The Department of Transportation has many regulations concerning the transport of hazardous materials, including requiring carriers to register and pay the registration fee before accepting such materials. The DOT has rules that regulate both shippers and carriers of these materials. It lists these regulations in 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.
The shipper is responsible for correct identification and labeling of the materials. He is responsible for proper packaging before handing the material to the carrier. Shippers also are responsible for training any employees that take part in the preparation of hazardous material shipments.
Materials the department classifies as "Highly Hazardous" require the carrier to obtain a permit for transportation. These materials include explosives, radioactive materials, inhaled poisons and compressed or liquefied methane or nitrogen. The regulations also require the carrier to display an appropriate placard and carry the appropriate paperwork when transporting these materials.
The department requires immediate notification of events causing a death or hospitalization of an individual, closing a major or arterial road or fires or spills. Such events result in fines to the carrier.
Some materials are exempt from sections of the DOT rules when for agricultural use. Such transportation still requires adherence to the other rules the DOT lists in 49 CFR 173.5.