The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), sending a warning to truckers hauling potentially defective Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, today issued an advisory to drivers and passengers of the risks associated with transporting damaged, defective, or recalled devices with lithium-ion batteries, or the batteries themselves.
FMCSA does not have the authority to ban truckers from carrying the phones, nearly 2 million of which were recalled in the U.S. alone after multiple reports of batteries overheating and catching on fire. After reports of similar problems with replacement devices, Samsung earlier this month voluntarily ceased production of the Galaxy Note 7. The recalled phones are now in the reverse logistics process as they move from the consumer to the retailer or wireless carrier and then back to Samsung or a third party accepting the returns.
Most, if not all, of the recalled devices would move by truck, because the Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned their carriage by air.
In its advisory, FMCSA said operators should disconnect the device from any charging equipment, disable all applications that could inadvertently activate the phone, protect the power switch to prevent the phone's unintentional activation, and keep the device in a carry-on bag or with the individual. The phone should not be stored in an inaccessible baggage compartment, the DOT sub-agency said.
Federal law bars the transport of electrical devices likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous amount of heat, unless the devices are packaged in such a way as to prevent such occurrences. As a result, the recalled phones may only be transported as cargo by truck under a special government-issued permit.