FMCSA issues trucking safety advisory on Samsung Galaxy Note7, lithium batteries

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is issuing a safety advisory to provide notice and information to trucking companies and drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) of the risks and regulations associated with transporting damaged, defective, or recalled lithium cells or batteries or portable electronic devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices recently recalled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

According to the CPSC, the lithium-ion battery in Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn and fire hazard. The recall affects nearly two million Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones.

Speaking October 20 during National Tank Truck Carriers’ Tank Truck Week in New Orleans LA, federal officials suggested these devices could pose a serious risk in a truck transporting hazardous materials. While carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone aboard a CMV by drivers and passengers has not been banned, FMCSA is recommending that all persons who wish to carry these devices on a CMV, including motorcoaches, take the following precautions:

• Turn off the device;

• Disconnect the device from any charging equipment;

• Disable all applications that could inadvertently activate the phone (ergo, alarm clock);

• Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation; and

• Keep the device in carry-on baggage or on your person. Do not store in an inaccessible baggage compartment.

In accordance with the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations 49 CFR 173.21(b), the transportation of electrical devices, such as batteries and battery-powered devices, which are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat, is forbidden, unless packaged in a manner which precludes such an occurrence. 

The recalled Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones are subject to this regulatory prohibition and may only be transported by CMV as cargo under the conditions of a Special Permit or Approval issued by PHMSA's Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.  

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