A tanker truck driver transports large shipments of liquids or gases within cities and across long distances. Tanker trucks are unique trailers that feature reinforced metal tanks, specially designed to carry delicate substances and chemicals. Drivers might bring tanks of fuel to gas stations, ship large amounts of milk to manufacturers, or remove sewage from septic tanks. In order to ensure the safe operation of large tanker trucks, a new driver is typically required to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). In addition, a tanker truck driver who transports oil, gasoline, or industrial chemicals must pass hazardous materials training before working alone.
A driver might work for a trucking company, a municipal government, or a wholesale distributor that prepares agricultural or fuel products. Some tanker truck drivers buy their own specialty vehicles and operate their own contracting businesses. It is common for a driver who delivers fuel or commodities to spend many hours on the road, either making several stops around a city or driving long distances between rural destinations.
An oil or fuel tanker truck driver visits gas stations, truck stops, and industrial sites to refill reservoirs. He or she is usually responsible for hooking up hoses and dispensing fuel safely. Individuals who deliver food products or water generally make stops at commercial packaging or distributing plants, where other employees help them empty their trucks into specially designed tanks or reservoirs. There is a large emphasis placed on safety and sanitation for both oil and food product tanker truck services, and delivery procedures are often required to be carefully documented.
Drivers who work for government organizations perform public services, such as removal of waste from septic tanks. Such professionals carefully extract material using hoses and pumps that are often built into the tankers. According to local sanitation codes, drivers bring waste to a designated treatment facility and empty their trucks. It is common for the driver to utilize an assistant to help with navigation and maneuvering and connecting pumps.
An individual who wants to become a tanker truck driver in most countries is required to obtain a CDL by attending an accredited driver's training program and passing written and practical driving tests. Drivers who haul radioactive or otherwise harmful substances must receive specialized hazardous materials training as well, which is usually completed on-the-job in the first few weeks of employment at a trucking company. A tanker truck driver who delivers fuel is generally required to pass additional safety training that covers proper dispensing procedures.