All About the CDL Tanker Endorsement

Earning your class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to drive most commercial vehicles, but you will need endorsements for more specialized types of trucks. Our programs include three endorsements: hazardous materials (hazmat), doubles/triples, and tanker. The CDL tanker endorsement is necessary to transport liquids or gases and can increase the job opportunities that are available to you.

Vehicles That Require the Tanker Endorsement

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for the trucking industry, including endorsement requirements. Per these rules, a tanker endorsement is necessary to drive any vehicle that fits the definition of a “tank vehicle.”

This is any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that fits the following criteria:

  • Transports fluids (liquid or gaseous material) of any variety
  • Holds the fluid in one or multiple tanks with an individual capacity of 119 gallons or more
  • Carries a total volume of 1,000 gallons or more

This definition is outlined in §383.119 of the Code of Federal Regulations and does not include any vehicle that is transporting empty tanks or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). However, it does include vehicles that transport multiple smaller tanks, as long as the total volume is over 1,000 gallons.

Do You Need a Hazmat Endorsement As Well?

Many tank vehicle driving jobs require a hazmat endorsement as well as the tanker endorsement. It’s a good idea to get both just in case, even if you don’t think you will need them. Our programs will prepare you for both of these endorsement tests, plus the exam for doubles/triples. The combination of these two will be marked as an “X” endorsement on your CDL. 

Earning the CDL Tanker Endorsement

To earn your tanker endorsement, you will need to pass a written exam, which you will take at the same time as the general knowledge test. The exam includes 20-30 multiple-choice questions about safe fluid transportation.

To study for this test, you should read Section 8 of the CDL manual.

This includes the following subsections:

8.1 – Inspection

There are additional items you will need to check when inspecting tank vehicles compared to standard semi-truck. Most importantly, you need to ensure there are no leaks. Carrying a liquid or gas in a leaking tank is a crime. You will also need to check any special-purpose equipment and ensure you are carrying any necessary emergency supplies.

8.2 – Driving

Driving a tank vehicle requires additional skills and you will need to be aware of the vehicle’s high center of gravity. Surge, which is the movement of liquid in the tank, is also important to understand and account for while driving. You will also need to identify the difference between baffles and bulkheads and should know the rules for loading a tank vehicle.

8.3 – Safety Rules

This subsection covers some key safety rules for driving tank vehicles. You will need to know how to handle curves, skids, and surge. It’s also important to drive smoothly and keep stopping distance in mind at all times.

Earn Your CDL and Endorsements

Our schools will give you valuable skills that will continue to benefit you throughout your trucking career. Our accelerated programs can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our CDL training schools, contact us today.