Several of the standards for learner’s permits and license testing for commercial driver’s licenses were changed on 09 May 2012. The most important change for HazMat drivers was for the definition of “tank vehicle”. Now, the transport of intermediate bulk containers (IBC’s or totes as they are affectionately called) can require the driver to have the tanker endorsement on their CDL. The definition of a “Tank Vehicle” was changed to this: “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.” Because of the inclusion of the term “…or tanks…” in the definition above, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) clearly showed their intention that the new definition would cover IBCs. Therefore, any driver carrying four or more 250 gallon totes (hazardous material or not) would exceed the 1000 gallon threshold and would need to have a tanker endorsement on their CDLs. Please note that a vehicle transporting empty totes with a volume of greater than 1000 gallons is NOT considered a tank vehicle and the driver does NOT need a tanker endorsement. Effective Date of New Definition Under the federal register notice of 09 May 2012, the new definition of tank vehicle would become effective in 60 days on 08 July, 2012. However, the regulation in 49 CFR part 384 subpart B gives the states three years to adopt changes in the federal regulations regarding the licensing of commercial drivers. This would make the latest effective date of the new tank vehicle definition 08 July 2014, except for the fact that changes in definitions are not subject to the three year requirement of 49 CFR 384. Therefore, each state will add the new definition to their rules when they complete the next scheduled administrative adoption of the federal regulations for motor vehicles. The bottom line is that the requirement for drivers to have the Tanker Endorsement on their CDLs will become effective on a state-by-state basis. The more quickly an individual state goes through the adoption process, the more quickly they will be able to take action against drivers who don’t have the endorsement. Since most commercial drivers carry through many states, my recommendation is that they get the tanker endorsement ASAP to prevent the potential for trouble if you are likely to haul IBCs. The other option is to refuse loads of more than 1000 gallons aggregate volume of bulk containers (120 gallons or more). If you are an intra-state driver, you can have your compliance staff watch the regulatory wheels at their state agencies and see when the new rule will become effective.