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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 #19-0101

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Council on the Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA)

Individual Name: L’Gena Shaffer

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 6, 2019

Ms. L'Gena Shaffer
Senior Technical Consultant
Council on the Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA)
10 Hunter Brock Lane
Queensbury, NY  12804

Reference No. 19-0101

Dear Ms. Shaffer:

This letter is in response to your August 7, 2019, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipment of data loggers containing lithium batteries. In your letter, you explain that a data logger is a piece of equipment used to track or monitor packages in transport. You are seeking clarification regarding the provisions for data loggers as discussed in the final report by the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG) dated December 21, 2018 (ST/TG/AC.10/C.3/108). You note that while most data loggers are powered by small or excepted batteries and fuel cells, the number of data loggers in consignments often exceeds the amounts authorized for hazard communication exceptions specified in § 173.185(c)(3). Specifically, you ask whether data loggers used to track or monitor packages are subject to the requirements of the HMR.

The answer is yes. Data loggers offered as part of consignments are subject to all applicable requirements of the HMR. As stated in your letter, the HMR provide exceptions for smaller lithium cells or batteries as specified in § 173.185(c). However, consignments of data loggers containing lithium batteries that exceed the quantity limits in § 173.185(c)(3) are subject to the marking requirements in the HMR. The provisions adopted by the UNSCOE TDG have not been adopted into the HMR and, therefore, do not apply to your scenario.

When data loggers are in use, they must be in compliance with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, including those in 14 CFR § 91.21 that address the operation of portable electronic devices aboard aircraft. Information and guidance to assist with the compliance of this requirement can be found in Advisory Circular (AC) 91.21-1D, titled Use of Portable Electronic Devices Aboard Aircraft.  For additional information regarding the FAA requirements, or if you seek an interpretation of whether your particular devices meet the electronic transmission requirements contained in 14 CFR § 91.21, you may contact the FAA at the following address:

Federal Aviation Administration
Office of the Chief Counsel
Regulations Division
800 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20591
Additionally, the FAA Advisory Circular can be found here:

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

173.185(c), 173.185(c)(3)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries