Interpretation Response #19-0054
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
September 20, 2019
1415 N. Rose Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
Reference No. 19-0054
Dear Mr. Tsiyoni:
This letter is in response to your April 19, 2019, letter and subsequent phone conversations requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the transportation of battery-powered mobility aid equipment. Specifically, you ask for clarification of requirements in § 175.10 for battery-powered mobility aid equipment.
We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:
Q1. You ask whether lithium batteries may be used to operate a scooter "on the ground" that have not been tested according to Part III, Sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.
A1. The HMR do not govern the personal (non-commercial) use of lithium batteries. However, batteries that have not been tested in accordance with the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria are generally not acceptable for transportation in commerce in the United States. Therefore, it is unlikely that a person will have access to a lithium battery that has not been appropriately tested due to transport restrictions.
Q2. You state that the requirements in § 175.10(a)(15)(v)(B) to fully enclose batteries in a rigid housing is impracticable for "scooters" as the batteries must be available for removal by the user and ask whether these requirements apply to a wheelchair or other mobility aid equipped with a lithium ion battery carried as carry-on baggage.
A2. The requirements in § 175.10(a)(15)(v)(B) are for wheelchairs or other battery-powered mobility aids equipped with nonspillable batteries. The requirements for wheelchairs or other battery-powered mobility aids equipped with lithium ion batteries are prescribed in § 175.10(a)(17). Section 175.10(a)(17)(ii)(A-D), (iii) and (iv) prescribe the requirements for a lithium ion battery-powered mobility aid designed with a nonremovable battery and § 175.10(a)(17)(v)(A-E) prescribe the requirements for a lithium ion battery-powered mobility aid specifically designed to allow its battery to be removed (e.g., collapsible).
Q3. You ask for an increase in the "size" limit for a lithium ion battery that powers a wheelchair or other mobility aid that is specifically designed to allow the battery to be removed by the user when carried in checked or carry-on baggage.
A3. Under current HMR, lithium ion batteries designed to be removed from mobility aids may not exceed 300 watt-hours (Wh); a maximum of one spare lithium ion battery not exceeding 300 Wh or two spares each not exceeding 160 Wh each may be carried in carry-on baggage only (see § 175.10(a)(17)(v)). You may petition PHMSA for rulemaking to obtain the requested relief from the § 175.10(a)(17)(v) requirements. An applicant may request PHMSA add, amend, or delete a regulation in the HMR by submitting a petition for rulemaking (See 49 CFR § 106.95–106.130). You may obtain information on the petition for rulemaking application process by contacting PHMSA's Standards and Rulemaking Division at (202) 366-8553. For additional information regarding the transportation of mobility aids aboard aircraft, please visit the FAA Pack Safe Web site (see http://www.faa.gov/Go/PackSafe).
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
175.10, 175.10(a)(15)(v)(B), 175.10(a)(17), 175.10(a)(17)(ii)(A-D), (iii) and (iv), 175.10(a)(17)(v)(A-E), 175.10(a)(17)(v), 106.95–106.130
|§ 106.130||PHMSA response to an appeal|