U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 30, 2023
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the rules in this part govern proceedings before the Assistant Administrator, who also acts as the Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350–399), including the commercial regulations (49 CFR parts 360–379), and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 171–180).
(b) The purpose of the proceedings is to enable the Assistant Administrator:
(1) To determine whether a motor carrier, intermodal equipment provider (as defined in § 390.5 of this chapter), property broker, freight forwarder, or its agents, employees, or any other person subject to the jurisdiction of FMCSA, has failed to comply with the provisions or requirements of applicable statutes and the corresponding regulations; and
(2) To issue an appropriate order to compel compliance with the statute or regulation, assess a civil penalty, or both, if such violations are found.
(c)(1) The rules in § 386.12(a) govern the filing of a complaint of a substantial violation and the handling of the complaint by the appropriate Division Administrator.
(2) The rules in § 386.12(b) govern the filing by a driver and the handling by the appropriate Division Administrator of a complaint of harassment in violation of § 390.36 of this subchapter.
(3) The rules in § 386.12(c) govern the filing by a driver and the handling by the appropriate Division Administrator of a complaint of coercion in violation of § 390.6 of this subchapter.
Abate or abatement means to discontinue regulatory violations by refraining from or taking actions identified in a notice to correct noncompliance.
Administration means the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Administrative adjudication means a process or proceeding to resolve contested claims in conformity with the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 554–558.
Administrative law judge means an administrative law judge appointed pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 3105.
Agency means the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Agency Counsel means the attorney who prosecutes a civil penalty matter on behalf of the Field Administrator.
Agency decisionmaker means the FMCSA official authorized to issue a final decision and order of the Agency in an administrative proceeding under this part. The Agency decisionmaker is the Assistant Administrator or any person to whom this decisionmaking authority has been delegated.
Assistant Administrator means the Assistant Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or an authorized delegee. The Assistant Administrator is the Agency decisionmaker who issues final decisions under this part.
Broker means a person who, for compensation, arranges or offers to arrange the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier. A motor carrier, or person who is an employee or bona fide agent of a carrier, is not a broker within the meaning of this section when it arranges or offers to arrange the transportation of shipments which it is authorized to transport and which it has accepted and legally bound itself to transport.
Civil forfeiture proceedings means proceedings to collect civil penalties for violations under the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (49 U.S.C. Chapter 313); the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975, as amended (49 U.S.C. Chapter 51); the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (49 U.S.C. Chapter 311, Subchapter III); section 18 of the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982 (49 U.S.C. 31138); section 30 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 (49 U.S.C. 31139); and the ICC Termination Act of 1995 (49 U.S.C. Chapters 131–149).
Civil penalty proceedings means proceedings to collect civil penalties for violations of regulations and statutes within the jurisdiction of FMCSA.
Claimant means the representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration authorized to make claims.
Commercial regulations means statutes and regulations that apply to persons providing or arranging transportation for compensation subject to the Secretary's jurisdiction under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 135. The statutes are codified in Part B of Subtitle IV, Title 49, U.S.C. (49 U.S.C. 13101 through 14913). The regulations include those issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or its predecessors under authority provided in 49 U.S.C. 13301 or a predecessor statute.
Default means an omission or failure to perform a legal duty within the time specified for action, failure to reply to a Notice of Claim within the time required, or failure to submit a reply in accordance with the requirements of this part. A default may result in issuance of a Final Agency Order or additional penalties against the defaulting party.
Department means the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Docket Operations means the U.S. Department of Transportation's docket management system, which is the central repository for original copies of all documents filed before the agency decisionmaker.
Driver qualification proceeding means a proceeding commenced under 49 CFR 391.47 or by issuance of a letter of disqualification.
Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs) means statutes and regulations applying to persons providing or arranging transportation for compensation subject to the Secretary's jurisdiction under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 135. The statutes are codified in Part B of Subtitle IV, Title 49 U.S.C. (49 U.S.C. 13101 through 14913). The regulations include those issued by FMCSA or its predecessors under authority provided in 49 U.S.C. 13301 or a predecessor statute.
