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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 #12-0012 ([Britton & Associates Attorneys at Law] [Mr. Shannon M. Trevithick])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Britton & Associates Attorneys at Law

Individual Name: Mr. Shannon M. Trevithick

Location State: WI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 23, 2012



Mr. Shannon M. Trevithick
Britton & Associates Attorneys at Law
735 North Water Street, 16th Fl West
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Ref. No. 12-0012

Dear Mr. Trevithick:

This responds to your January 12, 2012 letter regarding the transportation requirements for wet (electric storage) batteries under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask for clarification of procedures that satisfy the requirement of § 173.159(e)(2) that batteries must be loaded or braced to prevent damage
and short circuits in transit.

According to your letter, Johnson Controls Battery Group (JCI) uses the following procedure of loading and bracing battery pallets on a motor vehicle: (1) a pallet is placed flush against the front end of the vehicle trailer and secured by subsequent pallet(s) or secured with load bars or straps; (2) subsequent pallet(s) are loaded flush against preceding pallets (allowing for gaps) until loading is complete; and (3) the rearmost pallet(s) are secured by load bars or straps. Your letter included photographs of the loading procedure.

It is the opinion of this Office that the method of loading or bracing the palletized batteries described in your letter satisfies § 173.159(e)(2) so long as no damage or short circuit occurs in transit. However, this requirement is a performance standard, so that if the batteries are capable of shifting to the extent of causing damage or short circuit, this method of loading or bracing would not satisfy § 173.159(e)(2).

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 information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.
Ben Supko
Acting Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet