On February 9, the National Transportation Safety Board issued two safety recommendations for stowing lithium batteries to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The recommendations are intended to reduce the likelihood and severity of cargo fires. They include physically separating the batteries from other flammable hazardous materials and establishing restrictions on the numbers of lithium batteries and other flammable hazardous materials that can be stowed.
The recommendations resulted from the investigation into the in-flight fire and crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 991 on July 28, 2011. The NTSB participated in investigating the crash of the South Korean cargo plane.
Generally PHMSA can’t issue requirements for transporting lithium batteries that are more restrictive than international regulations, according to NTSB. However, Congress has given the organization authority to do so if there is evidence that the deficiency in international regulations has contributed to an on-board fire.
To read the full recommendations go to http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-recs/RecLetters/A-16-001-002.pdf.