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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 #21-0026

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Airgas USA, LLC

Individual Name: John Anderson

Location State: OK Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 13, 2021

Mr. John Anderson
Airgas USA, LLC
31 North Peoria Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74120

Reference No. 21-0026

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This letter is in response to your September 20, 2020, email requesting clarification on how a special permit must be presented while in transportation. Specifically, you ask whether a special permit—one that by requirements set out in the special permit is required to be carried aboard each motor vehicle used to transport packages covered by the specific special permit—may be provided as a PDF on an electronic device (e.g., a tablet) in lieu of a paper copy of the special permit.

The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) do not prescribe the manner that a special permit must be carried when transported aboard a motor vehicle. Therefore, if a special permit does not specify that it needs to be carried aboard the transport vehicle in a manner prescribed for shipping papers in § 177.817, then it is an acceptable practice to carry a PDF of the special permit on an electronic device (e.g., a tablet) aboard a motor vehicle.

Finally, to achieve a baseline accessibility for accident or inspection scenarios, we recommend that the driver and/or carrier should ensure:

1. The PDF is accessible by the driver of the motor vehicle at all times while operating under the special permit; and

2. The PDF is made available upon request to any person who is either responding to an incident or conducting an investigation involving a hazardous material covered by the special permit.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact this Office at 202-366-4535.


Donald Burger
Chief, General Approval and Permits
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
177.817 Shipping papers