Driving dangerous goods and special loads abroad

The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road


Moving dangerous goods by road is governed by international regulations and is strictly policed. Most European countries are signed up to the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). Each country which adheres to ADR implements specific safety measures through its own national legislation.

The purpose of ADR is to ensure that dangerous goods - including clinical and other dangerous waste - being carried by road are able to cross international borders freely, as long as goods, vehicles and drivers comply with its provisions. ADR has been in force since 1968 and is administered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It is updated every two years to take account of technological advances.

ADR sets out the requirements for classifying, packaging, labelling and certifying dangerous goods. These requirements are set out in Annex A to ADR. Vehicles carrying dangerous goods must comply with the provisions of Annex B to ADR, which includes vehicle and tank specifications and other operational requirements. The drivers of all vehicles (including those with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes or less) carrying dangerous goods must have an ADR training certificate. There are exemptions for drivers carrying small loads below the threshold limits, drivers carrying dangerous goods packed in limited quantities, and drivers carrying dangerous goods packed in accepted quantities.

You are required to register as a waste carrier in order to carry certain types of dangerous waste.

If you transport loads of dangerous goods below certain volume or weight thresholds, many parts of ADR may not apply, or only apply in a modified form. General exemptions to ADR include the dangerous goods list, special provisions and exemptions related to dangerous goods packed in limited quantities.

In which countries does ADR apply?

You can find a full list of the competent authorities applying ADR on the UNECE website.