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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 #12-0209 ([K & P Trucking, Inc.] [Ms. Kathy McConnell])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: K & P Trucking, Inc.

Individual Name: Ms. Kathy McConnell

Location State: MO Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Ms. Kathy McConnell
K & P Trucking, Inc.
P.O. Box 2306
Platte City, MO 64079

Ref. No.: 12-0209

Dear Ms. McConnell:

This responds to your September 14, 2012 email 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 and § 177.834(a) that provides general requirements for securing packages in a motor vehicle.

In your incoming letter you provide a detailed description of your loading and bracing procedures for wet (electric storage) batteries. Specifically, a third-party professional contracted by your client uses the following procedure of assembling battery pallet loads on a motor vehicle: (1) the batteries are loaded two layers high on the pallet with honeycomb cardboard placed on top; (2) the pallets and batteries are then wrapped tightly four times around with stretch wrap extending to the top of the pallet load to anchor the entire load; and (3) a third layer of batteries is placed on top of the cardboard and wrapped tightly with stretch wrap four times, overlapping the bottom layers. The trailers used to transport pallets of batteries have brace boards attached to the flooring at the front nose of the trailer and that the trailer is loaded as follows: two pallets are placed side-by-side in the nose of the trailer up against the brace boards; one or two single pallets are loaded in the center of the trailer adjacent to the original two pallets; and two side-by-side pallets are loaded adjacent to the center pallet(s). This pattern is continued towards the rear of the trailer, and ending with two side-by-side pallets. The final two pallets are secured by ether two load locks or a second brace board attached to the floor.

It is the opinion of this office that the method of loading or bracing the palletized batteries described in your letter satisfies the requirements of §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). For highway or rail transport electric storage batteries containing electrolyte or corrosive battery fluid shipped in accordance with §173.159(e)(2) are not subject to any other requirements of Subchapter C of the HMR including those provided in §177.834(a).

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 do not hesitate to contact this office.


Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
177.834 General requirements