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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 #11-0246 ([Defense Ammunition Center] [Mr. Jeff Stretton])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Defense Ammunition Center

Individual Name: Mr. Jeff Stretton

Location State: OK Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 8, 2012



Mr. Jeff Stretton
Defense Ammunition Center
1C Tree Road
McAlester, OK 74501

Reference No. 11-0246

Dear Mr. Stretton:

This is in response to your request for clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to when "in commerce" applies to the movement of hazardous materials from an installation site across a U.S. highway (public road). In your letter, you present a scenario where hazardous materials are loaded on a motor carrier conveyance on one side of the highway, then the vehicle is moved across the highway where "final processing," including inspection and preparation of shipping papers, is performed. You state that the installation facility believes the HMR do not apply while the motor vehicle is crossing the highway and that the shipment is not in commerce because the carrier has not taken possession of the shipment. You, however, believe that the shipment is in "commerce" when the vehicle crosses the highway and is, therefore, subject to the HMR. You also state that there are no procedures in place to stop traffic while the motor vehicle is crossing the highway; however, there are flashing yellow lights at the intersection/crossing, and the speed limit is 45 miles per hour.

If the shipment is ultimately being moved in commerce (see the definition for "commerce" in § 171.8) after the "final processing" functions are completed, the HMR would apply when crossing the highway. Pre-transportation and transportation functions began before the vehicle crosses the highway (see § 171.1), such as the loading of the hazardous materials. Furthermore, if the installation"s personnel are driving the vehicle, the HMR would apply when crossing the public highway. In your scenario, "in commerce" has nothing to do with whether a carrier has taken possession. Please note that if access to the public highway is restricted by signals, gates, lights, or similar controls during the time the hazardous materials cross the public highway, the movement is not subject to the HMR (see §171.1(d)(4)).

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact this office should you have additional questions.



T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.1, 171.8

Regulation Sections

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