• U.S. DOT Proposes Treating Electronics as Hazardous Materials
  • February 22, 2010
  • Law Firm: Alston & Bird LLP - Atlanta Office
  • On January 11, 2010, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule that would dramatically alter requirements for shipping lithium metal and lithium ion batteries and cells, such as those used in cell phones, laptops, and other common electronic equipment, on both passenger and cargo flights. See 75 Fed. Reg. 1302 (Jan. 11, 2010). The stated purpose of these new packaging and stowage requirements is to reduce the risk of fire on board flights, but the extent to which safety would be improved is uncertain at best. Balanced against this uncertainty, the proposed rule would impose significant new compliance costs for lithium battery and cell manufacturers, electronic device manufactures, and passenger and cargo aircraft operators alike. This advisory describes the regulations currently applicable to shipments of these goods, DOT’s proposed changes, and the significant implications for companies subject to the regulations.