Field Administrator means the head of an FMCSA Service Center who has been delegated authority to initiate compliance and enforcement actions on behalf of FMCSA or an authorized delegee.
Final Agency Order means the final action by FMCSA issued pursuant to this part by the appropriate Field Administrator (for default judgments under § 386.14) or the Assistant Administrator, or settlement agreements which become the Final Agency Order pursuant to 386.22, or decisions of the Administrative Law Judge, which become the Final Agency Order pursuant to 386.61 or binding arbitration awards. A person who fails to perform the actions directed in the Final Agency Order commits a violation of that order and is subject to an additional penalty as prescribed in subpart G of this part.
FMCSRs means the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Formal hearing means an evidentiary hearing on the record in which parties have the opportunity to conduct discovery, present relevant evidence, and cross-examine witnesses.
Freight forwarder means a person holding itself out to the general public (other than as an express, pipeline, rail, sleeping car, motor, or water carrier) to provide transportation of property for compensation in interstate commerce, and in the ordinary course of its business:
(1) Performs or provides for assembling, consolidating, break-bulk, and distribution of shipments;
(2) Assumes responsibility for transportation from place of receipt to destination; and
(3) Uses for any part of the transportation a carrier subject to FMCSA jurisdiction.
Hearing officer means a neutral Agency employee designated by the Assistant Administrator to preside over an informal hearing.
HMRs means Hazardous Materials Regulations.
Informal hearing means a hearing in which the parties have the opportunity to present relevant evidence to a neutral Hearing Officer, who will prepare findings of fact and recommendations for the Agency decisionmaker. The informal hearing will not be on the transcribed record and discovery will not be allowed. Parties will have the opportunity to discuss their case and present testimony and evidence before the Hearing Officer without the formality of a formal hearing.
Mail means U.S. first class mail, U.S. registered or certified mail, or use of a commercial delivery service.
Motor carrier means a motor carrier, motor private carrier, or motor carrier of migrant workers as defined in 49 U.S.C. 13102 and 31501.
Notice of Claim (NOC) means the initial document issued by FMCSA to assert a civil penalty for alleged violations of the FMCSRs, HMRs, or FMCCRs.
Notice of Violation (NOV) means a document alleging a violation of the FMCSRs, HMRs, or FMCCRs, for which corrective action, other than payment of a civil penalty, is recommended.
Person means any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any other organized group of individuals.
Reply means a written response to a Notice of Claim, admitting or denying the allegations contained within the Notice of Claim. In addition, the reply provides the mechanism for determining whether the respondent seeks to pay, settle, contest, or seek binding arbitration of the claim. See § 386.14. If contesting the allegations, the reply must also set forth all known affirmative defenses and factors in mitigation of the claim.
Petitioner means a party petitioning to overturn a determination in a driver qualification proceeding.
Respondent means a party against whom relief is sought or claim is made.
Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.
Submission of written evidence without hearing means the submission of written evidence and legal argument to the Agency decisionmaker, or his/her representative, in lieu of a formal or informal hearing.
(a) Civil penalty proceedings will be prosecuted by Agency Counsel who represent the Field Administrator. In Notices of Violation, the Field Administrator will be represented by Agency Counsel.
(b) An Agency employee, including those listed in paragraph (c) of this section, engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecutorial functions in a civil penalty proceeding or in a proceeding under § 386.11, § 386.72, or § 386.73 may not, in that case or a factually related case, discuss or communicate the facts or issues involved with the Agency decisionmaker, Administrative Law Judge, Hearing Officer, or others listed in paragraph (d) of this section, except as counsel or a witness in the public proceedings. The prohibition in this paragraph (b) also includes the staff of those covered by this section.
(c) The Deputy Chief Counsel, Assistant Chief Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation, and attorneys in the Enforcement and Litigation Division serve as enforcement counsel in the prosecution of all cases brought under this part.
