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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 #22-0086

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Fujitrans USA Inc.

Individual Name: Laura Warren

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

November 7, 2022

Ms. Laura Warren
Vice President
Fujitrans USA Inc.
1231 E 230th Street
Carson, CA  90745

Reference No. 22-0086

Dear Ms. Warren:

This letter is in response to your August 22, 2022, email and subsequent conversations with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to requirements for transporting lithium ion batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries by highway. Specifically, you describe a scenario in which your company facilitates the highway movement of 1) “UN3480, Lithium ion batteries, 9” with a watt-hour (Wh) rating greater than 300 Wh, and 2) "UN3496, Batteries, nickel-metal hydride, 9." You ask several questions regarding the training, hazard communication, and emergency response information (ERI) requirements for highway transportation of these hazardous materials.

Regarding nickel-metal hydride batteries, a nickel-metal hydride battery transported by highway is not subject to any of the requirements of the HMR, except for incident reporting and basic packaging requirements to protect the batteries from damage and short-circuit during movement. Nickel-metal hydride batteries transported by highway are not subject to the HMR's hazard communication or training requirements. See § 172.102(c)(1) Special Provision 130 for further details on the requirements applicable to nickel-metal hydride batteries transported by highway.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as applicable to the transportation of large lithium ion batteries greater than 300 Wh as follows:

Q1. You ask whether drivers are required to have a hazardous material (hazmat) endorsement on their commercial driver's license (CDL) in order to transport the described lithium ion batteries by highway.

A1. The answer is no, a driver is not required to have a hazmat endorsement on their CDL to transport lithium ion batteries by highway in the United States. Section 172.504(f)(9) states that a Class 9 placard is not required for domestic transportation. Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) would not require a driver to have a hazmat endorsement on their CDL. However, please be aware that in accordance with § 177.800(c), each driver who is a hazmat employee is subject to the training requirements in Subpart H of Part 172 and the driver training requirements in § 177.816, regardless of whether a hazmat endorsement is required on their CDL.


Q2. You ask whether dock workers involved in the transloading of a shipping container containing these lithium ion batteries from a vessel to a motor vehicle are required to be "hazmat certified."

A2. Based on the understanding that “hazmat certified” means a hazmat employer has certified that a hazmat employee has been trained and tested in accordance with Part 172, Subpart H, then the answer is yes—depending on the function(s) performed by the employee relating to the safe transportation of the lithium ion batteries. The HMR's training requirements (see Part 172, Subpart H) apply to all employees directly affecting hazardous materials transportation safety. This includes persons who load, unload, or handle hazardous materials; prepare hazardous materials for transportation; or who transport hazardous materials subject to the HMR (see generally, §§ 171.1, 172.702(b)).

Q3. You ask whether the bill of lading (i.e., the shipping paper) presented to the motor vehicle carrier must comply with the requirements of the HMR.

A3. The answer is yes. The bill of lading for the described lithium ion batteries is subject to the hazardous materials shipping paper requirements of Part 172, Subpart C.

Q4. You ask whether a safety data sheet (SDS) is required to be provided to the driver of the motor vehicle.

A4. A shipment of the described lithium ion batteries is subject to the ERI requirements in accordance with Part 172, Subpart G. An SDS could be used to meet the ERI requirement (see § 172.602(b)(3)); however, it is not the only way to meet the content and accessibility requirements for ERI.

Q5. You ask whether the consignee of the shipment is required to have "hazmat certified" employees unload the shipping container after delivery.

A5. The answer is dependent on the details of the delivery procedure at the consignee's facility. If consignee employees unload the lithium ion batteries from the shipping container while the motor carrier is still present, then this meets the definition of "unloading incidental to movement" and therefore, the consignee employees must be trained in accordance with Part 172, Subpart H requirements. However, if the unloading occurs after the carrier has departed (i.e., no longer with or in presence of carrier personnel), then transportation has ended with respect to the shipment and the consignee employees are not subject to the HMR. See § 171.1(c)(3) for further details.

Q6. You ask whether hazardous material storage protocols are required to be followed at the consignee's facility.

A6. This question is beyond the scope of the HMR. Requirements for the storage of lithium ion batteries may be found in state and local fire codes and regulations issued by the Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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

171.1, 171.1(c)(3), 172.102(c)(1), 172.504(f)(9), 172.602(b)(3), 172.702(b), 177.800(c), 177.816

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
172.102 Special provisions
172.504 General placarding requirements
172.602 Emergency response information
172.702 Applicability and responsibility for training and testing