In response to petition from the American Trucking Association (ATA) that was supported by the National Chicken Council and many other organizations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has agreed to publish a Federal Register rulemaking notice that requests input regarding the definition of over-the-road “tank vehicles.” 

FMCSA’s current regulatory language is very broad and encompasses a number of trucks used by the poultry industry that transport containers holding more than 1,000 gallons of liquids or gaseous materials.  Drivers of tank vehicles and the requirements for tank vehicles are somewhat higher than for non-tank vehicles.  For example, a tank endorsement is needed on a commercial driver’s license for operation.

ATA said it will ask the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to formally recommend that its member jurisdictions engage in only soft enforcement of FMCSA’s current tank vehicle definition.  Also, ATA is asking states that have not yet adopted FMCSA’s May 2011 definition of a tank vehicle to put such adoption on hold.

In its February 22, 2012 petition to the FMCSA, ATA proposed the following definition of a “tank vehicle.”

 “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 and 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.”