What should be defined as a tanker vehicle has groups and organizations stirring debate.
A petition led by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in 2008 prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to redefine tank vehicles in May of 2011.
Whereas tank vehicles previously “did not apply to commonplace fluid bins,” and which drivers did not need a tank endorsement for, the revision surpassed the CVSA’s request, including vehicles that “haul any containers of liquid or gas with a rated capacity of 119 gallons or more as part of an aggregate of 1,000 gallons that aren’t permanently attached to the vehicle.” 1 This includes “dry van trailers hauling empty or filled cylinders and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) designed for the carriage of liquids and gases.” 2
Considered “too broad” of a definition and forcing more drivers to have tank endorsements on their CDLs, groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and American Trucking Associations (ATA), have pointed out the additional expense drivers and carriers will be facing under the revised definition.
As the ATA stated, “Obtaining this endorsement is burdensome, requiring additional training, time off work and substantial costs and fees.” 3
Understanding these concerns, the FMCSA decided on March 30th to reconsider the definition and who is required to hold a tank endorsement on their CDL. The problem, however, lies with the states who have already adopted the definition.
Although the ruling was set to go into effect on July 8th, states were given until July 2014 to establish the ruling, which poses as a problem. As the OOIDA’s Joe Rajkovacz states, “If it can be assumed that we’re going to get a relaxed definition, then drivers should not be exposed to being cited for this in the various states that have already adopted the wider definition.” 1
The FMCSA acknowledged that it will be seeking comments on the definition but did not announce a date as of yet.
The ATA and ARA (Agricultural Retailers Association, who is also affected by the tank endorsement since pesticides are transported via IBC containers) suggested the following definition to the FMCSA:
“Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank having an individual rated capacity of more than 1,000 gallons that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis; or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting portable tanks that are manifested as either empty or as residue on a bill of lading or transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer are not considered to be tank vehicles.” 2
How would you define tank vehicles? Post your responses at http://gsfn.us/t/2tatk.
Are you looking to get your tanker endorsement or are being required to do so? Take the practice tanker endorsement CDL practice test below (provided by http://www.truckingtruth.com/cdl-test/cdl-test-tanker-endorsement-A.html):