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RSPA Proposes Amendment to Require 375-Day Retention of HazMat Shipping Papers

The Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is proposing an amendment to the Hazardous Materials Regulations requiring shippers and carriers to retain a hard copy or electronic image of each hazardous material shipping paper for a period of 375 days after the date the hazardous material is accepted by a carrier.

RSPA proposes to add a new Section 172.201(e) and amend Secs 174.24, 175.30, 176.24, and 177.817 to require each shipper and carrier to retain a copy of the shipping paper — or an electronic image — for a period of 375 days after the date a hazardous material is offered for transportation by the shipper and accepted by the carrier. For purposes of the 375-day retention requirement, an electronic image includes an image transmitted by a fax machine, an image on the screen of a computer, or an image generated by an optical imaging machine.

The statute requires that each shipper and carrier of a hazardous material retain the shipping paper or electronic image thereof for a period of one year after the hazardous material is no longer in transportation. However, the shipper may not know the exact date when transportation ends, nor will an originating or intermediate carrier know when transportation ends if it does not deliver the hazardous material to the consignee. Therefore, RSPA is proposing that the 375-day retention period begin from the date the shipment is offered and accepted by the initial carrier for transportation. This is the same date that the three-year retention period for hazardous waste manifests starts.

Comments must be received by Nov 13, 2001 and must be submitted in two copies. Address comments to the Dockets Management System, Department of Transportation, Room PL 401, 400 Seventh St SW, Washington DC 20590-0001, identifying the docket number (RSPA-01-10568 (HM-207B)).

The proposal may be accessed at, clicking on Rules and Regulations, Notices, and then the docket number.

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