FMCSA to Review Tank Truck Definitions after ATA Raises Concerns Over Costs


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has agreed to consider changing a regulation it published last year that redefined tank trucks to include trucks carrying almost any tanks that total 1,000 gallons of capacity or more.

In a March 30 letter, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro recognized concerns raised by American Trucking Associations, which said the change would require costly commercial driver license endorsements.

The agency will initiate a rule-making process soon to solve the issue, Ferro said.

A regulation published last year defined a tank truck as a truck carrying liquids or gases in cylinders and intermediate bulk containers with an “aggregate capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis.” That definition, included as part of a May 2011 rule that changed CDL testing procedures, defined many trucks as tanks that were not included before, ATA said. For example, a truck carrying four 250-gallon bulk containers is considered a tank truck under the new definition, even though the containers are small and removable, ATA said.

Tank trucks require a special CDL endorsement because of the specific safety concerns involved with tank trucks, including the “slosh” factor of a partially loaded tank, said Boyd Stephenson, ATA’s manager of safety and security policy.

Some states have adopted the new definition, though FMCSA gave states three years to comply with it, he added. Citing the concerns about some states implementing the change before others, FMCSA said the rulemaking process “will be initiated as expeditiously as possible.” ▲

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