49 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 49 - TRANSPORTATION
SUBTITLE I - DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
CHAPTER 5 - SPECIAL AUTHORITY
SUBCHAPTER I - POWERS
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

SUBCHAPTER I—POWERS

Amendments

1997—Pub. L. 105–102, §2(2), Nov. 20, 1997, 111 Stat. 2204, struck out “AND” before “POWERS”.

1995—Pub. L. 104–88, title III, §308(c)(1), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 947, struck out “DUTIES” before “AND”.

§501. Definitions and application

(a) In this chapter—

(1) the definitions in sections 10102 and 13102 of this title apply.

(2) “migrant worker” has the same meaning given that term in section 31501 of this title.

(3) “motor carrier of migrant workers” means a motor carrier of migrant workers subject to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Transportation under section 31502(c) of this title.


(b) Application.—This chapter only applies in carrying out sections 20302(a)(1)(B) and (C), (2), and (3), (c), and (d)(1) and 20303 and chapters 205 (except section 20504(b)), 211, 213 (in carrying out those sections and chapters), and 315 of this title.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2431; Pub. L. 98–216, §2(2), Feb. 14, 1984, 98 Stat. 5; Pub. L. 102–548, §2(c), Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 3648; Pub. L. 103–272, §§4(j)(11)(A), 5(m)(9), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1368, 1376; Pub. L. 104–88, title III, §308(c)(2), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 947.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Pub. L. 97–449
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
501(a) (no source).
501(b) 45:15. Apr. 14, 1910, ch. 160, §6, 36 Stat. 299.
  49:26(g). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §25(g); added Aug. 26, 1937, ch. 818, 50 Stat. 837; Sept. 18, 1940, ch. 722, §14(b), 54 Stat. 919.
  49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.

In the chapter, the source provisions are those in effect on March 31, 1967, the day before the effective date of the Department of Transportation Act (Pub. L. 89–670, 80 Stat. 931), because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the Secretary of Transportation the same powers enumerated in 49:1655(f)(2) that the Interstate Commerce Commission had before certain duties and powers under 49:1655(e) were transferred on April 1, 1967, from the Commission to the Secretary. All references to brokers in the source provisions are omitted as not being applicable to the duties and powers transferred to the Secretary of Transportation.

Subsection (a) is included to ensure that the identical definitions that are relevant are used without repeating them. The source provisions for the definitions are found in the revision notes for sections 3101, 3102(c), and 10102 of the revised title.

In subsection (b), the provisions of law to which the chapter applies are only certain laws listed in 49:1655(e). Those laws include the source provisions restated in chapter 31 of the revised title and 45:4, 5, 6 (in carrying out 45:4 and 5), 11, 12, 13 (proviso), 13 (less proviso in carrying out 45:11, 12, and 13 (proviso)), and 61–64b, and 49:26(a)–(f) (words before last semicolon) and (h). The administrative powers of the Secretary under the chapter are based on the administrative powers of 49:1655(f)(2). That provision lists administrative powers the Commission had under the Interstate Commerce Act (ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379) to carry out the Act, and certain other laws authorized the Commission to use its powers under the Act to carry out those other laws. The administrative powers listed in 49:1655(f)(2) and codified in the chapter therefore apply only to a law listed in 49:1655(e) that was a part of the Interstate Commerce Act or to which the powers of the Commission under the Act were applied. The text of 45:61–64b is included because section 4 of the Act of March 4, 1907 (ch. 2939, 34 Stat. 1417), stated, “It shall be the duty of the Interstate Commerce Commission to execute and enforce the provisions of this Act, and all powers granted to the Interstate Commerce Commission are hereby extended to it in the execution of this Act”. The transfer to the Secretary was executed on March 31, 1967. The Act of March 4, 1907, was restated by the Act of December 26, 1969 (Pub. L. 91–169, 83 Stat. 463); section 4 was not included in the restatement. However, repeal by implication is not favored and the transfer was completed on March 31, 1967. Therefore, the text of 45:61–64b is included within the scope of the chapter. The text of 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed.

Pub. L. 103–272

Section 4(j)(11) makes conforming amendments to 49:ch. 5 to reflect the restatement of 49:508 and related provisions in chapter 59 of the revised title.

Amendments

1995—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 104–88 substituted “sections 10102 and 13102” for “section 10102”.

1994—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 103–272, §5(m)(9)(A), substituted “section 31501” for “section 3101”.

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 103–272, §5(m)(9)(B), substituted “section 31502(c)” for “section 3102(c)”.

Subsec. (a)(4) to (9). Pub. L. 103–272, §4(j)(11)(A), struck out pars. (4) to (9) which defined “beneficial owner”, “carrier”, “container”, “initial carrier”, “intermodal transportation”, and “trailer”, respectively.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–272, §5(m)(9)(C), added subsec. (b) and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows: “This chapter only applies in carrying out—

“(1) chapter 31 of this title; and

“(2) other duties and powers transferred to the Secretary under section 6(e) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 App. U.S.C. 1655(e)) and vested in the Interstate Commerce Commission before October 15, 1966.”

1992—Subsec. (a)(4) to (9). Pub. L. 102–548 added pars. (4) to (9).

1984—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 98–216 substituted “49 App. U.S.C.” for “49 U.S.C.”.

Effective Date of 1995 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–88 effective Jan. 1, 1996, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as an Effective Date note under section 701 of this title.

Short Title of 1992 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 102–548 provided that: “This Act [enacting section 508 of this title, amending this section and section 521 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under section 508 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Intermodal Safe Container Transportation Act of 1992’.”

§502. General authority

(a) The Secretary of Transportation shall carry out this chapter.

(b) The Secretary may—

(1) inquire into and report on the management of the business of rail carriers and motor carriers;

(2) inquire into and report on the management of the business of a person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with those carriers to the extent that the business of the person is related to the management of the business of that carrier; and

(3) obtain from those carriers and persons information the Secretary determines to be necessary.


(c) In carrying out this chapter as it applies to motor carriers, motor carriers of migrant workers, and motor private carriers, the Secretary may—

(1) confer and hold joint hearings with State authorities;

(2) cooperate with and use the services, records, and facilities of State authorities; and

(3) make cooperative agreements with a State to enforce the safety laws and regulations of a State and the United States related to highway transportation.


(d) The Secretary may subpena witnesses and records related to a proceeding or investigation under this chapter from a place in the United States to the designated place of the proceeding or investigation. If a witness disobeys a subpena, the Secretary, or a party to a proceeding or investigation before the Secretary, may petition the district court for the judicial district in which the proceeding or investigation is conducted to enforce the subpena. The court may punish a refusal to obey an order of the court to comply with a subpena as a contempt of court.

(e)(1) In a proceeding or investigation, the Secretary may take testimony of a witness by deposition and may order the witness to produce records. A party to a proceeding or investigation pending before the Secretary may take the testimony of a witness by deposition and may require the witness to produce records at any time after a proceeding or investigation is at issue on petition and answer. If a witness fails to be deposed or to produce records under this subsection, the Secretary may subpena the witness to take a deposition, produce the records, or both.

(2) A deposition may be taken before a judge of a court of the United States, a United States magistrate judge, a clerk of a district court, or a chancellor, justice, or judge of a supreme or superior court, mayor or chief magistrate of a city, judge of a county court, or court of common pleas of any State, or a notary public who is not counsel or attorney of a party or interested in the proceeding or investigation.

(3) Before taking a deposition, reasonable notice must be given in writing by the party or the attorney of that party proposing to take a deposition to the opposing party or the attorney of record of that party, whoever is nearest. The notice shall state the name of the witness and the time and place of taking the deposition.

(4) The testimony of a person deposed under this subsection shall be taken under oath. The person taking the deposition shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a transcript of the testimony taken. The transcript shall be subscribed by the deponent.

(5) The testimony of a witness who is in a foreign country may be taken by deposition before an officer or person designated by the Secretary or agreed on by the parties by written stipulation filed with the Secretary. The deposition shall be filed with the Secretary promptly.

(f) Each witness summoned before the Secretary or whose deposition is taken under this section and the individual taking the deposition are entitled to the same fees and mileage paid for those services in the courts of the United States.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2431; Pub. L. 103–272, §4(j)(12), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1368.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Pub. L. 97–449
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
502 49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.
502(c)–(f) 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 305”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 205”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 305”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 205”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.

The section is included because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the same administrative powers exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission under certain sections of title 49 to the Secretary of Transportation to carry out duties transferred to the Secretary by 49:1655(e). See the revision notes for section 501 of the revised title for an explanation of the transfer under 49:1655(f)(2). The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50249 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a), (b) 12(1)(a) (1st sentence, 2d sentence, and last sentence words before 1st semicolon). 10321
  304(a) (matter before (1)), (6), (7) (less words after semicolon). 10321
(c) 305(f). 11502
(d) 12(1)(a) (last sentence words after last semicolon), (2), (3). 10321
  305(d) (related to Commission subpena power). 10321
(e)(1)–(3) 12(4). 10321
  305(d) (related to depositions taken by Commission). 10321
(e)(4) and (5) 12(5), (6). 10321
  305(d) (related to depositions taken by Commission). 10321
(f) 12(7). 10321
  18(1) (last sentence). 10321
  305(d) (related to depositions taken by Commission). 10321

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

The text of 49:305(a)–(c), (e), and (g)–(j) is not included for motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because those provisions, while included in the enumeration in 49:304(a)(3) and (3a), are not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii).

In subsection (b), the text of 49:12(1)(a) (2d sentence words after semicolon) is omitted as unnecessary because the Secretary of Transportation already has authority under chapter 3 of the revised title to make recommendations to Congress.

In subsections (c)–(f), the text of 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed.

In subsection (c), the words “economic and” are omitted as not being transferred to the Secretary. The text of 49:305(f) (last sentence) is omitted as not applicable to this chapter.

In subsection (d), the reference to joint boards in 49:305(d) is omitted as not applicable to this chapter because 49:305(a) (establishing joint boards) is not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii).

Pub. L. 103–272

Section 4(j)(12) amends 49:502(e)(2) and 10321(d)(3) to reflect the change in the name of United States magistrates to United States magistrate judges made by section 321 of the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–650, 104 Stat. 5117).

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (e)(2). Pub. L. 103–272 inserted “judge” after “United States magistrate”.

§503. Service of notice and process on certain motor carriers of migrant workers and on motor private carriers

(a) Each motor carrier of migrant workers (except a motor contract carrier) and each motor private carrier shall designate an agent by name and post office address on whom service of notices in a proceeding before, and actions of, the Secretary of Transportation may be made. The designation shall be in writing and filed with the Secretary. The carrier also shall file the designation with the authority of each State in which it operates having jurisdiction to regulate transportation by motor vehicle in intrastate commerce on the highways of that State. The designation may be changed at any time in the same manner as originally made.

(b) A notice of the Secretary to a carrier under this section is served personally or by mail on that carrier or its designated agent. Service by mail on the designated agent is made at the address filed for the agent. When notice is given by mail, the date of mailing is considered to be the time when the notice is served. If the carrier does not have a designated agent, service may be made by posting a copy of the notice in the office of the secretary or clerk of the authority having jurisdiction to regulate transportation by motor vehicle in intrastate commerce on the highways of the State in which the carrier maintains headquarters and with the Secretary.

(c) Each of those carriers, including such a carrier operating in the United States while providing transportation between places in a foreign country or between a place in one foreign country and a place in another foreign country, shall designate an agent in each State in which it operates by name and post office address on whom process issued by a court with subject matter jurisdiction may be served in an action brought against that carrier. The designation shall be in writing and filed with the Secretary and with the authority of each State in which the carrier operates having jurisdiction to regulate transportation by motor vehicle in intrastate commerce on the highways of that State. If a designation under this subsection is not made, service may be made on any agent of the carrier in that State. The designation may be changed at any time in the same manner as originally made.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2432.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
503 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 321”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 221”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 321”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 221”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.
  49:1655(e)(6)(D) (related to “Sec. 321(a), (c)”). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(e)(6)(D) (related to “Sec. 221(a), (c)”), 80 Stat. 940.

The section is included because 49:1655(e)(6)(D) transferred to the Secretary of Transportation all functions, powers, and duties of the Interstate Commerce Commission under 49:321(a) and (c) to the extent those subsections relate to motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers. The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50349 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a), (b) 321(a). 10329
(c) 321(c). 10330

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

In the section, the words “motor carriers” are omitted because 49:1655(e)(6)(D) applies 49:321(a) and (c) only to motor carriers of migrant workers, other than motor contract carriers, and to motor private carriers, and 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii) contains no reference to 49:321. The text of 49:321(b) and (d) is not included because those provisions, while included in the enumeration in 49:304(a)(3) and (3a), are not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(e)(6)(D).

In subsection (b), the text of 49:321(a) (less 1st–5th sentences) is omitted as not applicable to this chapter.

§504. Reports and records

(a) In this section—

(1) “association” means an organization maintained by or in the interest of a group of rail carriers, motor carriers, motor carriers of migrant workers, or motor private carriers that performs a service, or engages in activities, related to transportation of that carrier.

(2) “carrier” means a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, motor private carrier, and rail carrier.

(3) “lessor” means a person owning a railroad that is leased to and operated by a rail carrier, and a person leasing a right to operate as a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier to another.

(4) “lessor” and “carrier” include a receiver or trustee of that lessor or carrier, respectively.


(b)(1) The Secretary of Transportation may prescribe the form of records required to be prepared or compiled under this section by—

(A) carriers and lessors; and

(B) a person furnishing cars or protective service against heat or cold to or for a rail carrier.


(2) The Secretary may require—

(A) carriers, lessors, associations, or classes of them as the Secretary may prescribe, to file annual, periodic, and special reports with the Secretary containing answers to questions asked by the Secretary; and

(B) a person furnishing cars or protective service against heat or cold to a rail carrier to file reports with the Secretary containing answers to questions about those cars or service.


(c) The Secretary, or an employee (and, in the case of a motor carrier, a contractor) designated by the Secretary, may on demand and display of proper credentials—

(1) inspect the equipment of a carrier or lessor; and

(2) inspect and copy any record of—

(A) a carrier, lessor, or association;

(B) a person controlling, controlled by, or under common control with a carrier, if the Secretary considers inspection relevant to that person's relation to, or transaction with, that carrier; and

(C) a person furnishing cars or protective service against heat or cold to or for a rail carrier if the Secretary prescribed the form of that record.


(d) The Secretary may prescribe the time period during which records must be preserved by a carrier, lessor, and person furnishing cars or protective service.

(e)(1) An annual report shall contain an account, in as much detail as the Secretary may require, of the affairs of a carrier, lessor, or association for the 12-month period ending on the 31st day of December of each year. The annual report shall be filed with the Secretary by the end of the 3d month after the end of the year for which the report is made unless the Secretary extends the filing date or changes the period covered by the report.

(2) The annual report and, if the Secretary requires, any other report made under this section shall be made under oath.

(f) No part of a report of an accident occurring in operations of a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier and required by the Secretary, and no part of a report of an investigation of the accident made by the Secretary, may be admitted into evidence or used in a civil action for damages related to a matter mentioned in the report or investigation.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2433; Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, §4006(b), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
504 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 320(a) (1st, 2d sentences), (b)–(g)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 220(a) (1st, 2d sentences), (b)–(g)”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 320(a) (1st, 2d sentences), (b)–(g)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 220(a) (1st, 2d sentences), (b)–(g)”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.
  49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.
504(f) 49:320(f). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §220(f); added Sept. 18, 1940, ch. 722, §24, 54 Stat. 926.

The section is included because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the same administrative powers exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission under certain sections of title 49 to the Secretary of Transportation to carry out duties transferred to the Secretary by 49:1655(e). See the revision notes for section 501 of the revised title for an explanation of the transfer under 49:1655(f)(2). The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50449 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a)(1), (3), and (4) 20(8). 3501, 11141
  320(e). 11141
(a)(2) (no source).
(b)(1) 20(5) (1st sentence), (6) (2d sentence, 1st cl.), (7)(b) (proviso). 11144
  320(d) (1st sentence). 11144
(b)(2) 20(1) (1st sentence less manner and form of reports), (6) (2d sentence, 2d cl.). 11145
  320(a) (1st sentence). 11145
(c) 20(5) (less 1st sentence), (6) (less 2d sentence). 11144
  320(d) (3d and 4th sentences). 11144
(d) 20(7)(b) (proviso). 11144
  320(d) (less 1st, 3d, and 4th sentences). 11144
(e) 20(1) (1st sentence related to manner and form of reports). 11145
  320(a) (2d sentence), (b). 11145

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

The provisions of 49:320(c) are not included for motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because those provisions, while included in the enumeration in 49:304(a)(3) and (3a), are not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii).

In the section, the text of 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed. The text of 49:320(b) (related to 13-period accounting year) and (g) is not included because it was enacted after the effective date of the transfer authority under 49:1655.

In subsection (a), references to “water line” and “pipe line” are omitted as not applicable to this chapter. Clause (2) is added to provide a simple phrase to refer to all types of carriers to which the section applies.

In subsection (f), the words “the course of the” are omitted as surplus. The words “civil action” are substituted for “suit or action” because of rule 2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (28 App. U.S.C.).

Amendments

1998—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 105–178 inserted “(and, in the case of a motor carrier, a contractor)” after “employee” in introductory provisions.

§505. Arrangements and public records

(a) The Secretary of Transportation may require a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier to file a copy of each arrangement related to a matter under this chapter that it has with another person. The Secretary may disclose the existence or contents of an arrangement between a motor contract carrier and a shipper filed under this section only if the disclosure is consistent with the public interest and is made as part of the record in a formal proceeding.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, all arrangements and statistics, tables, and figures contained in reports filed with the Secretary by a motor carrier under this chapter are public records. Such a public record, or a copy or extract of it, certified by the Secretary under seal is competent evidence in a proceeding of the Secretary, and, except as provided in section 504(f) of this title, in a judicial proceeding.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2434.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
505 49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.
505(a) 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 320(a) (less 1st, 2d sentences)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 220(a) (less 1st, 2d sentences)”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 320(a) (less 1st, 2d sentences)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 220(a) (less 1st, 2d sentences)”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.

The section is included because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the same administrative powers exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission under certain sections of title 49 to the Secretary of Transportation to carry out duties transferred to the Secretary by 49:1655(e). See the revision notes for section 501 of the revised title for an explanation of the transfer under 49:1655(f)(2). The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50549 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a) 320(a) (less 1st, 2d sentences). 10764
(b) 16(13). 10303
  304(d) (related to administrative matters). 10303

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

In subsection (a), the text of 49:320(a) (proviso) is not included for motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because that provision, while included in the enumeration in 49:304(a)(3) and (3a), is not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii). The text of 40:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed. The words “also” and “with it” are omitted as surplus. The words “contract, agreement, or” are omitted as covered by “arrangement”. The words “carrier or” are omitted as covered by “person”. The words “related to a matter under this chapter” are substituted for “in relation to any traffic affected by the provisions of this chapter” for clarity because of section 501 of the revised title.

Subsection (b) does not apply to reports made to the Secretary by a rail carrier because 49:16(13) is not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii). The subsection does not apply to motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because 49:304(d) only applies to motor carriers and 49:304(a)(3) and (3a) do not apply 49:304(d) to motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers. References to schedules, classifications, and tariffs are omitted as not applicable to this chapter. The words “Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section” are added for clarity. The words “except as provided in section 504(f) of this title” are added for clarity and consistency because of the restatement of the chapter.

§506. Authority to investigate

(a) The Secretary of Transportation may begin an investigation under this chapter on the initiative of the Secretary or on complaint. If the Secretary finds that a rail carrier, motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier is violating this chapter, the Secretary shall take appropriate action to compel compliance with this chapter. The Secretary may take action only after giving the carrier notice of the investigation and an opportunity for a proceeding.

(b) A person, including a governmental authority, may file with the Secretary a complaint about a violation of this chapter by a carrier referred to in subsection (a) of this section. The complaint must state the facts that are the subject of the violation. The Secretary may dismiss a complaint the Secretary determines does not state reasonable grounds for investigation and action. However, the Secretary may not dismiss a complaint made against a rail carrier because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.

(c) The Secretary shall make a written report of each proceeding involving a rail carrier or motor carrier conducted and furnish a copy to each party to that proceeding. The report shall include the findings, conclusions, and the order of the Secretary. The Secretary may have the reports published for public use. A published report of the Secretary is competent evidence of its contents.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2434.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
506 49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.
506(a), (b) 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 304(c)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 204(c)”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546; Sept. 18, 1940, ch. 722, §20(b)(4), 54 Stat. 922.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 304(c)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 204(c)”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.

The section is included because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the same administrative powers exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission under certain sections of title 49 to the Secretary of Transportation to carry out duties transferred to the Secretary by 49:1655(e). See the revision notes for section 501 of the revised title for an explanation of the transfer under 49:1655(f)(2). The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50649 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a) 13(1) (1st sentence less words before semicolon, last sentence), (2) (1st, 2d sentences). 11701
  304(c) (1st sentence words after 5th comma, 2d sentence). 11701
(b) 13(1) (1st sentence words before semicolon). 11701
  13(2) (less 1st, 2d sentences). 11701
  304(c) (less 1st sentence words after 5th comma, 2d sentence). 11701
(c) 14. 10310
  304(d) (related to reports). 10310

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

In subsections (a) and (b), the text of 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed.

Subsection (a) is patterned after 49:304(c). The words “violating this chapter” are substituted for “failed to comply with any such provision or requirement” for clarity.

In subsection (b), the text of 49:13(2) (last sentence) is omitted because 49:13(3) is not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii). The words “referred to in subsection (a) of this section” are added for clarity.

Subsection (c) does not apply to motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because 49:304(d) applies only to motor carriers and 49:304(a)(3) and (3a) do not apply 49:304(d) to motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers. The word “proceeding” is substituted for “investigation” for clarity and to conform to other sections of the revised title. The word “findings” is added for clarity. The word “decision” is omitted as covered by “conclusions”. The words “or requirement” are omitted as covered by “order”. The words “in the premises” are omitted as surplus. The words “and in case damages are awarded, such report shall include the findings of fact on which the award is made” are omitted as not applicable to this chapter. The words “entered of record”, “and decisions in such form and manner as may be best adapted for public information and use”, and “in all courts of the United States and of the several States without any further proof or authentication thereof” are omitted as surplus. The text of 49:14(3) (last sentence) is omitted as unnecessary.

§507. Enforcement

(a) The Secretary of Transportation may bring a civil action to enforce—

(1) an order of the Secretary under this chapter when violated by a rail carrier; and

(2) this chapter or a regulation or order of the Secretary under this chapter when violated by a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder.


(b) The Attorney General may, and on request of the Secretary shall, bring court proceedings to enforce this chapter or a regulation or order of the Secretary under this chapter and to prosecute a person violating this chapter or a regulation or order of the Secretary.

(c) The Attorney General, at the request of the Secretary, may bring an action in an appropriate district court of the United States for equitable relief to redress a violation by any person of a provision of subchapter III of chapter 311 (except sections 31138 and 31139) or section 31502 of this title, or an order or regulation issued under any of those provisions. Such district court shall have jurisdiction to determine any such action and may grant such relief as is necessary or appropriate, including mandatory or prohibitive injunctive relief, interim equitable relief, and punitive damages.

(d) A person injured because a rail carrier or freight forwarder does not obey an order of the Secretary under this chapter may bring a civil action to enforce that order under this subsection.

(e) In a civil action brought under subsection (a)(2) of this section against a motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier—

(1) trial is in the judicial district in which the carrier operates;

(2) process may be served without regard to the territorial limits of the district or of the State in which the action is brought; and

(3) a person participating with the carrier in a violation may be joined in the civil action without regard to the residence of the person.

(Pub. L. 97–449, §1(b), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2435; Pub. L. 98–554, title II, §213(a), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2841; Pub. L. 103–272, §5(m)(10), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1376.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
507 49:1655(f)(2). Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, §6(f)(2), 80 Stat. 940.
507(a), (d) 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 322(b)”). Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 222(b)”); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.
  49:304(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 322(b)”). Feb 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, §204(a)(3a) (last sentence) (related to “Sec. 222(b)”); added Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 905, §2, 70 Stat. 958.

The section is included because 49:1655(f)(2) gave the same administrative powers exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission under certain sections of title 49 to the Secretary of Transportation to carry out duties transferred to the Secretary by 49:1655(e). See the revision notes for section 501 of the revised title for an explanation of the transfer under 49:1655(f)(2). The powers of the Commission have been codified in subtitle IV of the revised title. The comparable provisions of title 49 that are represented by the section may be found as follows:

 
Section 50749 U.S. CodeRevised Section
(a) 16(12) (related to Commission action). 11702
  322(b)(1) (less 1st sentence last 18 words, 2d sentence, last sentence). 11702
  1017(b)(1) (related to Commission action). 11702
(b) 12(1)(a) (last sentence less words before 1st semicolon and after last semicolon). 11703
  16(12) (related to action by the Attorney General). 11703
  20(9). 11703
(c) 16(12) (related to action by private person). 11705
  1017(b)(1) (related to action by the Attorney General). 11703
(d) 322(b)(1) (1st sentence last 18 words, 2d sentence, last sentence). 11702
  1017(b)(1) (related to action by private person). 11705

See the revision notes for the revised sections for an explanation of changes made in the text. Changes not accounted for in those revision notes are as follows:

In the section, the text of 49:322(b)(2) and (3) is not included for motor carriers of migrant workers and motor private carriers because those provisions, while included in the enumeration in 49:304(a)(3) and (3a), are not included in the specific enumeration of 49:1655(f)(2)(B)(ii).

In subsections (a) and (d), the text of 49:304(a)(3) (last sentence 1st–7th words) and (3a) (last sentence 1st–5th words) is omitted as executed.

In subsection (a), the words “or of any term or condition of any certificate or permit” are omitted as not applicable to this chapter.

In subsection (a)(1), reference to a civil action to enforce an order for the payment of money is omitted as not applicable to this chapter.

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 103–272 substituted “subchapter III of chapter 311 (except sections 31138 and 31139) or section 31502 of this title” for “section 3102 of this title or the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984” and “any of those provisions” for “such section or Act”.

1984—Subsecs. (c) to (e). Pub. L. 98–554 added subsec. (c) and redesignated former subsecs. (c) and (d) as (d) and (e), respectively.

DOT Implementation Plan

Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, §4026, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 416, provided that:

“(a) Assessment.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this section [June 9, 1998], the Secretary [of Transportation] shall assess the scope of the problem of shippers, freight forwarders, brokers, consignees, or other persons (other than rail carriers, motor carriers, motor carriers of migrant workers, or motor private carriers) encouraging violations of chapter 5 of title 49, United States Code, or a regulation or order issued by the Secretary under such chapter.

“(b) Submission of Implementation Plan.—After completion of the assessment under subsection (a), the Secretary may submit to the Congress a plan for implementing authority (if subsequently provided by law) to investigate and bring civil actions to enforce chapter 5 of title 49, United States Code, or regulations or orders issued by the Secretary under such chapter with respect to persons described in subsection (a).

“(c) Contents of Implementation Plan.—In developing the implementation plan under subsection (b), the Secretary shall consider, as appropriate—

“(1) in what circumstances the Secretary would exercise the new authority;

“(2) how the Secretary would determine that shippers, freight forwarders, brokers, consignees, or other persons committed violations described in subsection (a), including what types of evidence would be conclusive;

“(3) what procedures would be necessary during investigations to ensure the confidentiality of shipper contract terms prior to the Secretary's findings of violations;

“(4) what impact the exercise of the new authority would have on the Secretary's resources, including whether additional investigative or legal resources would be necessary and whether the staff would need specialized education or training to exercise properly such authority;

“(5) to what extent the Secretary would conduct educational activities for persons who would be subject to the new authority; and

“(6) any other information that would assist the Congress in determining whether to provide the Secretary the new authority.”

§508. Safety performance history of new drivers; limitation on liability

(a) Limitation on Liability.—No action or proceeding for defamation, invasion of privacy, or interference with a contract that is based on the furnishing or use of safety performance records in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary may be brought against—

(1) a motor carrier requesting the safety performance records of an individual under consideration for employment as a commercial motor vehicle driver as required by and in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary;

(2) a person who has complied with such a request; or

(3) the agents or insurers of a person described in paragraph (1) or (2).


(b) Restrictions on Applicability.—

(1) Motor carrier requesting.—Subsection (a) does not apply to a motor carrier requesting safety performance records unless—

(A) the motor carrier and any agents of the motor carrier have complied with the regulations issued by the Secretary in using the records, including the requirement that the individual who is the subject of the records be afforded a reasonable opportunity to review and comment on the records;

(B) the motor carrier and any agents and insurers of the motor carrier have taken all precautions reasonably necessary to protect the records from disclosure to any person, except for such an insurer, not directly involved in deciding whether to hire that individual; and

(C) the motor carrier has used those records only to assess the safety performance of the individual who is the subject of those records in deciding whether to hire that individual.


(2) Person complying with requests.—Subsection (a) does not apply to a person complying with a request for safety performance records unless—

(A) the complying person and any agents of the complying person have taken all precautions reasonably necessary to ensure the accuracy of the records and have complied with the regulations issued by the Secretary in furnishing the records, including the requirement that the individual who is the subject of the records be afforded a reasonable opportunity to review and comment on the records; and

(B) the complying person and any agents and insurers of the complying person have taken all precautions reasonably necessary to protect the records from disclosure to any person, except for such an insurer, not directly involved in forwarding the records.


(3) Persons knowingly furnishing false information.—Subsection (a) does not apply to persons who knowingly furnish false information.


(c) Preemption of State and Local Law.—No State or political subdivision thereof may enact, prescribe, issue, continue in effect, or enforce any law (including any regulation, standard, or other provision having the force and effect of law) that prohibits, penalizes, or imposes liability for furnishing or using safety performance records in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary to carry out this section. Notwithstanding any provision of law, written authorization shall not be required to obtain information on the motor vehicle driving record of an individual under consideration for employment with a motor carrier.

(Added Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, §4014(a)(1), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 409.)

Codification

Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, §4014(a)(1), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 409, which directed the addition of section 508 at end of this chapter, was executed by adding this section at the end of subchapter I of this chapter to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 508, added Pub. L. 102–548, §2(a), Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 3646, related to certification of weights and description, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–272, §4(j)(11)(B), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1368. See chapter 59 of this title.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, §4014(b), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 411, provided that: “The amendments made by subsection (a) [enacting this section] shall take effect on January 31, 1999.”