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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 #14-0198 ([Denton Police Department] [Mr. Wm. Scott Burson])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Denton Police Department

Individual Name: Mr. Wm. Scott Burson

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 4, 2015

Mr. Wm. Scott Burson
Denton Police Department
601 E. Hickory St. Ste. E
Denton, TX 76205

Ref. No. 14-0198

Dear Mr. Burson:

This responds to your October 14, 2014 e-mail requesting clarification of the placarding requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, your questions relate to a flatbed trailer carrying mixed cargo of hazardous and non-hazardous material (i.e., pipeline servicing equipment and supplies, including one intermediate bulk container with hazardous material). Your questions have been paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. If there are packages containing the communicated hazard on the transport vehicle, may placards be affixed to pieces of cargo on the transport vehicle when the pieces of cargo do not contain hazardous material?

A1. No. Under § 171.2(k), "[no] person may, by marking or otherwise, represent that a hazardous material is present in a package, container, motor vehicle, rail car, aircraft, or vessel if the hazardous material is not present." Even though there may be obstructed views due to the manner of loading the transport vehicle, the package(s) and transport vehicle must still be placarded in accordance with the HMR.

Q2. Can placards be attached to pieces of cargo that are clearly not hazardous materials, such as bundles of dressed lumber?

A2. No. Section 171.2(k) still applies even though it may be obvious that a piece of cargo does not contain hazardous material. The placards cannot be affixed to the non-hazardous cargo. Under § 172.504(a), placards must be affixed to each side and each end of the transport vehicle itself, except as otherwise provided by the HMR.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact this office again.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Acting Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.2(k), 172.504(a)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.2 General requirements
172.504 General placarding requirements