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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 #21-0047

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Safeway Transportation

Individual Name: Richard Elliott

Location State: LA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

July 2, 2021

Mr. Richard Elliott
Safety Director
Safeway Transportation
3499 Suite A I-10 Frontage Rd
Port Allen, LA  70767

Reference No. 21-0047

Dear Mr. Elliott:

This letter is in response to your April 28, 2021, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to shipping papers. Specifically, you state that one of your company's drivers was issued a citation for not being in compliance with the shipping paper requirements specified in § 172.203(c)(1). You state that at the time of inspection, the driver presented the enforcement official with two documents, which you have attached. You state that one of those documents, the "Delivery Order," was mistakenly identified as the shipping paper by the enforcement official, and that the citation was issued because that document did not meet the requirements for documenting a hazardous substance. You further state that it is your opinion that the document titled, "Alternate Straight Bill of Lading" wholly represents a legal and correct shipping paper, and that the material specified on this document should not be identified as a reportable quantity (RQ).

As defined in § 171.8, a “shipping paper” means a shipping order, bill of lading, manifest or other shipping document serving a similar purpose and prepared in accordance with subpart C of part 172 (see § 172.202) of the HMR. Both documents you have attached appear to contain the description of the hazardous materials being shipped, the quantity of material, the number and type of packages being used, and the emergency response telephone number. Only the document titled, "Alternate Straight Bill of Lading" contains a shipper's certification. In accordance with § 172.204(a), all shipping papers must have a shipper's certification statement certifying that the material is offered for transportation in accordance with the HMR printed (manually or mechanically) on the shipping paper. Section 172.204(b) provides additional provisions to this requirement. Specifically, § 172.204(b)(1) states that a shipper’s certification is not required for a hazardous material offered for transportation by motor vehicle and transported in a cargo tank supplied by the carrier. Your scenario would appear to meet this provision. Therefore, the shipper's certification may not be used as a criterion to distinguish which document is the shipping paper.

In addition, § 172.203(c)(2) requires that the letters "RQ" be entered on the shipping paper either before or after the basic description for each hazardous substance (see § 171.8). As defined in § 171.8, a hazardous substance means a material that is listed in Appendix A to § 172.101. The technical name listed on the documents you provide, "2-Methylundecanal," is not listed in Table 1 to Appendix A in § 172.101 and should not be identified as a hazardous substance on a shipping paper.

Finally, it is the opinion of this Office that both documents could be identified as shipping papers, and therefore must contain all required description information.

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

171.8, 172.101, 172.202, 172.203(c)(1), 172.203(c)(2), 172.204(a), 172.204(b), 172.204(b)(1)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
172.202 Description of hazardous material on shipping papers
172.203 Additional description requirements
172.204 Shipper's certification