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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 #22-0024

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Keller and Heckman, LLP

Individual Name: Trent Doyle

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 29, 2022

Trent Doyle
Keller and Heckman, LLP
1001 G Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20001

Reference No. 22-0024

Dear Mr. Doyle:

This letter is in response to your April 7, 2022, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to placarding requirements for certain lead acid battery shipments. You state that “UN2794, Batteries, wet, filled with acid, electric storage, 8” will be shipped by a motor carrier from a stateside facility and taken to a port where the batteries will be loaded on a vessel and transported overseas. The batteries will be packaged in intermodal containers that will be placarded and the completed packages will be prepared in accordance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. Furthermore, you state the motor vehicle portion of the shipment will be transported in accordance with § 173.159(e), which to your understanding provides a general exception from the HMR when batteries containing acid are transported via motor vehicle. Therefore, you ask whether motor vehicle drivers who are transporting these batteries to the port for vessel transportation are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) hazardous materials endorsement in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) even though the intermodal containers are placarded to satisfy the IMDG Code requirements for vessel transportation.

The answer is no. For purposes of the FMCSR, a hazardous materials endorsement on a CDL is required for operation of a motor vehicle used to transport hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR 383.5. The FMCSR define hazardous materials as any material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under Subpart F of 49 CFR Part 172; or any quantity of material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73. Additionally, for purposes of the HMR, if all the requirements provided in § 173.159(e) are met, wet electric storage batteries are not subject to any other requirements of the HMR—including placarding—except for incident reporting requirements found in §§ 171.15 and 171.16. Thus, it is the understanding of this Office, that a driver of a commercial motor vehicle transporting this material would not be subject to the requirements of the FMCSR for a hazardous materials endorsement on a CDL because the material is neither subject to placarding nor a select agent or toxin.

Note, in accordance with § 172.502(c), placards may be displayed for a hazardous material—even when not required—if the placarding otherwise conforms to the requirements of the HMR and thus permissive placarding does not trigger the requirements for a hazmat endorsement.

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


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.15, 171.16, 172.502(c), 173.159(e)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.15 Immediate notice of certain hazardous materials incidents
171.16 Detailed hazardous materials incident reports
172.502 Prohibited and permissive placarding
173.159 Batteries, wet