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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 #12-0193 ([HAZ-MAT Transportation Services] [Mr. Jack Peters])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: HAZ-MAT Transportation Services

Individual Name: Mr. Jack Peters

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 5, 2013



Mr. Jack Peters
HAZ-MAT Transportation Services
P.O. Box 69206
Seattle, WA 98168

Ref. No. 12-0193

Dear Mr. Peters:

This responds to your August 28, 2012 email requesting clarification of the meaning of contract carrier and private carrier under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Specifically, you request clarification of the meaning of these terms with regard to the exception from the UN specification packaging requirements of
§ 173.197 under § 173.134(c)(1) of the HMR, namely, whether the exception applies to contract or private air carriage of regulated medical waste (RMW). 

The common meaning of "contract carrier" is any person that transports goods or passengers for others under one or a limited number of contracts.  A "private carrier" is a person that typically transports its own goods or passengers rather than providing transport under contract to others.  Unless specifically qualified in the HMR, use of either term in the HMR signifies the broad meaning of "carrier" as it is defined in § 171.8.  That is, use of either term signifies all modes of transportation. 

With regard to regulated medical waste transported by aircraft, the exception in
§ 173.134(c)(1) applies.  RMW may be transported in non-DOT specification packaging by a contract or private air carrier provided the RMW is packaged in a rigid non-bulk packaging conforming to the requirements of §§ 173.24 and 173.24a of the HMR and to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration packaging requirements for bloodborne pathogens in 29 CFR 1910.1030.  The RMW may not include a waste concentrated stock culture of an infectious substance.  Additionally, sharps containers must be securely closed to prevent leaks or punctures.  Also, take note that the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI) does not authorize a similar exception from specification packaging requirements for air transport of RMW as the HMR.  Air carriers that operate in accordance with the ICAO TI may refuse shipment of RMW offered for transport in non-DOT specification packaging.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please contact this office.


Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.134, 173.24, 173.24a

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2-Definitions and exceptions
173.24 General requirements for packagings and packages