Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today


A CDL holder must possess an endorsement to drive most trucks with a tank containing liquid or gas, regardless of whether the contents of the tank are hazardous materials (HM). Probably the biggest reason for that is the tendency of tanker trucks to hands-on if not handled correctly. In this article we’ll take a look at three requirements you’ll need to know to pass a written CDL endorsement for tank trucking.

Inspecting Tank Trucks for Your CDL Endorsement

The best place to start preparing for the written test for a CDL endorsement for tanker trucking is the DMV CA Commercial Driver Handbook Section 8, pp 8-1 to 8-3. However, you should be familiar with Sections 2, 5, 6 and 9 as well. A CDL holder preparing for the tank endorsement with a commercial driver’s permit (CLP) may only operate an empty tanker and a tank that previously held HM must get purged.

An essential element to check for when inspecting a tank is leaking. You should check under the vehicle for visible signs of leakage. It is a crime to drive a tank truck with a leak; you could get ticketed, placed out-of-service and be held liable for clean-up.

Check the shell and body of the tank for leaks. Make sure all valves are closed tightly and in the correct position before starting a trip. You must check pipes, hoses and their connections and joints. Check vents and covers to ensure they close and seal.

Driving a Tank Truck

The high center of gravity for a tank truck makes it susceptible to hands-on. Tankers must drive around curves and highway exits and entrances much below the posted speed limits. This caution is particularly true for a tank containing liquids as higher speeds can cause the liquid to splash and slosh around, which will cause the vehicle to become unstable. This condition is known as a surge.

Surge dangers increases with partially filled tanks when the vehicle starts or stops suddenly. When liquid surging crashes against the end of the tank it can cause the truck to move in that direction. Excessive waves can cause the truck to sway, which can be very dangerous on slippery surfaces caused by rain, snow or ice. However, side-to-side surges are more dangerous as these could cause the truck to hands-on.

Another condition tank drivers must be aware of is “outage.” Since liquids expand when heated, never load a tank to capacity. The driver must know how much the liquid will expand during movement and how much liquids weigh to ensure they stay within weight limits.

Safe Driving Rules for Tank Trucks

Some things to always remember when trucking tanks are:

  • Drive smooth
  • Control surge
  • Slow down well before a curve
  • Know your stopping distance and anticipate the surge
  • Never overreact when braking, skidding or accelerating

Knowing and applying these rules will help you pass your written exam for an endorsement on your CDL for tank trucking.

Caught in Kings County with No CDL Endorsement?

If you receive a ticket for not having an endorsement for driving a tanker, an overweight truck, no permit, speeding or some other traffic infraction or misdemeanor, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Hanford is a tough court with a strict judge, but we have a solid reputation in Hanford Traffic Court and frequently represent trucking clients there. Give us a call for a free consultation and let’s discuss what we can do to help you.


The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf article, CDL Endorsement – Tanker Trucks

Share To: