Four Things Tank Truck Drivers Need on the Road


The nation's tank truck drivers haul everything from food products to hazardous chemicals, which means they have to take extra precautions to guarantee safe delivery. These drivers must adhere to the same federal regulations as all professional drivers, but they also face additional requirements from their employers, such as special endorsements, Transportation Worker Identity Cards and passports. The additional requirements often mean long-haul tank drivers receive higher pay, earning about $5,000 to $10,000 more per year. That extra pay could equate to additional disposable income to spend at truckstops.

To help industry suppliers better understand these truckstop and travel plaza customers, Highway Business Matters talked with bulk carriers to learn four things tank truck drivers may seek out while on the road.

1. Specialized Equipment
Drivers have to wear personal protection equipment when handling chemicals and industrial gases. Jim D'Alessio, vice president of marketing and business development for Trimac Transportation, a bulk carrier headquartered in Alberta, Canada, said equipment can include special helmets, glasses, protective suits or respiratory equipment. While many fleets provide the gear, drivers may need to purchase gloves, goggles or other protective gear on the road. Drivers also may buy equipment based on their own preferences if they find something that fits better or is more comfortable.

2. Secure Parking
Tank truck drivers carrying hazardous materials or food-grade products may be willing to spend money on truckstop directories or telematics devices that can direct them to secure parking.

"When a tanker driver needs to rest, there are only certain areas they can park their equipment. This is to protect the public," said Danny Hansen, Sinclair's trucking manager.

John Conley, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers, said most gasoline and cement hauls are relatively short. However, chemical and food product hauls can be much longer and keep a driver on the road for a week or more. Locations can help attract drivers by alerting them to secure parking options either through directories, signage, direct communication with fleets, or telematics devices.

3. Safety Training
The tank truck industry faces a special challenge in preventing rollovers because of the high center of gravity on a tanker. As a way to support their customers, industry vendors can alert truckstop managers to a free cargo tank rollover prevention video the Department of Transportation is releasing this summer. Truckstops can then serve their customers by distributing the video or directing drivers to it online.

4. Employment Preparation
In the same spirit of customer service, industry vendors can share ways truckstop managers can help tank drivers prepare for their tank truck and hazmat endorsements. Study guides at the truckstop or a directory of useful links on a location's website could improve customer service and boost driver loyalty.

{HBM} Highway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
Retailer Featured:
National Tank Truck CarriersSinclair Oil Corp/dba Little AmericaTrimac Transportation

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