In the ADR regulation you can find a detailed list of all the existing dangerous goods. Section 3 includes the list of dangerous goods, together with the related special provisions and the exemptions. When a general provision contrasts with a special one included in this section, the last one prevails.

The section contains two important reference tables.

  • Table A of the section includes: name and description of the goods, classification code, packing group, labels, special provisions, limited and excepted quantities, specifications on packaging, portable tanks and bulk containers.
  • Table B includes and alphabetic index of the materials and objects subject to ADR, with name and description, ONU code, class and notes.


ADR label

ADR regulation also provides an instrument of immediate and share classification of dangerous goods in every acceding country, regardless of the different languages. To each dangerous good corresponds a specific identification code. 

In addition to the identification codes, a specific symbology is used in order to make the recognition immediate. The ADR label must be square shaped with a 45° angle and the dimension may vary depending on its employment on packages or vehicles.

ADR label is often divided into two equal parts by a horizontal line. In the upper side you can find the symbology related to the dangerous goods, in the lower side there is the number of the class or of the category. Sometimes the label can contain just the symbology or the code.


ADR certificate

The professional ADR certificate, better known as “ADR license” is the document to drive vehicles transporting dangerous goods under the ADR regime.

There are four different categories of ADR license:

  • Type A – Tank course
  • Type B – Basic course
  • Type B+ explosive
  • Type B+ radioactive

The license is released only by attending a compulsory course, after having passed a written theoretical test. The license must be updated every 5 years, in the light of the constant updating of the legislation (every two years) by a course and a written exam.


For ADR transports ask an expert

The transport of dangerous goods by road entails complex procedures and precautions and it is exposed to controls and certifications. Some goods can cause damages and dangers to the people and the environment, and the aspects related to their transport must not be underestimated.

Due to the risk entailed by these processes the failure in complying with the procedures and the certifications involves dangers and huge penalties. Don’t take risks, confide in our professional team for every kind of transport of dangerous goods.

Due to the risk entailed by these processes the failure in complying with the procedures and the certifications involves dangers and huge penalties. Don’t take risks, confide in our professional team for every kind of transport of dangerous goods.


Don’t hesitate to contact us to receive further information or to ask for a price. We will answer you as soon as possible and Ansali team will come up with the best tailormade solution to your logistics needs. 

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