On Sept. 26, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking to modify its definition of a tank vehicle. FMCSA published the proposed rule in response to an ATA petition. In May 2011, FMCSA had published a new definition of a tank vehicle that considered all trucks hauling bulk tanks of any kind with an aggregate capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, including portable containers, as tank trucks whose drivers would require the endorsement.

ATA’s petition suggested FMCSA consider only permanently attached tanks that meet this more stringent criteria while excluding portable tanks with an individual capacity of less than 1,000 gallons. States do not have to enforce FMCSA’s May 2011 definition until July 2015, and very few states have adopted it, preferring to conserve training resources for the results of this anticipated proposed rule.

The present rulemaking proposes to officially exclude portable tanks with a capacity of 1,000 gallons or less that are manifested as being either ’empty’ or ‘residue’ but provides no other relief. ATA will submit comments showing that trucks carrying portable tanks present no safety risk greater than standard van-bodied trucks and should be regulated as such.