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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 #98-0318 ([Rudolf Express] [Mr. Dennis Urbaniak])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Rudolf Express

Individual Name: Mr. Dennis Urbaniak

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

NOV 18, 1998


Mr. Dennis Urbaniak                 Ref. No: 98-0318
Safety Director
Rudolf Express
1650 Armour Road
Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914

Dear Mr. Urbaniak:

This responds to your letter of October 21, 1998, requesting clarification on the requirements for securing packages under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171­180). You describe a situation in which hazardous materials classed as Division 4.1, flammable solids, are packaged in 127 steel drums. In order to get the entire shipment on one trailer, the drums were double-decked, with 37 drums standing upright on cardboard on top of the first layer of drums. The first layer was on the floor; the drums in the second layer were banded together and placed wall-to-wall in the middle of the trailer, with room in the front and back. You note that you did not believe that the drums were loaded correctly and ask if the cargo was properly secured.

Your understanding is correct. Section 177.834(g) requires a motor carrier to ensure that packages are secured against movement within a vehicle to prevent shifting or falling under conditions normally incident to transportation. These conditions most often include vehicle starting, stopping, cornering, accident avoidance, and varied road conditions. The scenario you provide does not meet the requirements of § 177.834(g). We note that the space at the front and the back of the top layer of drums in the configuration you describe presents the possibility of movement. Any movement of packages relative to the transport vehicle is a violation of the HMR.

The requirements in § 177.834(g) are met when packages of hazardous materials are secured in a manner that precludes movem8nt within the transport vehicle, e.g., blocking with other freight or the use of tie-downs or toe-boards. General requirements that address protection against shifting or falling cargo are found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRi 49 CFR Parts 383-399), specifically under §§ 393.100 to 393.106. These requirements allow varied methods of securement, such as blocking with other freight or use of tie-downs or load-locks.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.



Thomas G. Allan
Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
177.834 General requirements