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Interpretation Response #02-0055 ([U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office] [Steven H. Wisness])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office

Individual Name: Steven H. Wisness

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Feb 28, 2003

Mr. Steven H. Wisness                   Reference No. 02-0055
Safety and Regulatory Compliance Manager

Director, Office of Site Services
U.S. Department of Energy
Richland Operations Office
P.O. Box 550
Richland, Washington 99352

Dear Mr. Wisness:

This responds to your letter regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to security force personnel contracted by the Department of Energy (DOE) for the protection of Federal assets under DOE control.  You state that, in performance of their duties, the security force personnel also provide law enforcement support to other local, state, and Federal agencies.  You inquire whether the contractor would be subject to the HMR when transporting weapons and explosives in ready-to-fire mode in the performance of their duties.  I apologize for the delay in responding and any inconvenience it may have caused.

The answer is yes.  In general, any person who transports hazardous material in commerce or causes hazardous material to be transported in commerce is subject to the Federal hazardous material transportation law (Federal hatzmat law), 49 U.S.C. §§ 5101-5127, and the HMR. 49 U.S.C. § 5103(b).  Thus, a "person" who, under government contract, transports or causes a hazardous material to be transported in commerce is subject to the HMR; see § 171.1(b). The term "commerce" means transportation that is or affects interstate trade or traffic. 49 U.S.C. § 5102(l) Consequently, the HMR do not apply to transportation that is entirely on private property and neither follows nor crosses a public way.  Property is regarded as private if public access is legally and actually restricted from the area where transportation occurs.  Also transportation of a hazardous material for national security reasons under the conditions specified in § 173.7(b) is not subject to the HMR.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Hattie L. Mitchell
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions