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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 #15-0025 ([Arizona Department of Public Safety] [Officer Daniel Voelker])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Arizona Department of Public Safety

Individual Name: Officer Daniel Voelker

Location State: AZ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 24, 2015

Officer Daniel Voelker
Arizona Department of Public Safety
2102 W. Encanto Blvd., Mail Drop 4011
Phoenix, AZ 85009

Reference No. 15-0025

Dear Officer Voelker:

This responds to your February 2, 2015 email regarding the transportation requirements for wet (electric storage) batteries in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you request clarification of the loading and bracing requirements prescribed in § 173.159(e)(2), which require batteries to be loaded or braced so as to prevent damage and short circuits in transit. You describe and provide photographs for two similar scenarios where wet batteries are loaded into an enclosed box trailer. You state that all of the batteries are wrapped on to pallets but that you cannot find evidence of the batteries being further secured to the pallets. The pallets are then loaded in the box trailer using an "I" formation. This formation has two pallets side by side at the head of the trailer, followed by a single pallet, then two more pallets side by side. This pattern repeats from the front of the trailer to the rear of the trailer. You note that in the areas where there is a single pallet that the operator is not securing the pallet to the trailer in any way making it possible for the center pallets to shift or fall from side to side. The second scenario differs from the above only in that the pallets do not completely fill the length of the trailer and end around ten to fifteen feet from the rear of the trailer. Again, you note you are not finding any form of securement for the center pallets or any way to prevent the rear pallets from moving or falling towards the rear of the trailer.

It is the opinion of this Office that the method of loading or bracing the palletized batteries described in your letter may be used to satisfy § 173.159(e)(2) so long as no damage or short circuit may occur in transit. However, this requirement is a performance standard, meaning that the carrier would need to ensure that the configuration would preclude shifting that could cause damage or short circuit. 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.

Please note that except as otherwise provided in the HMR, the requirements of §177.834(a) provide general requirements for securing packages in a motor vehicle.

I trust this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Duane A. Pfund
International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.159(e)(2), 177.834(a)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
177.834 General requirements