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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

Hazardous Materials Standards and Rulemaking Overview

About the Standards and Rulemaking Division

The Standards and Rulemaking Division is located in Washington, DC and led by the Division Director.  The Division is responsible for all aspects of rulemakings, letters of interpretation and controlled correspondence, petitions for rulemaking, NTSB recommendations, administrative appeals, paperwork reduction initiatives, international position papers and agenda, and outreach.  Please contact the Standards and Rulemaking Division with questions or for further assistance. Furthermore, visit the regulations map for general information about the standards and rulemaking process.


“To develop regulations governing the safe and secure transportation of hazmat in commerce and provide guidance and assistance to the regulated community and other stakeholders to foster required and voluntary compliance.”


We achieve our mission though three distinct Branches, each with a very specific roles and responsibilities.  The Branches within the Division provide services in the following functional areas: 

Standards Development Branch (PHH-11)

This Branch is responsible for the development safety and security standards for the transportation of hazardous materials by all modes of transportation.  The standards-setting process requires the examination of concerns expressed by government and non-government entities and requires a thorough knowledge of technological advancements, economic conditions, incident history, and regulatory activities of other agencies.    The Branch works to identify the most appropriate amendments to the HMR and to notify the public, as appropriate.

Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch (PHH-12)

This Branch is responsible for improving the quality of existing and future regulations through review and revision.  Regulatory modifications take place in response to technological advancements, improved hazardous materials packaging, and changes in economic factors.  In many cases these innovations and changes are permitted only by Special Permit although safety experience of use of these permits allows for eventual incorporation into the HMR.  Investigation of technological developments and reassessments of the risks of certain quantities and forms of materials may indicate that certain regulations are no longer essential.  The Branch serves as the central source of data and information for the modal operating administration of the Department relative to termination of Special Permits by regulatory modifications and to the elimination of regulations no longer considered necessary.

International Program Branch (PHH-13)

This Branch is responsible for promoting and enhancing consistency between the HMR and the United Nations Recommendations, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI).  The Branch provides timely coordination, preparation and completion of U.S. proposals submitted to the bodies responsible for the promulgation of these standards and assists in the review of proposals tendered by other governments and observer bodies.  The Branch supports all aspects of international rulemaking and harmonization projects from initiation to completion.