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Interpretation Response #18-0156

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Joseph Tsiyoni

Location State: AZ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 10, 2019

Mr. Joseph Tsiyoni
1415 North Rose Street
Tempe, AZ  85281

Reference No. 18-0156

Dear Mr. Tsiyoni:

This letter is in response to your December 6, 2018, phone conversations and emails requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to 173.185. 

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You seek confirmation of your understanding that the criteria in Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, along with the provisions in §§ 173.185 and 175.10 of the HMR, are applicable to the transport of any lithium battery by any mode of transport. 

A1. Your understanding is correct.  Shippers of lithium ion batteries or lithium metal batteries must comply with the packaging instructions in § 173.185 of the HMR, which states in paragraph (a) that each lithium cell or battery must be of the type proven to meet the criteria in Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.  Section 173.185(a) further states that lithium cells and batteries are subject to these tests regardless of whether the cells used to construct the battery are of a tested type.  Section 173.1(a)(2) states that Part 173 of the HMR includes the requirements to be observed in preparing hazardous materials for shipment by air, highway, rail, or water, or any combination thereof.  Therefore, the requirements of § 173.185—more specifically the requirement that all batteries be tested to meet the criteria in Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria—are applicable to all lithium batteries shipped by any mode of transportation.

Section 175.10 provides exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators transporting lithium batteries aboard aircraft as part of a wheelchair or mobility aid.  These lithium batteries are excepted from the requirements of the HMR provided they meet the criteria in Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, unless approved by the Associate Administrator of Hazardous Materials Safety (See        § 175.10(a)(17)(i)).  The exceptions in § 175.10 apply to shipments of hazardous materials by aircraft only.

Q2. You ask whether lithium batteries may be used on the ground if they have not been tested according to Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. 

A2.  The HMR do not govern the use of lithium batteries.  However, batteries that have not been tested according to the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria are generally not acceptable for transport in the United States according to the HMR.

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

173.185,175.10, 173.185(a), 173.1(a)(2), 175.10(a)(17)(i)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.1 Purpose and scope
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators