[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 101 (Thursday, May 24, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30919-30921]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12692]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 383, 384, and 385

[Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27659]


Commercial Driver's License Testing and Commercial Learner's 
Permit Standards

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance and applicability of ``tank 
vehicle'' definition.

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SUMMARY: On May 9, 2011, FMCSA published a final rule titled 
``Commercial Driver's License Testing and Commercial Learner's Permit 
Standards.'' Among other things, the rule revised the definition of 
``tank vehicle.'' The change required additional drivers, primarily 
those transporting certain tanks temporarily attached to the commercial 
motor vehicle (CMV), to obtain a tank vehicle endorsement on their 
commercial driver's license (CDL). The Agency has since received 
numerous questions and requests for clarification. This notice responds 
to questions about the new definition and the compliance date for

[[Page 30920]]

drivers to obtain the tank vehicle endorsement.

DATES: Effective date for the regulatory guidance: May 24, 2012.
    Compliance date for the May, 9, 2011 final rule: States must be in 
compliance with the requirements in subpart B of Part 384 (49 CFR part 
384) by July 8, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Redmond, Office of Safety 
Programs, Commercial Driver's License Division, telephone (202) 366-
5014 or email robert.redmond@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On April 9, 2008, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking 
(NPRM) to amend the CDL knowledge and skills testing standards and 
establish new minimum Federal standards for States to issue the 
commercial learner's permit (CLP) (73 FR 19282). On May 9, 2011, FMCSA 
published the final rule, which made a CLP holder subject to virtually 
the same requirements as a CDL holder, including the same driver 
disqualification penalties (76 FR 26854). This final rule also 
implemented section 4019 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st 
Century (TEA-21), section 4122 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), 
and section 703 of the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act 
of 2006 (SAFE Port Act).
    For many years, the definition of ``tank vehicle'' in 49 CFR 383.5 
read:

    ``Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is 
designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank 
that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or 
the chassis. Such vehicles include, but are not limited to, cargo 
tanks and portable tanks, as defined in part 171 of this title. 
However, this definition does not include portable tanks having a 
rated capacity under 1,000 gallons.''

The NPRM proposed to revise the definition to read:

    ``Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is 
designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank 
having an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is 
either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the 
chassis. A commercial motor vehicle 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 is not considered a tank vehicle.'' 73 FR 19301.

The final rule further revised the definition:

    ``Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is 
designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank 
or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 
gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more 
that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or 
the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle 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 is not considered a tank vehicle.'' (Emphasis 
added.) 76 FR 26878.
    The change from the NPRM's definition (a single tank with an 
aggregate capacity of 1000 gallons) to that of the final rule (multiple 
tanks with an aggregate capacity of 1000 gallons) was made in response 
to comments to the rulemaking docket.

Applicability of the Tank Vehicle Definition to Intermediate Bulk 
Containers (IBCs)

    The Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) advised the Agency 
after publication of the final rule that the revised definition could 
have a dramatic impact on the number of drivers required to have a tank 
vehicle endorsement, especially if IBCs were considered tanks covered 
by the definition. An IBC is a container used for transport and storage 
of fluids and bulk materials. IBCs are generally cubic in form and, 
therefore, can transport more material in the same area than 
cylindrically shaped containers.
    The DGAC noted that IBCs--which may have a capacity as high as 
3,000 liters but more typically do not exceed 1,000 liters (264 
gallons)--are commonly used to transport liquid hazardous materials and 
are subject to the Department of Transportation's hazardous materials 
regulations. These packages are frequently transported by less-than-
truckload (LTL) carriers. DGAC and others have asked whether FMCSA 
intended IBCs to be considered tanks, as that term is used in the 
``tank vehicle'' definition. If so, many drivers who had not previously 
held a tank vehicle endorsement would be required to get one.
    FMCSA acknowledges the trucking industry's concerns. However, the 
Agency intended that the revised definition would cover IBCs secured as 
indicated by the definition. For example, the aggregate capacity of 
four or more 1,000-liter IBCs would exceed the 1,000 gallon threshold. 
Drivers for many LTL carriers will therefore need to obtain a tank 
vehicle endorsement for their CDLs in order to maintain operational 
flexibility and to qualify to transport the range of cargo they 
normally handle.
    The Agency includes in this notice new regulatory guidance on this 
issue. It will be posted to the Agency's Web site with previously 
published regulatory guidance for the benefit of interested parties and 
publishing companies that reprint the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations and guidance.

Load Securement

    In response to other questions submitted to the Agency since the 
publication of the final rule on May 9, 2011, FMCSA confirms that the 
final rule covers IBCs that are attached to the vehicle, whether they 
are secured by bolts, straps, chains, or by blocking and bracing. The 
aggregate capacity of the tanks, not the details of their securement, 
determines the applicability of the rule. As noted above, the Agency 
includes in this notice new regulatory guidance which clarifies how the 
new tank vehicle definition covers IBCs, and in doing so emphasizes 
that the definition covers tanks that are permanently or temporarily 
attached to the vehicle.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) Petition for Rulemaking

    On February 22, 2012, the ATA petitioned FMCSA to revise the tank 
vehicle definition. This notice and the regulatory guidance address, in 
part, some of the issues raised by the petition, including the 
applicability of the definition to IBCs, the transportation of IBCs 
manifested as empty or residue, and the transportation of empty storage 
tanks on flatbed vehicles. The Agency granted the ATA petition on March 
30, 2012, and is committed to initiate notice-and-comment rulemaking 
that will seek input on the tank vehicle definition.

Compliance Date for the Tank Vehicle Definition Change

    The effective date of the final rule was 60 days after publication, 
or July 8, 2011. While the compliance date for the State requirements 
under subpart B of 49 CFR part 384 is three years from the effective 
date of the rule, or July 8, 2014, the definition of tank vehicle is 
not in subpart B of part 384 and therefore is currently effective. 
States that adopt amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations by reference, or complete their administrative adoption 
procedures relatively quickly, will be able to take action against a 
driver transporting materials in a tank vehicle without the proper 
endorsement before July 8, 2014.
    FMCSA recommends that drivers affected by the tank vehicle 
definition obtain the needed endorsement as quickly as possible or 
investigate the

[[Page 30921]]

requirements of the States in which they travel so that they do not 
transport tanks in States already requiring the endorsement.

Commercial Driver's License Standards; Requirements and Penalties: 
Regulatory Guidance on 49 CFR 383.5, Definitions

    Question: On May 9, 2011, FMCSA revised the definition of ``tank 
vehicle'' to include any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to 
transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having 
an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate 
rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or 
temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. Does the new 
definition include loaded intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or other 
tanks temporarily attached to a CMV?
    Guidance: Yes. The new definition is intended to cover (1) a 
vehicle transporting an IBC or other tank used for any liquid or 
gaseous materials, with an individual rated capacity of 1,000 gallons 
or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the 
vehicle or chassis; or (2) a vehicle used to transport multiple IBCs or 
other 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 or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.
    Question: On May 9, 2011, FMCSA revised the definition of ``tank 
vehicle.'' Does the new definition cover the transportation of empty 
intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or other tanks, or empty storage 
tanks?
    Guidance: No. The definition of ``tank vehicle'' does not cover the 
transportation of empty IBCs or other tanks when these containers are 
manifested as either empty or as residue on a bill of lading. 
Furthermore, the definition of tank vehicle does not cover the 
transportation of empty storage tanks that are not designed for 
transportation and have a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that 
are temporarily attached to a flatbed vehicle.

    Issued on: May 16, 2012.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-12692 Filed 5-23-12; 8:45 a.m.]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P