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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

Interpretation Response #01-0010 ([Mr. Joseph Cormier])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Joseph Cormier

Location State: NH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

APR 24, 2001

Mr. Joseph Cormier                      Ref. No. 01-0010
1 Horseshoe Pond Lane
Concord, NH 03301

Dear Mr. Cormier:

This responds to your January 10 and January 17, 2001 letters and subsequent telephone conversation with Eric Nelson of my staff requesting clarification of the provisions of§ 173.159 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) applicable to transportation of non­spillable batteries. The HMR are the regulatory requirements contained in Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter C, Parts 171-180 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). For the purposes of the HMR, "subchapter" means 49 CFR Parts 171-180. Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q 1. What is the definition of a non-spillable wet electric storage battery?

AI. A non-spillable electric storage battery is a battery that is capable of passing the vibration and pressure differential tests as provided by § 173.I59(dX3). Non-spillable batteries manufactured after September 30, 1995 must be plainly and durably marked "NONSPILLABLE" or "NONSPILLABLE BATTERY."

Q2. Does each non-spillable battery have to pass the vibration and pressure differential tests?

A2. No. A battery must be capable of passing the tests as prescribed by § 173.159(dX3). Individual batteries are not required to actually be tested.

Q3. Are batteries transported in accordance with the packaging requirements in § 173.159(d) excepted from all DOT transportation requirements, including those of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?

A3. No. Compliance with § 173.1 59(d) excepts non-spillable batteries from the HMR.
Regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMC SA) may still apply. You may contact the FMC SA by writing to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20590

You may also contact FMCSA via the Internet at or by telephone at (202) 366-4012.

Q4. What is the definition of "securely packaged" as used in § 173.159(d)?

A4. "Securely packaged" means packaged in a manner so that under conditions normally incident to transportation, there is no identifiable release of the contents.

Q5. If a battery is not in compliance with § 173. 1 59(d), is the shipment subject to the full scope of the HMR?

A5. Yes.

Q6. Where can I go for assistance in understanding the requirements of the HMR?

A6. You may contact any RSP A Hazardous Materials Enforcement Office for assistance at the following addresses or telephone numbers:

Eastern Region
820 Bear Tavern Road Suite 306
West Trenton, NJ 08628
(609) 989-2256

Central Region
2350 East Devon Avenue, Suite 136
Des Plains, Illinois 60018
(847) 294-8590

Western Region
3200 Inland Empire Boulevard, Suite 230
Ontario, California 91764
(909) 483-5624

Southwest Region
2320 La Branch Street Suite 2100
Houston, Texas 77002
(713) 718-3950

Southern Region
1701 Columbia Avenue Suite 520
College Park, Georgia 30337
(404) 305-6120

400 7th Street SW DHM-41
Washington, DC 20590
(202) 366-4700

You may also contact the Hazardous Materials Information Center toll-free hotline between the hours of9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. ET at (800) 467-4922.

I hope this satisfies your request.


John A. Gale
   Transportation Regulations Specialist
   Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet