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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 #17-0077

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Texas Highway Patrol

Individual Name: Brad Gibson

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 21, 2017

Brad Gibson
Texas Highway Patrol
6200 Guadalupe Street
Building P
Austin, TX 78752

Reference No. 17-0077

Dear Mr. Gibson:

This letter is in response to your July 26 and 27, 2017, emails requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to combustible liquids. Specifically, you ask about reclassification and enforcement of Class 3 Flammable Liquids.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1.      You ask if it is permitted to reclassify a material listed in the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT; § 172.101) as a flammable liquid to a combustible liquid, while still listing the material as a Class 3 in the proper shipping description.

A1.      The answer is no.  As specified in § 172.202(a)(3), the hazard class listed in the proper shipping name must match the hazard class or division prescribed for the material as shown in Column (3) of the HMT in § 172.101. According to § 172.101(d)(4), each reference to a Class 3 material is modified to read "Combustible liquid" when that material is reclassified in accordance with § 173.150(e) or (f) or has a flash point above 60°C (140°F) but below 93°C (200 °F).

Q2.      You ask how a shipper should communicate to a roadside enforcement official that a material has been reclassified as a combustible liquid.

A2.      In accordance with § 173.22, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify a hazardous material. If the reclassified material is shipped in a bulk packaging, then it is still subject to shipping paper requirements and should be described as a combustible liquid. See A1. The requirements in this subchapter do not apply to a material classed as a combustible liquid in a non-bulk packaging unless the material is a hazardous substance, a hazardous waste, or a marine pollutant. A test report can be used to confirm a material's reclassification and confirm the flash point is within the prescribed range for reclassification. It should also be noted that under the HMR, test reports are not required to be included with a shipment of hazardous materials.

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


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

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
172.202 Description of hazardous material on shipping papers
173.150 Exceptions for Class 3 (flammable and combustible liquids)
173.22 Shipper's responsibility