USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #21-0010

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Kansas Highway Patrol

Individual Name: Nicholas Wright

Location State: KS Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 20, 2021

Technical Trooper Nicholas Wright
MCSAP Training Coordinator/Public Information Officer
Kansas Highway Patrol
1220 South Enterprise Street
Olathe, KS  66061

Reference No. 21-0010

Dear Trooper Wright:

This letter is in response to your January 29, 2021, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to placarding and labeling requirements for certain packagings. In your email, you describe small semi-trailers approximately 15 to 20 feet long that have tanks attached for carrying bulk quantities of diesel fuel. You state that the tanks are greater than 119 gallons, but less than 1,000 gallons, and that each trailer contains one tank. You further state that the tanks are designed with the means to be lifted from the semi-trailers if the tanks are unbolted from the trailer. You have observed that while the tanks are designed so that they may be removed from the trailers, they are fitted with hoses and meters and other equipment which makes it more likely that these tanks remain attached to the trailers, and that they are loaded and unloaded without being removed from the trailer. Finally, you enclosed photographs of these trailers. Specifically, you ask whether packagings attached to trailers as described in your email meet the definition of a "cargo tank" or a "portable tank" and whether these packagings require placards or if they may be labeled instead of placarded.

Section 171.8 defines a cargo tank as a bulk packaging that: (1) is a tank intended primarily for the carriage of liquids or gases and includes appurtenances, reinforcements, fittings, and closures; (2) is permanently attached to or forms a part of a motor vehicle, or is not permanently attached to a motor vehicle but which, by reason of its size, construction or attachment to a motor vehicle is loaded or unloaded without being removed from the motor vehicle; and (3) is not fabricated under a specification for cylinders, intermediate bulk containers, multi-unit tank car tanks, portable tanks, or tank cars. It further defines a "cargo tank motor vehicle" as a motor vehicle with one or more cargo tanks permanently attached to or forming an integral part of the motor vehicle.

These tanks appear to be intended for the carriage of liquids and include appurtenances, reinforcements, fittings, and closures; they appear to be permanently attached to the motor vehicle, and appear by reason of their size, construction, or attachment to a motor vehicle to be loaded or unloaded while attached to the motor vehicle; and they do not appear to be fabricated to a specification for cylinders, intermediate bulk containers, multi-unit tank car tanks, portable tanks, or tank cars. Therefore, it is the opinion of this Office that based on your descriptions and the photographs you have provided, the tanks attached to trailers would be considered cargo tanks and the entire unit is a cargo tank motor vehicle. As such, these tanks would not be eligible for the placarding exceptions specified for portable tanks in § 172.514(c)(1) and would require placards and identification numbers on all 4 sides of the cargo tank motor vehicle when containing "NA1993, Diesel fuel, 3, PG III."

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.8, 172.514(c)(1)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
172.514 Bulk packagings