(Volpe Center – DOT) As of 2012, accidents involving cargo tank trucks were the leading cause of injury and death from hazardous material transportation incidents. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) turned to U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center to investigate real-life rollovers and current training programs, and to develop recommendations to improve cargo tank safety. When it comes to reducing cargo tank rollovers, effective training is as important as new technology. Transporting hazardous materials requires specialized knowledge. Liquid hazardous material sloshing around a tank will act differently than heavy wooden pallets. The Volpe team recommended five efforts to ensure robust training specific to driving tanker trucks:
- PHMSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should collaborate to develop a Tank Vehicle Endorsement Curriculum with guidelines including use of the PHMSA/FMCSA Rollover Prevention Training Video.
- Section 8 Tank Vehicle, a chapter in the commercial driver’s license manual, should be redesigned to be less ambiguous. Information relevant to tank vehicles should be in that section, information that is relevant only for box trailers should be deleted, and recommended behaviors should be specific and, where appropriate, quantified.
- The tanker industry should explore the benefits of signage specific to tank-vehicle rollover, with recommended speed limits for curves and ramps to determine safe tanker speeds under varying tank load conditions and roadway geometries.
- PHMSA and FMCSA should work with the tanker industry to develop incentives for tanker carriers to adopt advanced safety technology.