Commercial Driverís License: Endorsement N for Tanker Vehicles

by Joshua on February 13, 2014

Any vehicle that carries a liquid in a tank with a capacity to carry 1,000 gallons or more is defined as a tanker vehicle. Most drivers of tanker vehicles need an ìNî endorsement on their commercial driverís license to drive their tanker. Depending on the liquid you are transporting, you may also need an ìHî endorsement for hazardous materials. This guide will cover the ìNî endorsement: who needs it, how to get it, and how to keep it.

Who Needs an ìNî Endorsement?

There are three weight classes for commercial driverís licenses. Class C commercial driveríslicenses permit driving a vehicle under 26,001 pounds, and with this vehicle towing another vehicle under 10,000 pounds. Class B commercial driver licenses permit driving a vehicle over 26,001 pounds, but also have the stipulation of not being able to tow another vehicle over 10,000 pounds. Class A commercial driver licenses allow drivers to operate a vehicle over 26,001 pounds and also tow another vehicle over 10,000 pounds.
A vehicle with a tank of a volume more than 1,000 gallons that requires a Class A or Class B commercial driverís license also requires an ìNî endorsement. For vehicles light enough to be driven with a Class C license, you do not need the ìNî endorsement unless you are transporting hazardous materials.
State laws very. Check the laws in your state to make sure there are not further restrictions that make driverís need an ìNî endorsement. For example, in California any vehicle mounted with a fixed container of over 119 gallons in volume is considered a tank vehicle and drivers of these vehicles must have the ìNî endorsement on their commercial driverís license)

What Do I Need To Know to Get My ìNî Endorsement?

You will need to pass a knowledge and skills test to get your ìNî endorsement. The following topics are things you need to know to pass this test:

  • The causes and effects and how to handle cargo surge.
  • The many different types of tank vehicles and how they differ from one another.
  • How to handle transporting liquids of different densities.
  • How to handle different road grades, steepness, and terrain with an empty, half empty, or full tank.
  • The different methods for braking for empty, half empty, or full tanks.
  • The difference between baffled tank interiors and non-baffled tank interiors.
  • How to handle emergencies.

Tank Vehicle Checklist

To ensure your ìNî endorsement is not revoked follow all basic safety procedures for your tank vehicle. Ask yourself these questions until you get the italicized answers to ensure a safe trip and that your endorsement will not be revoked:

  • Done my tank have any leaks or damage? No.
  • Are my connections secure and pipes and hose fitted? Yes.
  • Are my vents clear and valves working? Yes.
  • Is the manhole secure while driving? Yes.
  • If installed, emergency shutdown programs are functioning properly? Yes.
  • Do I have a fire extinguisher on board? Yes.

Hazardous Materials

Depending on the liquid you are transporting in your tank vehicle, you may also need an ìHî endorsement for hazardous materials.
If you regularly use your tank vehicle for transporting hazardous materials you may want to consider applying for" the ìXî endorsement": for your convenience. The ìXî endorsement isthe equivalent of both the tanker ìNî endorsement and the hazardous materials ìHî endorsement combined.

Other Information on Driving a Tanker Vehicle

A lot of things can go wrong when driving a tanker vehicle. Tankers have a high center of gravity, sometimes magnified by the swing and pull of hundreds of gallons of fluids sloshing around in the tanks. They roll over easy.
Because of these high center of gravity concerns tankers must take every turn slowly. Remember, your safety and the safety of other drivers and pedestrians sharing the road is always more important than whatever penalty you may receive for being late somewhere with your tanker vehicle. Donít rush and focus on every turn to ensure you donít flip over.
Speeding ticket penalties are increased for drivers with flammable fluids in their tanks.
There are also many violations that will result in you being barred from driving a tanker vehicle. These violations include:

  • A conviction involving driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating your tanker vehicle.
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident in your tanker vehicle.
  • Transporting controlled substances with your tanker vehicle, or using your tanker vehicle in any association with a crime that involves controlled substances being manufactured, distributed, and dispensed.

Being convicted of a serious moving violation, including driving in excess of 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, changing lanes without signal or reason, following other drivers too closely and also being involved in a crash that results in one or more fatalities.

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