The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a Safety Advisory warning owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) about possible risks involved with use of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices, such as e-cigarettes or vaporizers, in and around CMVs.
The use of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices has resulted in incidents including explosions, serious personal injuries, and fires, FMCSA said. The agency cited an October 2014 report from the U.S. Fire Administration that estimated that there had been 25 incidents between 2009 and August 2014. As the devices have become more common media reports suggest that considerable more incidents have occurred, FMCSA said.
Reported explosions regularly involved the ejection of a burning battery case or other components from the device that then ignited nearby flammable or combustible materials. The Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not specifically address the potential safety risks posed by battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices, FMCSA noted. However, the agency said that carriers and drivers should be aware of the risks associated with these devices and exercise good judgment and appropriate discretion in their possession, storage, and charging or use on, around, or while operating a CMV. FMCSA said that carriers and drivers should adopt the same precautions as outlined in the smoking prohibitions on, near, or when loading and unloading a motor vehicle transporting hazardous materials in accordance with 49 CFR 177.834(c) and 397.13.