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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 #11-0217

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:

Location State: WI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 21, 2012
Shannon M. Trevithick
Britton & Associates
Attorneys at Law
735 North Water Street, 16th Floor West
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Ref. No.: 11-0217

Dear Mr. Trevithick:

This responds to your August 17, 2011 letter and follow-up telephone discussion regarding the transportation requirements for wet (electric storage) batteries in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you request clarification of the loading and bracing requirements in § 173.159(e)(2), which require batteries to be loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit. You provide a diagram and a proposed pallet production protocol that your client, Johnson Controls Battery Group, Inc. (JCI), requires shippers to comply with when creating pallets of wet batteries for highway transportation. You ask whether this diagram and these procedures comply with the loading and bracing requirements specified in § 173.159(e)(2). Finally, you indicate that JCI applied for, and was granted party status to DOT-SP 15161, which is a valid and current PHMSA special permit that authorizes the transportation in commerce of lead batteries from more than one shipper without voiding the exception in § 173.159(e).

As stated in the enclosed July 30, 2010 letter from Mr. Charles E. Betts to Mr. Robert N. Steinwurtzel (Ref. No.: 10-0129; copy enclosed), the requirement in § 173.159(e)(2) for the batteries to be loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit is a performance requirement. Though the diagram and the proposed pallet production protocol described in your letter appear to satisfy the intent of the requirement, the shipper and the carrier must ensure that the palletized batteries are loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit. Further, provided that JCI complies with the provisions of DOT-SP 15161 and this special permit is valid and current (i.e., no leakage and not expired), the transport vehicles would be permitted to carry material offered from multiple shippers.

Please note that motor carriers may be subject to additional requirements to protect against shifting and falling of cargo under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in 49 CFR Part 393, Subpart I.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact the Standards and Rulemaking Division at (202) 366-8553.



Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie
Associate Administrator for
Hazardous Materials Safety



Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet