The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) will now require shippers and carriers to retain a copy of each hazardous material shipping paper, or an electronic image, for a period of 375 days after the date the hazardous material is accepted by a carrier. For a hazardous waste, the shipping paper copy must be retained for three years after the material is accepted by the initial carrier. The final rule took effect Aug 12, 2002, according to the July 12 Federal Register.

The new rule also requires that the shipping paper be accessible at or through the principal place of business, and must be immediately available, upon request, to an authorized official of a federal, state, or local government agency at reasonable times and locations. A motor carrier that uses a shipping paper without change for multiple shipments of a single hazardous material (ie, one having the same shipping name and identification number) may retain a single copy of the shipping paper, instead of a copy for each shipment made, if the carrier also retains a record of each shipment made. The record should include shipping name, identification number, quantity transported, and date of shipment.