TITLE 49 - US CODE - SUBCHAPTER III - SAFETY REGULATION

49 USC 31131 - Purposes and findings

(a) Purposes.— 
The purposes of this subchapter are
(1) to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles;
(2) to minimize dangers to the health of operators of commercial motor vehicles and other employees whose employment directly affects motor carrier safety; and
(3) to ensure increased compliance with traffic laws and with the commercial motor vehicle safety and health regulations and standards prescribed and orders issued under this chapter.

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(b) Findings.— 
Congress finds
(1) it is in the public interest to enhance commercial motor vehicle safety and thereby reduce highway fatalities, injuries, and property damage;
(2) improved, more uniform commercial motor vehicle safety measures and strengthened enforcement would reduce the number of fatalities and injuries and the level of property damage related to commercial motor vehicle operations;
(3) enhanced protection of the health of commercial motor vehicle operators is in the public interest; and
(4) interested State governments can provide valuable assistance to the United States Government in ensuring that commercial motor vehicle operations are conducted safely and healthfully.

49 USC 31132 - Definitions

In this subchapter
(1) commercial motor vehicle means a self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the highways in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property, if the vehicle
(A) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of at least 10,001 pounds, whichever is greater;
(B) is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
(C) is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
(D) is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under section 5103 of this title and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under section 5103.
(2) employee means an operator of a commercial motor vehicle (including an independent contractor when operating a commercial motor vehicle), a mechanic, a freight handler, or an individual not an employer, who
(A) directly affects commercial motor vehicle safety in the course of employment; and
(B) is not an employee of the United States Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State acting in the course of the employment by the Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State.
(3) employer
(A) means a person engaged in a business affecting interstate commerce that owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle in connection with that business, or assigns an employee to operate it; but
(B) does not include the Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State.
(4) interstate commerce means trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States between a place in a State and
(A) a place outside that State (including a place outside the United States); or
(B) another place in the same State through another State or through a place outside the United States.
(5) intrastate commerce means trade, traffic, or transportation in a State that is not interstate commerce.
(6) medical examiner means an individual licensed, certified, or registered in accordance with regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as a medical examiner.
(7) regulation includes a standard or order.
(8) State means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and, in sections 31136 and 31140–311421 of this title, a political subdivision of a State.
(9) State law includes a law enacted by a political subdivision of a State.
(10) State regulation includes a regulation prescribed by a political subdivision of a State.
(11) United States means the States of the United States and the District of Columbia.
[1] See References in Text note below.

49 USC 31133 - General powers of the Secretary of Transportation

(a) General.— 
In carrying out this subchapter and regulations prescribed under section 31102 of this title, the Secretary of Transportation may
(1) conduct and make contracts for inspections and investigations;
(2) compile statistics;
(3) make reports;
(4) issue subpenas;
(5) require production of records and property;
(6) take depositions;
(7) hold hearings;
(8) prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements;
(9) conduct or make contracts for studies, development, testing, evaluation, and training; and
(10) perform other acts the Secretary considers appropriate.
(b) Consultation.— 
In conducting inspections and investigations under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall consult, as appropriate, with employers and employees and their authorized representatives and offer them a right of accompaniment.
(c) Delegation.— 
The Secretary may delegate to a State receiving a grant under section 31102 of this title those duties and powers related to enforcement (including conducting investigations) of this subchapter and regulations prescribed under this subchapter that the Secretary considers appropriate.

49 USC 31134 - Repealed. Pub. L. 105178, title IV, 4008(c), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 404]

Section, Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1001; Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(9), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3389, related to Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Regulatory Review Panel.

49 USC 31135 - Duties of employers and employees

(a) In General.— 
Each employer and employee shall comply with regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation under this subchapter that apply to the employers or employees conduct.
(b) Pattern of Noncompliance.— 
If the Secretary finds that an officer of a motor carrier engages or has engaged in a pattern or practice of avoiding compliance, or masking or otherwise concealing noncompliance, with regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety prescribed under this subchapter, while serving as an officer of any motor carrier, the Secretary may suspend, amend, or revoke any part of the motor carriers registration under section 13905.
(c) Regulations.— 
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall by regulation establish standards to implement subsection (b).
(d) Definitions.— 
In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Motor carrier.— 
The term motor carrier has the meaning such term has under section 13102.
(2) Officer.— 
The term officer means an owner, director, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, safety director, vehicle maintenance supervisor, and driver supervisor of a motor carrier, regardless of the title attached to those functions, and any person, however designated, exercising controlling influence over the operations of a motor carrier.

49 USC 31136 - United States Government regulations

(a) Minimum Safety Standards.— 
Subject to section 30103 (a) of this title, the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety. The regulations shall prescribe minimum safety standards for commercial motor vehicles. At a minimum, the regulations shall ensure that
(1) commercial motor vehicles are maintained, equipped, loaded, and operated safely;
(2) the responsibilities imposed on operators of commercial motor vehicles do not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely;
(3) the physical condition of operators of commercial motor vehicles is adequate to enable them to operate the vehicles safely and the periodic physical examinations required of such operators are performed by medical examiners who have received training in physical and medical examination standards and, after the national registry maintained by the Department of Transportation under section 31149 (d) is established, are listed on such registry; and
(4) the operation of commercial motor vehicles does not have a deleterious effect on the physical condition of the operators.
(b) Eliminating and Amending Existing Regulations.— 
The Secretary may not eliminate or amend an existing motor carrier safety regulation related only to the maintenance, equipment, loading, or operation (including routing) of vehicles carrying material found to be hazardous under section 5103 of this title until an equivalent or more stringent regulation has been prescribed under section 5103.
(c) Procedures and Considerations.— 

(1) A regulation under this section shall be prescribed under section 553 of title 5 (without regard to sections 556 and 557 of title 5).
(2) Before prescribing regulations under this section, the Secretary shall consider, to the extent practicable and consistent with the purposes of this chapter
(A) costs and benefits; and
(B) State laws and regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety, to minimize their unnecessary preemption.
(d) Effect of Existing Regulations.— 
If the Secretary does not prescribe regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety under this section, regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety prescribed by the Secretary before October 30, 1984, and in effect on October 30, 1984, shall be deemed in this subchapter to be regulations prescribed by the Secretary under this section.
(e) Exemptions.— 
The Secretary may grant in accordance with section 31315 waivers and exemptions from, or conduct pilot programs with respect to, any regulations prescribed under this section.
(f) Limitations on Municipality and Commercial Zone Exemptions and Waivers.— 

(1) The Secretary may not
(A) exempt a person or commercial motor vehicle from a regulation related to commercial motor vehicle safety only because the operations of the person or vehicle are entirely in a municipality or commercial zone of a municipality; or
(B) waive application to a person or commercial motor vehicle of a regulation related to commercial motor vehicle safety only because the operations of the person or vehicle are entirely in a municipality or commercial zone of a municipality.
(2) If a person was authorized to operate a commercial motor vehicle in a municipality or commercial zone of a municipality in the United States for the entire period from November 19, 1987, through November 18, 1988, and if the person is otherwise qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, the person may operate a commercial motor vehicle entirely in a municipality or commercial zone of a municipality notwithstanding
(A) paragraph (1) of this subsection;
(B) a minimum age requirement of the United States Government for operation of the vehicle; and
(C) a medical or physical condition that
(i) would prevent an operator from operating a commercial motor vehicle under the commercial motor vehicle safety regulations in title 49, Code of Federal Regulations;
(ii) existed on July 1, 1988;
(iii) has not substantially worsened; and
(iv) does not involve alcohol or drug abuse.
(3) This subsection does not affect a State commercial motor vehicle safety law applicable to intrastate commerce.

49 USC 31137 - Monitoring device and brake maintenance regulations

(a) Use of Monitoring Devices.— 
If the Secretary of Transportation prescribes a regulation about the use of monitoring devices on commercial motor vehicles to increase compliance by operators of the vehicles with hours of service regulations of the Secretary, the regulation shall ensure that the devices are not used to harass vehicle operators. However, the devices may be used to monitor productivity of the operators.
(b) Brakes and Brake Systems Maintenance Regulations.— 
Not later than December 31, 1990, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations on improved standards or methods to ensure that brakes and brake systems of commercial motor vehicles are maintained properly and inspected by appropriate employees. At a minimum, the regulations shall establish minimum training requirements and qualifications for employees responsible for maintaining and inspecting the brakes and brake systems.

49 USC 31138 - Minimum financial responsibility for transporting passengers

(a) General Requirement.— 
The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations to require minimum levels of financial responsibility sufficient to satisfy liability amounts established by the Secretary covering public liability and property damage for the transportation of passengers by commercial motor vehicle in the United States between a place in a State and
(1) a place in another State;
(2) another place in the same State through a place outside of that State; or
(3) a place outside the United States.
(b) Minimum Amounts.— 
The level of financial responsibility established under subsection (a) of this section for a motor vehicle with a seating capacity of
(1) at least 16 passengers shall be at least $5,000,000; and
(2) not more than 15 passengers shall be at least $1,500,000.
(c) Evidence of Financial Responsibility.— 

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, financial responsibility may be established by evidence of one or a combination of the following if acceptable to the Secretary of Transportation:
(A) insurance, including high self-retention.
(B) a guarantee.
(C) a surety bond issued by a bonding company authorized to do business in the United States.
(2) A person domiciled in a country contiguous to the United States and providing transportation to which a minimum level of financial responsibility under this section applies shall have evidence of financial responsibility in the motor vehicle when the person is providing the transportation. If evidence of financial responsibility is not in the vehicle, the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of the Treasury shall deny entry of the vehicle into the United States.
(3) A motor carrier may obtain the required amount of financial responsibility from more than one source provided the cumulative amount is equal to the minimum requirements of this section.
(4) Other persons.— 
The Secretary may require a person, other than a motor carrier (as defined in section 13102), transporting passengers by commercial motor vehicle to file with the Secretary the evidence of financial responsibility specified in subsection (c)(1) in an amount not less than the greater of the amount required by subsection (b)(1) or the amount required for such person to transport passengers under the laws of the State or States in which the person is operating; except that the amount of the financial responsibility must be sufficient to pay not more than the amount of the financial responsibility for each final judgment against the person for bodily injury to, or death of, an individual resulting from the negligent operation, maintenance, or use of the commercial motor vehicle, or for loss or damage to property, or both.
(d) Civil Penalty.— 

(1) If, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary of Transportation finds that a person (except an employee acting without knowledge) has knowingly violated this section or a regulation prescribed under this section, the person is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation. A separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues.
(2) The Secretary of Transportation shall impose the penalty by written notice. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Secretary shall consider
(A) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation;
(B) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior violations, the ability to pay, and any effect on the ability to continue doing business; and
(C) other matters that justice requires.
(3) The Secretary of Transportation may compromise the penalty before referring the matter to the Attorney General for collection.
(4) The Attorney General shall bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States to collect a penalty referred to the Attorney General for collection under this subsection.
(5) The amount of the penalty may be deducted from amounts the Government owes the person. An amount collected under this section shall be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account).
(e) Nonapplication.— 
This section does not apply to a motor vehicle
(1) transporting only school children and teachers to or from school;
(2) providing taxicab service (as defined in section 13102);
(3) carrying not more than 15 individuals in a single, daily round trip to and from work; or
(4) providing transportation service within a transit service area under an agreement with a Federal, State, or local government funded, in whole or in part, with a grant under section 5307, 5310, or 5311, including transportation designed and carried out to meet the special needs of elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities; except that, in any case in which the transit service area is located in more than 1 State, the minimum level of financial responsibility for such motor vehicle will be at least the highest level required for any of such States.

49 USC 31139 - Minimum financial responsibility for transporting property

(a) Definitions.— 
In this section
(1) farm vehicle means a vehicle
(A) designed or adapted and used only for agriculture;
(B) operated by a motor private carrier (as defined in section 10102 of this title); and
(C) operated only incidentally on highways.
(2) interstate commerce includes transportation between a place in a State and a place outside the United States, to the extent the transportation is in the United States.
(3) State means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
(b) General Requirement and Minimum Amount.— 

(1) The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations to require minimum levels of financial responsibility sufficient to satisfy liability amounts established by the Secretary covering public liability, property damage, and environmental restoration for the transportation of property by commercial motor vehicle in the United States between a place in a State and
(A) a place in another State;
(B) another place in the same State through a place outside of that State; or
(C) a place outside the United States.
(2) The level of financial responsibility established under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be at least $750,000.
(c) Filing of Evidence of Financial Responsibility.— 
The Secretary may require a motor private carrier (as defined in section 13102) to file with the Secretary the evidence of financial responsibility specified in subsection (b) in an amount not less than the greater of the minimum amount required by this section or the amount required for such motor private carrier to transport property under the laws of the State or States in which the motor private carrier is operating; except that the amount of the financial responsibility must be sufficient to pay not more than the amount of the financial responsibility for each final judgment against the motor private carrier for bodily injury to, or death of, an individual resulting from negligent operation, maintenance, or use of the commercial motor vehicle, or for loss or damage to property, or both.
(d) Requirements for Hazardous Matter and Oil.— 

(1) The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations to require minimum levels of financial responsibility sufficient to satisfy liability amounts established by the Secretary covering public liability, property damage, and environmental restoration for the transportation by motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce of
(A) hazardous material (as defined by the Secretary);
(B) oil or hazardous substances (as defined by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency); or
(C) hazardous wastes (as defined by the Administrator).
(2) 
(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the level of financial responsibility established under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be at least $5,000,000 for the transportation
(i) of hazardous substances (as defined by the Administrator) in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles, with capacities of more than 3,500 water gallons;
(ii) in bulk of class A explosives, poison gas, liquefied gas, or compressed gas; or
(iii) of large quantities of radioactive material.
(B) The Secretary of Transportation by regulation may reduce the minimum level in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph (to an amount not less than $1,000,000) for transportation described in subparagraph (A) in any of the territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands if
(i) the chief executive officer of the territory requests the reduction;
(ii) the reduction will prevent a serious disruption in transportation service and will not adversely affect public safety; and
(iii) insurance of $5,000,000 is not readily available.
(3) The level of financial responsibility established under paragraph (1) of this subsection for the transportation of a material, oil, substance, or waste not subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be at least $1,000,000. However, if the Secretary of Transportation finds it will not adversely affect public safety, the Secretary by regulation may reduce the amount for
(A) a class of vehicles transporting such a material, oil, substance, or waste in intrastate commerce (except in bulk); and
(B) a farm vehicle transporting such a material or substance in interstate commerce (except in bulk).
(e) Foreign Motor Carriers and Private Carriers.— 
Regulations prescribed under this section may allow foreign motor carriers and foreign motor private carriers (as those terms are defined in section 10530 of this title) providing transportation of property under a certificate of registration issued under section 10530 to meet the minimum levels of financial responsibility under this section only when those carriers are providing transportation for property in the United States.
(f) Evidence of Financial Responsibility.— 

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, financial responsibility may be established by evidence of one or a combination of the following if acceptable to the Secretary of Transportation:
(A) insurance.
(B) a guarantee.
(C) a surety bond issued by a bonding company authorized to do business in the United States.
(D) qualification as a self-insurer.
(2) A person domiciled in a country contiguous to the United States and providing transportation to which a minimum level of financial responsibility under this section applies shall have evidence of financial responsibility in the motor vehicle when the person is providing the transportation. If evidence of financial responsibility is not in the vehicle, the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of the Treasury shall deny entry of the vehicle into the United States.
(3) A motor carrier may obtain the required amount of financial responsibility from more than one source provided the cumulative amount is equal to the minimum requirements of this section.
(g) Civil Penalty.— 

(1) If, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary of Transportation finds that a person (except an employee acting without knowledge) has knowingly violated this section or a regulation prescribed under this section, the person is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation. A separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues.
(2) The Secretary of Transportation shall impose the penalty by written notice. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Secretary shall consider
(A) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation;
(B) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior violations, the ability to pay, and any effect on the ability to continue doing business; and
(C) other matters that justice requires.
(3) The Secretary of Transportation may compromise the penalty before referring the matter to the Attorney General for collection.
(4) The Attorney General shall bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States to collect a penalty referred to the Attorney General for collection under this subsection.
(5) The amount of the penalty may be deducted from amounts the Government owes the person. An amount collected under this section shall be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account).
(h) Nonapplication.— 
This section does not apply to a motor vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 pounds if the vehicle is not used to transport in interstate or foreign commerce
(1) class A or B explosives;
(2) poison gas; or
(3) a large quantity of radioactive material.

49 USC 31140 - Repealed. Pub. L. 105178, title IV, 4008(d), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 404]

Section, Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1008, related to submission of State laws and regulations for review by Secretary of Transportation and Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Regulatory Review Panel.

49 USC 31141 - Review and preemption of State laws and regulations

(a) Preemption After Decision.— 
A State may not enforce a State law or regulation on commercial motor vehicle safety that the Secretary of Transportation decides under this section may not be enforced.
(b) Submission of Regulation.— 
A State receiving funds made available under section 31104 that enacts a State law or issues a regulation on commercial motor vehicle safety shall submit a copy of the law or regulation to the Secretary immediately after the enactment or issuance.
(c) Review and Decisions by Secretary.— 

(1) Review.— 
The Secretary shall review State laws and regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety. The Secretary shall decide whether the State law or regulation
(A) has the same effect as a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136;
(B) is less stringent than such regulation; or
(C) is additional to or more stringent than such regulation.
(2) Regulations with same effect.— 
If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation has the same effect as a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title, the State law or regulation may be enforced.
(3) Less stringent regulations.— 
If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation is less stringent than a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title, the State law or regulation may not be enforced.
(4) Additional or more stringent regulations.— 
If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation is additional to or more stringent than a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title, the State law or regulation may be enforced unless the Secretary also decides that
(A) the State law or regulation has no safety benefit;
(B) the State law or regulation is incompatible with the regulation prescribed by the Secretary; or
(C) enforcement of the State law or regulation would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.
(5) Consideration of effect on interstate commerce.— 
In deciding under paragraph (4) whether a State law or regulation will cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce, the Secretary may consider the effect on interstate commerce of implementation of that law or regulation with the implementation of all similar laws and regulations of other States.
(d) Waivers.— 

(1) A person (including a State) may petition the Secretary for a waiver of a decision of the Secretary that a State law or regulation may not be enforced under this section. The Secretary shall grant the waiver, as expeditiously as possible, if the person demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the waiver is consistent with the public interest and the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.
(2) Before deciding whether to grant or deny a petition for a waiver under this subsection, the Secretary shall give the petitioner an opportunity for a hearing on the record.
(e) Written Notice of Decisions.— 
Not later than 10 days after making a decision under subsection (c) of this section that a State law or regulation may not be enforced, the Secretary shall give written notice to the State of that decision.
(f) Judicial Review and Venue.— 

(1) Not later than 60 days after the Secretary makes a decision under subsection (c) of this section, or grants or denies a petition for a waiver under subsection (d) of this section, a person (including a State) adversely affected by the decision, grant, or denial may file a petition for judicial review. The petition may be filed in the court of appeals of the United States for the District of Columbia Circuit or in the court of appeals of the United States for the circuit in which the person resides or has its principal place of business.
(2) The court has jurisdiction to review the decision, grant, or denial and to grant appropriate relief, including interim relief, as provided in chapter 7 of title 5.
(3) A judgment of a court under this subsection may be reviewed only by the Supreme Court under section 1254 of title 28.
(4) The remedies provided for in this subsection are in addition to other remedies provided by law.
(g) Initiating Review Proceedings.— 
To review a State law or regulation on commercial motor vehicle safety under this section, the Secretary may initiate a regulatory proceeding on the Secretarys own initiative or on petition of an interested person (including a State).

49 USC 31142 - Inspection of vehicles

(a) Inspection of Safety Equipment.— 
On the instruction of an authorized enforcement official of a State or of the United States Government, a commercial motor vehicle is required to pass an inspection of all safety equipment required under the regulations issued under section 31136.
(b) Inspection of Vehicles and Record Retention.— 
The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on Government standards for inspection of commercial motor vehicles and retention by employers of records of an inspection. The standards shall provide for annual or more frequent inspections of a commercial motor vehicle unless the Secretary finds that another inspection system is as effective as an annual or more frequent inspection system. Regulations prescribed under this subsection are deemed to be regulations prescribed under section 31136 of this title.
(c) Preemption.— 

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, this subchapter and section 31102 of this title do not
(A) prevent a State or voluntary group of States from imposing more stringent standards for use in their own periodic roadside inspection programs of commercial motor vehicles;
(B) prevent a State from enforcing a program for inspection of commercial motor vehicles that the Secretary decides is as effective as the Government standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section;
(C) prevent a State from participating in the activities of a voluntary group of States enforcing a program for inspection of commercial motor vehicles; or
(D) require a State that is enforcing a program described in clause (B) or (C) of this paragraph to enforce a Government standard prescribed under subsection (b) of this section or to adopt a provision on inspection of commercial motor vehicles in addition to that program to comply with the Government standards.
(2) The Government standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section shall preempt a program of a State described in paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection as the program applies to the inspection of commercial motor vehicles in that State. The State may not enforce the program if the Secretary
(A) decides, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that the State is not enforcing the program in a way that achieves the objectives of this section; and
(B) after making a decision under clause (A) of this paragraph, provides the State with a 6-month period to improve the enforcement of the program to achieve the objectives of this section.
(d) Inspection To Be Accepted as Adequate in All States.— 
A periodic inspection of a commercial motor vehicle under the Government standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section or a program described in subsection (c)(1)(B) or (C) of this section that is being enforced shall be recognized as adequate in every State for the period of the inspection. This subsection does not prohibit a State from making random inspections of commercial motor vehicles.
(e) Effect of Government Standards.— 
The Government standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section may not be enforced as the standards apply to the inspection of commercial motor vehicles in a State enforcing a program described in subsection (c)(1)(B) or (C) of this section if the Secretary decides that it is in the public interest and consistent with public safety for the Government standards not to be enforced as they apply to that inspection.
(f) Application of State Regulations to Government-Leased Vehicles and Operators.— 
A State receiving financial assistance under section 31102 of this title in a fiscal year may enforce in that fiscal year a regulation on commercial motor vehicle safety adopted by the State as the regulation applies to commercial motor vehicles and operators leased to the Government.

49 USC 31143 - Investigating complaints and protecting complainants

(a) Investigating Complaints.— 
The Secretary of Transportation shall conduct a timely investigation of a nonfrivolous written complaint alleging that a substantial violation of a regulation prescribed under this subchapter is occurring or has occurred within the prior 60 days. The Secretary shall give the complainant timely notice of the findings of the investigation. The Secretary is not required to conduct separate investigations of duplicative complaints.
(b) Protecting Complainants.— 
Notwithstanding section 552 of title 5, the Secretary may disclose the identity of a complainant only if disclosure is necessary to prosecute a violation. If disclosure becomes necessary, the Secretary shall take every practical means within the Secretarys authority to ensure that the complainant is not subject to harassment, intimidation, disciplinary action, discrimination, or financial loss because of the disclosure.

49 USC 31144 - Safety fitness of owners and operators

(a) In General.— 
The Secretary shall
(1) determine whether an owner or operator is fit to operate safely commercial motor vehicles, utilizing among other things the accident record of an owner or operator operating in interstate commerce and the accident record and safety inspection record of such owner or operator
(A) in operations that affect interstate commerce within the United States; and
(B) in operations in Canada and Mexico if the owner or operator also conducts operations within the United States;
(2) periodically update such safety fitness determinations;
(3) make such final safety fitness determinations readily available to the public; and
(4) prescribe by regulation penalties for violations of this section consistent with section 521.
(b) Procedure.— 
The Secretary shall maintain by regulation a procedure for determining the safety fitness of an owner or operator. The procedure shall include, at a minimum, the following elements:
(1) Specific initial and continuing requirements with which an owner or operator must comply to demonstrate safety fitness.
(2) A methodology the Secretary will use to determine whether an owner or operator is fit.
(3) Specific time frames within which the Secretary will determine whether an owner or operator is fit.
(c) Prohibited Transportation.— 

(1) In general.— 
Except as provided in section 521 (b)(5)(A) and this subsection, an owner or operator who the Secretary determines is not fit may not operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce beginning on the 61st day after the date of such fitness determination and until the Secretary determines such owner or operator is fit.
(2) Owners or operators transporting passengers.— 
With regard to owners or operators of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport passengers, an owner or operator who the Secretary determines is not fit may not operate in interstate commerce beginning on the 46th day after the date of such fitness determination and until the Secretary determines such owner or operator is fit.
(3) Owners or operators transporting hazardous material.— 
With regard to owners or operators of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport hazardous material for which placarding of a motor vehicle is required under regulations prescribed under chapter 51, an owner or operator who the Secretary determines is not fit may not operate in interstate commerce beginning on the 46th day after the date of such fitness determination and until the Secretary determines such owner or operator is fit. A violation of this paragraph by an owner or operator transporting hazardous material shall be considered a violation of chapter 51, and shall be subject to the penalties in sections 5123 and 5124.
(4) Secretary’s discretion.— 
Except for owners or operators described in paragraphs (2) and (3), the Secretary may allow an owner or operator who is not fit to continue operating for an additional 60 days after the 61st day after the date of the Secretarys fitness determination, if the Secretary determines that such owner or operator is making a good faith effort to become fit.
(5) Transportation affecting interstate commerce.— 
Owners or operators of commercial motor vehicles prohibited from operating in interstate commerce pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (3) of this section may not operate any commercial motor vehicle that affects interstate commerce until the Secretary determines that such owner or operator is fit.
(d) Determination of Unfitness by State.— 
If a State that receives motor carrier safety assistance program funds under section 31102 determines, by applying the standards prescribed by the Secretary under subsection (b), that an owner or operator of a commercial motor vehicle that has its principal place of business in that State and operates in intrastate commerce is unfit under such standards and prohibits the owner or operator from operating such vehicle in the State, the Secretary shall prohibit the owner or operator from operating such vehicle in interstate commerce until the State determines that the owner or operator is fit.
(e) Review of Fitness Determinations.— 

(1) In general.— 
Not later than 45 days after an unfit owner or operator requests a review, the Secretary shall review such owners or operators compliance with those requirements with which the owner or operator failed to comply and resulted in the Secretary determining that the owner or operator was not fit.
(2) Owners or operators transporting passengers.— 
Not later than 30 days after an unfit owner or operator of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport passengers requests a review, the Secretary shall review such owners or operators compliance with those requirements with which the owner or operator failed to comply and resulted in the Secretary determining that the owner or operator was not fit.
(3) Owners or operators transporting hazardous material.— 
Not later than 30 days after an unfit owner or operator of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport hazardous material for which placarding of a motor vehicle is required under regulations prescribed under chapter 51, the Secretary shall review such owners or operators compliance with those requirements with which the owner or operator failed to comply and resulted in the Secretary determining that the owner or operator was not fit.
(f) Prohibited Government Use.— 
A department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government may not use to provide any transportation service an owner or operator who the Secretary has determined is not fit until the Secretary determines such owner or operator is fit.
(g) Safety Reviews of New Operators.— 

(1) In general.— 
The Secretary shall require, by regulation, each owner and each operator granted new operating authority, after the date on which section 31148 (b) is first implemented, to undergo a safety review within the first 18 months after the owner or operator, as the case may be, begins operations under such authority.
(2) Elements.— 
In the regulations issued pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary shall establish the elements of the safety review, including basic safety management controls. In establishing such elements, the Secretary shall consider their effects on small businesses and shall consider establishing alternate locations where such reviews may be conducted for the convenience of small businesses.
(3) Phase-in of requirement.— 
The Secretary shall phase in the requirements of paragraph (1) in a manner that takes into account the availability of certified motor carrier safety auditors.
(4) New entrant authority.— 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, any new operating authority granted after the date on which section 31148 (b) is first implemented shall be designated as new entrant authority until the safety review required by paragraph (1) is completed.
(5) New entrant audits.— 

(A) Grants.— 
The Secretary may make grants to States and local governments for new entrant motor carrier audits under this subsection without requiring a matching contribution from such States and local governments.
(B) Set aside.— 
The Secretary shall set aside from amounts made available by section 31104 (a) up to $29,000,000 per fiscal year for audits of new entrant motor carriers conducted pursuant to this paragraph.
(C) Determination.— 
If the Secretary determines that a State or local government is not able to use government employees to conduct new entrant motor carrier audits, the Secretary may use the funds set aside under this paragraph to conduct audits for such States or local governments.

49 USC 31145 - Coordination of Governmental activities and paperwork

The Secretary of Transportation shall coordinate the activities of departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States Government to ensure adequate protection of the safety and health of operators of commercial motor vehicles. The Secretary shall attempt to minimize paperwork burdens to ensure maximum coordination and to avoid overlap and the imposition of unreasonable burdens on persons subject to regulations under this subchapter.

49 USC 31146 - Relationship to other laws

Except as provided in section 31136 (b) of this title, this subchapter and the regulations prescribed under this subchapter do not affect chapter 51 of this title or a regulation prescribed under chapter 51.

49 USC 31147 - Limitations on authority

(a) Traffic Regulations.— 
This subchapter does not authorize the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe traffic safety regulations or preempt State traffic regulations. However, the Secretary may prescribe traffic regulations to the extent their subject matter was regulated under parts 390399 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, on October 30, 1984.
(b) Regulating the Manufacturing of Vehicles.— 
This subchapter does not authorize the Secretary to regulate the manufacture of commercial motor vehicles for any purpose, including fuel economy, safety, or emission control.

49 USC 31148 - Certified motor carrier safety auditors

(a) In General.— 
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary of Transportation shall complete a rulemaking to improve training and provide for the certification of motor carrier safety auditors, including private contractors, to conduct safety inspection audits and reviews described in subsection (b).
(b) Certified Inspection Audit Requirement.— 
Not later than 1 year after completion of the rulemaking required by subsection (a), any safety inspection audit or review required by, or based on the authority of, this chapter or chapter 5, 313, or 315 of this title and performed after December 31, 2002, shall be conducted by
(1) a motor carrier safety auditor certified under subsection (a); or
(2) a Federal or State employee who, on the date of the enactment of this section, was qualified to perform such an audit or review.
(c) Extension.— 
If the Secretary determines that subsection (b) cannot be implemented within the 1-year period established by that subsection and notifies the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives of the determination and the reasons therefor, the Secretary may extend the deadline for compliance with subsection (b) by not more than 12 months.
(d) Application With Other Authority.— 
The Secretary may not delegate the Secretarys authority to private contractors to issue ratings or operating authority, and nothing in this section authorizes any private contractor to issue ratings or operating authority.
(e) Oversight Responsibility.— 
The Secretary shall have authority over any motor carrier safety auditor certified under subsection (a), including the authority to decertify a motor carrier safety auditor.

