The abbreviation ADR stands for the “European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road” and refers to the French “Accord Européen Relatif au Transport international des marchandises dangereuses par route”. The ADR comprises regulations for road transport with regard to packaging, load securing, classification and labelling of dangerous goods. They were first adopted in Geneva in 1957. Today, all EU members are also signatories to the ADR. The ADR became effective through implementation in the respective national law.

The provisions of the ADR are thus legally anchored and thus mandatory for the transport of dangerous goods. Furthermore, the ADR regulates how infringements or complete disregard of the regulations are handled and sanctioned.

Every two years, the regulations of the ADR are revised and adapted to reflect the latest state of the art and the law.

Contents of the ADR

The provisions of the ADR binding on the signatory Member States are divided into Volume I and Volume II and comprise a total of nine chapters or parts regulating the international carriage of dangerous goods.

  • Part 1 – General provisions
  • Part 2 – Classification: Dangerous goods class (ADR classes)
  • Part 3 – List of dangerous goods, special provisions and exemptions relating to the carriage of dangerous goods packed in limited quantities
  • Part 4 – Provisions regarding the use of packagings and tanks
  • Part 5 – Provisions for dispatch
  • Part 6 – Construction and testing of packagings and tanks
  • Part 7 – Provisions for carriage, loading, unloading and handling
  • Part 8 – Requirements for vehicle crew, equipment, operation of vehicles and documentation
  • Part 9 – Requirements for the construction and approval of vehicles

The regulations describe above all how the goods to be transported are to be classified as dangerous goods and what associated safety measures are to be taken. In addition, the documentation of the transport of dangerous goods, the safety obligations of the persons involved and the corresponding instruction of the persons specifically involved are also described. These include the shipper, shipper, transporter and also the recipient of the dangerous goods load. An important component is also the handling in case of an emergency in case of damage.

ADR – Safety in the transport of dangerous goods

The ADR serves the safety in road traffic and requires the trained handling of dangerous goods. Drivers of dangerous goods transports must have a dangerous goods driving licence, an ADR certificate. In order to obtain the ADR certificate, a training course and subsequent passing of a theoretical examination is required. In addition, the ADR certificate must be renewed every five years with refresher training and examination.

However, according to ADR, all those involved in the transport and handling of dangerous goods must also prove that they have the appropriate expertise in handling dangerous goods and the dangerous goods regulations. Logistics companies that handle the transport of dangerous goods must appoint a dangerous goods officer.

Vehicles that are to transport dangerous goods also require ADR approval. The approval is granted according to the dangerous goods that the vehicles are allowed to transport. The following vehicle classes are available for transporting dangerous goods:

  • tanker or battery vehicles not conforming to the other classes – AT
  • “mobile explosive manufacturing unit”, vehicles for processing explosives – MEMU

The ADR registration of the vehicle must be renewed every year at a technical inspection. Just like the general inspection for motor vehicles, the ADR specific inspection is also carried out by an officially recognised inspection body and only these are entitled to renew the ADR registration.