The DOT, FAA and the House committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, however, say the new rules are needed to raise awareness, force businesses and shippers to use stronger packaging, and cut down on the number of accidents.
They are taking public comments on the proposal until mid-March (which can be viewed and commented upon here ).
The DOT did not return a request for comment, while a spokesman for the House committee declined to comment.
Many of the incidents involved burning or smoking packages that were discovered during the unloading of cargo or passenger planes. Those incidents were categorized by Computerworld as having started onboard the plane, to counteract the obvious observer bias.
Even accounting for that, only about half of the incidents took place in the air, the rest occurring on the ground. Some were caused by worker negligence, such as an April 1999 incident where a dockworker "mishandled one of the two pallets causing lithium batteries to dislodge from their packaging," causing a fire, according to the FAA.