Thursday, September 26, 2013

FMCSA NPRM for Tank Vehicle Definition Update

Today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register (78 FR 59328-59333) revising the definition of ‘tank vehicle’ for the purpose of determining which Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders are required to have a tank vehicle endorsement. This is being done to align the regulatory language with the 2012 guidance document on the matter.

Rule Summary

The rule would modify the definition of ‘tank vehicle’ in 49 CFR 383.5 to clarify two points:

• That the quantity amounts apply regardless of the method of tank securement; and
• That the transportation of tanks manifested as empty or as residue, provided they are actually empty or contain only residue, does not require the driver to have a tank endorsement.

The preamble discussion notes that this new definition clearly means that transportation of multiple IBCs (greater than 119 gallons) that contain an aggregate capacity of 1,000 gallons, providing they are not empty or just contain residues, will require the driver to have a tank vehicle endorsement. This requirement may specifically affect LTL drivers.

Public Feedback

FMCSA is soliciting public comments on this proposed rule. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # FMCSA-2013-0140) and should be submitted by November 25th, 2013.

Commentary: While this is not really new {it was stated in a guidance document published in the Federal Register on May 12, 2012 (76 FR 26854)}, this will have at least temporary effect of further reducing the number of drivers that allowed to carry chemical shipments if/when it goes into effect. I would suspect that it will have the greatest impact on LTL carriers.

BTW: This rule was not published in the latest Unified Agenda nor was it apparently reviewed by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

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