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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 #16-0053 ([ASCM- FedEx Freight] [Mr. Frank Horvat])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: ASCM- FedEx Freight

Individual Name: Mr. Frank Horvat

Location State: OR Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 4, 2016

Mr. Frank Horvat
ASCM – FedEx Freight
750 NE Fazio Way
Portland, OR  97211

Reference No. 16-0053

Dear Mr. Horvat:

This letter is in response to your March 28, 2016, email and subsequent phone conversation with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to carrier requirements when transporting packagings authorized under special permit.  Specifically, you describe a scenario in which a carrier (driver from FedEx) accepts and transports a hazardous material shipment operating under a special permit that was not provided to it by the offeror/shipper at the time the shipment was tendered.  Your questions have been paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. Is an offeror required to furnish a copy of the special permit to the carrier in all instances when offering packagings authorized under a special permit?

A1. The answer is no.  As provided in § 173.22a(c), when a special permit issued to a person who offers a hazardous material contains requirements that apply to a carrier of the hazardous material, the offeror shall furnish a copy of the current special permit to the carrier before or at the time a shipment is tendered.  However, the offeror is required to do so only when the provisions of the special permit specifically require it to be in the possession of the carrier during transportation.  

Q2. Can a carrier (driver from FedEx) rely on information provided by the offeror/shipper?

A2. As provided in § 171.2(f), no person may transport a hazardous material in commerce unless the hazardous material is transported in accordance with applicable requirements of this subchapter, or an exemption or special permit, approval, or registration issued under the HMR.  Each carrier who transports a hazardous material in commerce may rely on information provided by the offeror of the hazardous material or a prior carrier, unless the carrier knows or, a reasonable person, acting in the circumstances and exercising reasonable care, would have knowledge that the information provided by the offeror or prior carrier is incorrect.

Q3. Can a carrier (driver from FedEx) be cited for civil penalties due to the fact that it may be transporting a special permit load without possessing a copy of the current special permit?

A3. Generally the answer is no unless the carrier knows or, a reasonable person, acting in the circumstances and exercising reasonable care, would have knowledge that the information provided (or lack thereof) by the offeror or prior carrier is incorrect.  See § 171.2(f).  Further, in instances where hazmat is not shipped in compliance with the HMR, the U.S. Department of Transportation generally attempts to identify and bring an enforcement proceeding against the person who first caused the transportation of the noncomplying shipment.  See the formal interpretation of carrier responsibility when accepting hazmat for transportation in commerce (June 4, 1998; 63 FR 30411).

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.22a(c), 171.2(f)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.2 General requirements
173.22a Use of packagings authorized under special permits