USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #18-0082

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Mr. Tom Boyd

Individual Name:

Location State: ME Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 27, 2019

Mr. Tom Boyd
389 Brighton Hill Road
Minot, ME  04258

Reference No. 18-0082

Dear Mr. Boyd:

This letter is in response to your May 26, 2018, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipment of “UN2794, Batteries, wet, filled with acid, electric storage.”  Specifically, you ask three questions related to a previously issued letter of clarification and a special permit.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1.  Is Configuration #1, as described in letter of clarification Reference No. 14-0037, authorized under the HMR without a special permit?  In the configuration, “[b]atteries are placed on the bottom layer of a pallet.  Battery terminals are protected with non-conductive caps or tape in compliance with § 173.159(a)(2) of the HMR.  The batteries are not in a box or a slip cover; therefore, this configuration is not utilizing the non-specification packagings authorized by § 173.159(d)(3) - (7).  Strong corrugated cardboard or rigid plastic is placed on top of this bottom layer of batteries and then shrink-wrapped with the batteries.  If the batteries do not fill the entire pallet area, empty cardboard or plastic boxes are used to fill that space to ensure the batteries are securely cushioned and packed to prevent shifting.  The empty boxes could include inert packing material.  On top of the shrink-wrapped battery layer we may place a shrink-wrapped layer of other items, hazmat or non-hazmat, with all hazmat items properly packaged according to the appropriate HMR packaging provision.  All layers are shrink-wrapped together to ensure the entire load is secure.  Each layer is capable of supporting the weight of the layer or layers on top.”

A1.  The answer is no.  Because the other materials (hazmat or non-hazmat) are placed on top of the batteries, the configuration described in question Q1 does not conform to the packaging methods authorized in § 173.159.

Q2.  May a shipper offer “UN2794, Batteries, wet, filled with acid, electric storage,” for transportation in the method prescribed in § 173.159(d)(6) with other materials, hazardous or otherwise, on a shrink-wrapped pallet without a special permit.

A2.  The answer is no.  As prescribed in § 173.159(a), batteries may not be packaged with other materials except as provided in § 173.159(g) and (h) and in §§ 173.220 and 173.222.

Q3.  Does Special Permit DOT-SP 16171 authorize other non-hazmat materials, such as pails, cans, or pipes, to be packed with batteries on the same pallet.

A3.  The answer is yes, provided the pails, cans, or pipes are packed in plastic totes or fiberboard boxes under the terms of the special permit.  Further, the materials must be contained in strong outer packagings that are sift-proof, if solid, or leakproof, if liquid.

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


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

173.159(a)(2), 173.159(d)(3) - (7), 173.159, 173.159(d)(6), 173.159(a), 173.159(g), (h), 173.220, 173.222


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
173.159a Exceptions for non-spillable batteries
173.220 Internal combustion engines, vehicles, machinery containing internal combustion engines, battery-powered equipment or machinery, fuel cell-powered equipment or machinery
173.222 Dangerous goods in equipment, machinery or apparatus