Most drivers who haven’t spent much time behind the wheel of a truck pulling a tank vehicle think it is like any other truck. However, there are several dangers you need to be aware of, you need more than your CDL, and you need an “N” endorsement to start operating a tank vehicle.
The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook Section 8: Tank Vehicles
Two significant differences in driving a tank vehicle are that it has a high center of gravity and a tendency to surge when less than full loads slosh around in the tank.
Much of it’s load is carried higher up from the ground with a tank vehicle than a “normal” load. That means the vehicle is top-heavy, which makes it easier to roll over on sharp curves. Tank vehicles containing liquid are much easier to roll over than most other big vehicles.
Even while doing the speed limit in a curve, your vehicle could roll over due to the liquid moving around in the tank. This hazard is particularly true with less than full loads. Therefore, drivers must take the highway on and off ramps and curves much below the posted speed limit.
As stated above, Paragraph 8.2.2, Danger of Surge in the Handbook, points out the perils associated with tanks with less than a full load and not empty. The surge is a result of liquid movement, which harms handling.
When you come to a stop, the liquid can surge back and forth, pushing the truck in the direction of the liquid wave. This occurrence is especially hazardous with “unbaffled tanks.” On slippery or icy roads, the liquid could push even a 40-ton truck out into traffic while stopped at an intersection. The only way of overcoming this hazard is knowing your truck and how it reacts to liquid loads.
Unbaffled tanks are often called “smooth bore tanks;” however, there’s nothing smooth about the ride. These tanks are usually used to haul milk and other products that cannot be baffled due to an inability to thoroughly clean a baffled tank. Baffles slow the “slosh” of liquids in the tank.
Additionally, the driver must know that liquids expand and contract depending on the temperature. They must also be familiar with weight limits and not get popped for an overweight truck.
Other Unique Traffic Laws Pertaining to Tank Vehicles
If you get caught speeding in a tank vehicle with more than 500 gallons of a flammable liquid, you can be charged with reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor. If convicted of “willful or wanton” disregard of public safety, you face up to six months in the Kern County jail and a $1,000 fine or both.
Plus, when your tank capacity is more than 500 gallons, and you’re hauling a flammable liquid, your Hours of Service (HOS) in CA is limited to ten hours regardless of DOT FMCSA HOS rules.
Call the Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Defense Attorneys in Kern County
If you get a ticket out there on 99 in your tank vehicle, exercise your “right to remain silent,” then call the traffic defense team of Bigger & Harman (661) 349-9300.
Any speeding ticket in a tank vehicle could become a misdemeanor charge at the discretion of the judge. Likewise, driving a tank vehicle without the proper endorsement could be a misdemeanor. In all, there are over 350 misdemeanor charges related to operating a commercial vehicle; we can help you resolve any of those.
With our traffic court experience, it makes more sense to hire us to resolve your misdemeanor charge than a criminal defense attorney. Although they might have experience in criminal trials, very few CA attorneys can match our time in traffic court over the past ten years.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
CVC Section 12810.5, Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal