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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 #09-0115 ([North Carolina State Highway Patrol] [Trooper K.S. Herring])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: North Carolina State Highway Patrol

Individual Name: Trooper K.S. Herring

Location State: NC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

July 6, 2009




Trooper K.S. Herring

North Carolina State Highway Patrol

2820 E. 10th Street

Greenville, NC 27858

Ref. No. 09-0115

Dear Trooper Herring:

This responds to your April 28, 2009 letter requesting clarification of requirements applicable to the transportation of wet batteries under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171"180). Specifically, you ask for clarification regarding our letter dated June 3, 2008 (Ref. No. 08"0067) to Mr. Dan Lane, of the Interstate Battery System of America, Inc., concerning loading and bracing of wet batteries in so-called "Mickey Body" trucks.

In accordance with § 173.159(e)(2), wet electric storage batteries must be loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit. A Mickey Body truck is designed so that the shelves in the compartments of the truck slope downward from the exterior toward the interior of the vehicle, and the shelves are covered with a slip-resistant surface. Our June 3, 2008 letter was intended to clarify that the loading methods described by Mr. Lane (i.e., the batteries are not stacked and, if the compartment in which the batteries are loaded is not full, the batteries are placed tightly to the front and interior of the compartment) combined with the slip-resistant surface and the downward slope of the shelving used in the trucks sufficiently provides for the achievement of the performance standard in § 173.159(e)(2). The slip-resistant surface installed in a Mickey Body truck need not meet the definition of "friction mat" in 49 CFR § 393.5.

Please be aware that transportation in Mickey Body trucks using the loading method addressed in our June 3, 2008 letter is one way to satisfy the performance standard in § 173.159(e)(2). There are a number of other loading methods that will satisfy the performance standard, including the use of non-conductive caps that entirely cover the terminals; utilizing cardboard, paper, wood, or similar materials to separate the batteries and cover the terminals; the use of friction mats or wooden pallets to secure the batteries against movement; or a combination of measures that will prevent damage and short circuits in transit. Batteries may be stacked provided they are secured in a manner that prevents damage and short circuits in transit.

If evidence indicates that batteries are damaged or short circuited or turn over and leak while in transport, then the performance standard of § 173.159(e)(2) is not achieved no matter what vehicle or loading method is used. If such evidence is found, the shipper or carrier may be subject to appropriate enforcement action. Note that shipments transported by highway or rail that fully comply with the requirements in § 173.159(e) are not subject to any other requirements of 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

173.159(e), 177.834

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
177.834 General requirements