49 USC 31149 - Medical program

(a) Medical Review Board.— 

(1) Establishment and function.— 
The Secretary of Transportation shall establish a Medical Review Board to provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with medical advice and recommendations on medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of operators of commercial motor vehicles, medical examiner education, and medical research.
(2) Composition.— 
The Medical Review Board shall be appointed by the Secretary and shall consist of 5 members selected from medical institutions and private practice. The membership shall reflect expertise in a variety of medical specialties relevant to the driver fitness requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
(b) Chief Medical Examiner.— 
The Secretary shall appoint a chief medical examiner who shall be an employee of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and who shall hold a position under section 3104 of title 5, United States Code, relating to employment of specially qualified scientific and professional personnel, and shall be paid under section 5376 of title 5, United States Code, relating to pay for certain senior-level positions.
(c) Medical Standards and Requirements.— 

(1) In general.— 
The Secretary, with the advice of the Medical Review Board and the chief medical examiner, shall
(A) establish, review, and revise
(i) medical standards for operators of commercial motor vehicles that will ensure that the physical condition of operators of commercial motor vehicles is adequate to enable them to operate the vehicles safely; and
(ii) requirements for periodic physical examinations of such operators performed by medical examiners who have, at a minimum, self-certified that they have completed training in physical and medical examination standards and are listed on a national registry maintained by the Department of Transportation;
(B) require each such operator to have a current valid medical certificate;
(C) conduct periodic reviews of a select number of medical examiners on the national registry to ensure that proper examinations of such operators are being conducted;
(D) develop, as appropriate, specific courses and materials for medical examiners listed in the national registry established under this section, and require those medical examiners to, at a minimum, self-certify that they have completed specific training, including refresher courses, to be listed in the registry;
(E) require medical examiners to transmit the name of the applicant and numerical identifier, as determined by the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for any completed medical examination report required under section 391.43 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, electronically to the chief medical examiner on monthly basis; and
(F) periodically review a representative sample of the medical examination reports associated with the name and numerical identifiers of applicants transmitted under subparagraph (E) for errors, omissions, or other indications of improper certification.
(2) Monitoring performance.— 
The Secretary shall investigate patterns of errors or improper certification by a medical examiner. If the Secretary finds that a medical examiner has issued a medical certificate to an operator of a commercial motor vehicle who fails to meet the applicable standards at the time of the examination or that a medical examiner has falsely claimed to have completed training in physical and medical examination standards as required by this section, the Secretary may remove such medical examiner from the registry and may void the medical certificate of the applicant or holder.
(d) National Registry of Medical Examiners.— 
The Secretary, acting through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(1) shall establish and maintain a current national registry of medical examiners who are qualified to perform examinations and issue medical certificates;
(2) shall remove from the registry the name of any medical examiner that fails to meet or maintain the qualifications established by the Secretary for being listed in the registry or otherwise does not meet the requirements of this section or regulation issued under this section;
(3) shall accept as valid only medical certificates issued by persons on the national registry of medical examiners; and
(4) may make participation of medical examiners in the national registry voluntary if such a change will enhance the safety of operators of commercial motor vehicles.
(e) Regulations.— 
The Secretary shall issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section.

49 USC 31150 - Safety performance history screening

(a) In General.— 
The Secretary of Transportation shall provide persons conducting preemployment screening services for the motor carrier industry electronic access to the following reports contained in the Motor Carrier Management Information System:
(1) Commercial motor vehicle accident reports.
(2) Inspection reports that contain no driver-related safety violations.
(3) Serious driver-related safety violation inspection reports.
(b) Conditions on Providing Access.— 
Before providing a person access to the Motor Carrier Management Information System under subsection (a), the Secretary shall
(1) ensure that any information that is released to such person will be in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) and all other applicable Federal law;
(2) ensure that such person will not conduct a screening without the operator-applicants written consent;
(3) ensure that any information that is released to such person will not be released to any person or entity, other than the motor carrier requesting the screening services or the operator-applicant, unless expressly authorized or required by law; and
(4) provide a procedure for the operator-applicant to correct inaccurate information in the System in a timely manner.
(c) Design.— 
The process for providing access to the Motor Carrier Management Information System under subsection (a) shall be designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing an individual operators crash and serious safety violation inspection history as a preemployment condition. Use of the process shall not be mandatory and may only be used during the preemployment assessment of an operator-applicant.
(d) Serious Driver-Related Safety Violation Defined.— 
In this section, the term serious driver-related violation means a violation by an operator of a commercial motor vehicle that the Secretary determines will result in the operator being prohibited from continuing to operate a commercial motor vehicle until the violation is corrected.

49 USC 31151 - Roadability

(a) Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Intermodal Equipment.— 

(1) In general.— 
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of Transportation, after providing notice and opportunity for comment, shall issue regulations establishing a program to ensure that intermodal equipment used to transport intermodal containers is safe and systematically maintained.
(2) Intermodal equipment safety regulations.— 
The Secretary shall issue the regulations under this section as a subpart of the Federal motor carrier safety regulations.
(3) Contents.— 
The regulations issued under this section shall include, at a minimum
(A) a requirement to identify intermodal equipment providers responsible for the inspection and maintenance of intermodal equipment that is interchanged or intended for interchange to motor carriers in intermodal transportation;
(B) a requirement to match intermodal equipment readily to an intermodal equipment provider through a unique identifying number;
(C) a requirement that an intermodal equipment provider identified under subparagraph (A) systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, intermodal equipment described in subparagraph (A) that is intended for interchange with a motor carrier;
(D) a requirement to ensure that each intermodal equipment provider identified under subparagraph (A) maintains a system of maintenance and repair records for such equipment;
(E) requirements that
(i) a specific list of intermodal equipment components or items be identified for the visual or audible inspection of which a driver is responsible before operating the equipment over the road; and
(ii) the inspection under clause (i) be conducted as part of the Federal requirement in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that a driver be satisfied that the intermodal equipment components are in good working order before the equipment is operated over the road;
(F) a requirement that a facility at which an intermodal equipment provider regularly makes intermodal equipment available for interchange have an operational process and space readily available for a motor carrier to have an equipment defect identified pursuant to subparagraph (E) repaired or the equipment replaced prior to departure;
(G) a program for the evaluation and audit of compliance by intermodal equipment providers with applicable Federal motor carrier safety regulations;
(H) a civil penalty structure consistent with section 521 (b) of title 49, United States Code, for intermodal equipment providers that fail to attain satisfactory compliance with applicable Federal motor carrier safety regulations; and
(I) a prohibition on intermodal equipment providers from placing intermodal equipment in service on the public highways to the extent such providers or their equipment are found to pose an imminent hazard;
(J) a process by which motor carriers and agents of motor carriers shall be able to request the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to undertake an investigation of an intermodal equipment provider identified under subparagraph (A) that is alleged to be not in compliance with the regulations under this section;
(K) a process by which equipment providers and agents of equipment providers shall be able to request the Administration to undertake an investigation of a motor carrier that is alleged to be not in compliance with the regulations issued under this section;
(L) a process by which a driver or motor carrier transporting intermodal equipment is required to report to the intermodal equipment provider or the providers designated agent any actual damage or defect in the intermodal equipment of which the driver or motor carrier is aware at the time the intermodal equipment is returned to the intermodal equipment provider or the providers designated agent;
(M) a requirement that any actual damage or defect identified in the process established under subparagraph (L) be repaired before the equipment is made available for interchange to a motor carrier and that repairs of equipment made pursuant to the requirements of this subparagraph and reports made pursuant to the subparagraph (L) process be documented in the maintenance records for such equipment; and
(N) a procedure under which motor carriers, drivers and intermodal equipment providers may seek correction of their motor carrier safety records through the deletion from those records of violations of safety regulations attributable to deficiencies in the intermodal chassis or trailer for which they should not have been held responsible.
(4) Deadline for rulemaking proceeding.— 
Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding for issuance of the regulations under this section.
(b) Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Intermodal Equipment.— 
The Secretary or an employee of the Department of Transportation designated by the Secretary may inspect intermodal equipment, and copy related maintenance and repair records for such equipment, on demand and display of proper credentials.
(c) Out-of-Service Until Repair.— 
Any intermodal equipment that is determined under this section to fail to comply with applicable Federal safety regulations may be placed out of service by the Secretary or a Federal, State, or government official designated by the Secretary and may not be used on a public highway until the repairs necessary to bring such equipment into compliance have been completed. Repairs of equipment taken out of service shall be documented in the maintenance records for such equipment.
(d) Preemption Generally.— 
Except as provided in subsection (e), a law, regulation, order, or other requirement of a State, a political subdivision of a State, or a tribal organization relating to commercial motor vehicle safety is preempted if such law, regulation, order, or other requirement exceeds or is inconsistent with a requirement imposed under or pursuant to this section.
(e) Pre-Existing State Requirements.— 

(1) In general.— 
Except as provided in paragraph (2), a State requirement for the periodic inspection of intermodal chassis by intermodal equipment providers that was in effect on January 1, 2005, shall remain in effect only until the date on which requirements prescribed under this section take effect.
(2) Nonpreemption determinations.— 

(A) In general.— 
Notwithstanding subsection (d), a State requirement described in paragraph (1) is not preempted by a Federal requirement prescribed under this section if the Secretary determines that the State requirement is as effective as the Federal requirement and does not unduly burden interstate commerce.
(B) Application required.— 
Subparagraph (A) applies to a State requirement only if the State applies to the Secretary for a determination under this paragraph with respect to the requirement before the date on which the regulations issued under this section take effect. The Secretary shall make a determination with respect to any such application within 6 months after the date on which the Secretary receives the application.
(C) Amended state requirements.— 
Any amendment to a State requirement not preempted under this subsection because of a determination by the Secretary under subparagraph (A) may not take effect unless
(i) it is submitted to the Secretary before the effective date of the amendment; and
(ii) the Secretary determines that the amendment would not cause the State requirement to be less effective than the Federal requirement and would not unduly burden interstate commerce.
(f) Definitions.— 
In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Intermodal equipment.— 
The term intermodal equipment means trailing equipment that is used in the intermodal transportation of containers over public highways in interstate commerce, including trailers and chassis.
(2) Intermodal equipment interchange agreement.— 
The term intermodal equipment interchange agreement means the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement or any other written document executed by an intermodal equipment provider or its agent and a motor carrier or its agent, the primary purpose of which is to establish the responsibilities and liabilities of both parties with respect to the interchange of the intermodal equipment.
(3) Intermodal equipment provider.— 
The term intermodal equipment provider means any person that interchanges intermodal equipment with a motor carrier pursuant to a written interchange agreement or has a contractual responsibility for the maintenance of the intermodal equipment.
(4) Interchange.— 
The term interchange
(A) means the act of providing intermodal equipment to a motor carrier pursuant to an intermodal equipment interchange agreement for the purpose of transporting the equipment for loading or unloading by any person or repositioning the equipment for the benefit of the equipment provider; but
(B) does not include the leasing of equipment to a motor carrier for primary use in the motor carriers freight hauling operations.