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What is a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™)?

A Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) is a single A4 size card which provides easy to follow steps to be taken in the event of an Incident, Fire, Spillage, Accidental contact with a dangerous goods substance which is loaded onto a vehicle.

It is aimed to provide emergency information which needs to be followed by the Driver, Emergency Responders, Medical Response as well as Professional Spillage Response teams.

What does a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) do?

It provides information on the nature of the load transported and it gives recommendations on what actions should be taken in case of an incident.

Spillage of hazardous substances can have grave consequences for the people involved and the environment if the right reaction is not implemented.

The right reaction depends on the nature of each individual chemical substance or mixture and this is the reason why each substance classified as Dangerous Goods must have its own Transport Emergency Card (TEC™).

This card is referenced together with the Emergency Response Guide (ERG’S).

Why do we need a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™)?

South African Government:

  • The South African government has an obligation to make roads and road transport as safe and secure as possible for the ALL users.
  • South Africa has committed itself to protect it’s citizens as well as the environment.

The practical reasons:

  • Not everyone is trained to know how to react in case something goes wrong and anyone needs to be able to do something about it when it happens.
  • The correct action depends on the nature of each different substance.

There are also legal and financial reasons:

  • The South African Department of Transport has made it compulsory to have a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) in the cab for each Dangerous Goods substance being transported on the vehicle.
  • Police forces and inspectors are empowered to fine and prosecute companies and drivers who do not comply with this legislation.
  • Insurance companies are unlikely to cover the costs of such incidents if the proper documents are not carried by the vehicle.

The risks of accidents happening are difficult to evaluate, but the impact on people’s lives and damage to the environment demand that all available assistance is being provided.

What does a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) look like?

South African National Standard ( SANS ) 10232 – 1 states :

  1. Transport Emergency Card(s) are intended for use by the driver of the dangerous goods vehicle but might also be required by the emergency services in the absence of other information , or in support of available information.
  2. Any ( All ) vehicles used for the transport of dangerous goods shall have a Transport Emergency Card for each dangerous goods item being transported as the load or part of the load.
  3. The Transport Emergency Card(s) shall be stored in the designated space.
  4. The Transport Emergency Card shall comply with SANS 10232-4 : Transport Emergency Card.
  5. For imported dangerous goods , the Consignee or Consignee’s Agent shall ensure that a transport emergency card in compliance with SANS 10232 – 4 is carried in the vehicle’s designated space.


The Consignor or Consignor Agent / Consignee or Consignee Agent should forward the transport emergency card to the Operator to ensure that the transport emergency card is present inside the designated space for the full journey , from point of collection to point of delivery.

South African National Standard ( SANS ) 10232 – 4 states :

Requirements for the format :

The Transport Emergency Card shall be prepared in a standardised format in conjunction with a Safety Data Sheet ( SDS ) that complies with SANS 11014 , SANS 10234 or ANSI Z400.1, or both , and with the national legislation.

Size and Borders :

The Transport Emergency Card shall consist of a single A4 size sheet of white paper with information printed on one side only.

The information shall be entered in Arial font, in the following minimum sizes :

Headings : 12 pt – Bold

Sub Headings : 10 pt – Bold

Contents : 8 pt – Regular

The sheet shall have a left and right border in Red , with the width at least 10 mm.

The length of the borders shall at least frame the text.

Layout :

The below information in the following order :

Header :

TRANSPORT EMERGENCY CARD – Road Transport , in accordance with SANS 10232 – 4

Top right corner :

UN Number


Subsidiary Risk

Packing Group


The following headings shall appear :

Either on a single line or in two columns
















The South African government wants to encourage good practice in the industry and this is the reason why they insist that this document comply with the above requirements.  Consistency of appearance and content is vital to avoid any confusion when responding to an emergency.  The correct initial action can save lives, reduce environmental impairment and liability. Fines will be given for transport emergency cards that will not fit this description.

What are the risks if I don’t have a Transport Emergency Card (TEC™)?

Transport Emergency Cards (TEC™) are compulsory for the transport by road of hazardous goods. Not having one therefore means that you are committing an offence and you risk receiving violation fine as well as points listed as per AARTO legislated.

In case of an incident, it is possible that you might not be able to claim on your insurance if you cannot provide evidence that there was a legal Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) with the load. It might also have an influence on your liability for damages to the environment and injury to people.

What is the South African legislation relating to Transport Emergency Card (TEC™)?



The South African Chapter VIII of the Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 brings the SANS code of practice SANS 10232 into law and requires anyone who transports hazardous goods by road to carry a valid Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) in the Designated Space inside the vehicle cab.

A valid Transport Emergency Card (TEC™) must be an original document, using the English Language, be fully completed  and less than 3 years old as well as being specific to the load.