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

Research and Recommendations for Improving FMCSA’s HM Cargo Tank Facilities Monitoring and Enforcement Program


To develop recommendations for how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can better meet the requirements for tracking and monitoring the safety performance of cargo tank facilities.


FMCSA built a system for collecting and evaluating information on the safety performance of motor carriers. A recent FMCSA program review identified there is no comparable systematic collection and analysis of data regarding the compliance of cargo tank facilities with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), which are enforced by FMCSA for cargo tanks. FMCSA initiated a research project that identified a number of questions related to hazardous materials (HM) cargo tank facility regulatory oversight and enforcement (e.g., what data would be needed, how could it be obtained, etc.). A group of industry stakeholders is providing advice on best approaches for assembling such a system for cargo tank facility monitoring.


This research is to develop recommendations for how FMCSA could build a safety performance based monitoring capability to better meet HM cargo tank regulatory oversight and enforcement requirements. Research questions include, but are not limited to:
  • What operational capabilities need to be developed to enable a more efficient application of available FMCSA personnel, including the very scarce HMS personnel? These include data reporting requirements, database structures, and analysis algorithms.
  • What qualifications or standards are needed for enforcement personnel involved?
  • What data and algorithms are needed to best identify poorly performing entities within the industry?
  • What changes in regulations and policies are needed?
    • Which of these initiatives does FMCSA have the authority to issue and why?
    • Which of these initiatives require a rulemaking to update the HMRs?


Final report with detailed recommendations on how FMCSA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) could better address the HM cargo tank program needs.



October 2016: Kick-off meeting.
Fall 2016: Final detailed work plan; assemble group of volunteer stakeholders to provide recommendations to contractor on how to proceed
October 2016: Attend National Tank Truck Association Tank Week Conference
January 2017: Attend CVSA Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED) Conference
March 2, 2017: First meeting of Cargo-Tank Technical Group (CTG) stakeholders
June 15, 2017: Second CTG meeting
October 11, 2017: Third CTG meeting at National Tank Truck Association Tank Week Conference
April 2018: Fourth CTG meeting
August 2018: Briefing to CTG and final comments for report
September 2018: Briefing to FMCSA on final recommendations


FY16 Funding: $550,000

Current Status:

Complete - report pending publication.


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