(d) The Chief Counsel, the Special Counsel to the Chief Counsel, and attorneys serving as Adjudications Counsel advise the Agency decisionmaker regarding all cases brought under this Part.
(e) Nothing in this part shall preclude agency decisionmakers or anyone advising an agency decisionmaker from taking part in a determination to launch an investigation or issue a complaint, or similar preliminary decision.
(a) A party may appear in person, by counsel, or by other representative, as the party elects, in a proceeding under this subpart.
(b) A person representing a party must file a notice of appearance in the proceeding, in the manner provided in § 386.7 of this subpart. The notice of appearance must list the name, address, telephone number, and facsimile number of the person designated to represent the party. A copy of the notice of appearance must be served on each party, in the manner provided in § 386.6 of this subpart. The notice of appearance must be filed and served before the representative can participate in the proceeding. Any changes in an attorney or representative's contact information must be served and filed according to §§ 386.6 and 386.7 in a timely manner.
(c) A separate notice of appearance must be filed by a representative in each case. Blanket appearances on behalf of a party will not be accepted.
(a) Form. Each document must be typewritten or legibly handwritten.
(b) Contents. Unless otherwise specified in this part, each document must contain a short, plain statement of the facts on which the person's case rests and a brief statement of the action requested in the document. Except by prior order, all contents will be made publicly available.
(c) Length. Except for the Notice of Claim and reply, motions, briefs, and other filings may not exceed 20 pages except as permitted by Order following a motion to exceed the page limitation based upon good cause shown. Exhibits or attachments in support of the relevant filing are not included in the page limit.
(d) Paper and margins. Filed documents must be printed on 8
(e) Spacing, and font size for typewritten documents. Typewritten documents will use the following line format: single-spacing for the caption and footnotes, and double-spacing for the main text. All printed matter must appear in at least 12-point font, including footnotes.
(f) Extensions of time. Only those requests showing good cause will be granted. No motion for continuance or postponement of a hearing date filed within 15 days of the date set for a hearing will be granted unless accompanied by an affidavit showing extraordinary circumstances warrant a continuance. Unless directed otherwise by the Agency decisionmaker before whom a matter is pending, the parties may stipulate to reasonable extensions of time by filing the stipulation in the official docket and serving copies on all parties on the certificate of service. Motions for extensions of time must be filed in accordance with § 386.7 and served in accordance with § 386.6. A copy must also be served upon the person presiding over the proceeding at the time of the filing.
(a) General. All documents must be served upon the party or the party's designated agent for service of process. If a notice of appearance has been filed in the specific case in question in accordance with § 386.4, service is to be made on the party's attorney of record or its designated representative.
(b) Type of service. A person may serve documents by personal delivery utilizing governmental or commercial entities, U.S. mail, commercial mail delivery, and upon prior written consent of the parties, facsimile. Written consent for facsimile service must specify the facsimile number where service will be accepted. When service is made by facsimile, a copy will also be served by any other method permitted by this section. Facsimile service occurs when transmission is complete.
(c) Certificate of service. A certificate of service will accompany all documents served in a proceeding under this Part. The certificate must show the date and manner of service, be signed by the person making service, and list the persons served in accordance with § 386.7.
(d) Date of service. A document will be considered served on the date of personal delivery; or if mailed, the mailing date shown on the certificate of service, the date shown on the postmark if there is no certificate of service, or other mailing date shown by other evidence if there is no certificate of service or postmark.
(e) Valid service. A properly addressed document, sent in accordance with this subpart, which was returned, unclaimed, or refused, is deemed to have been served in accordance with this subpart. The service will be considered valid as of the date and the time the document was mailed, or the date personal delivery of the document was refused. Service by delivery after 5 p.m. in the time zone in which the recipient will receive delivery is deemed to have been made on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
(f) Presumption of service. There shall be a presumption of service if the document is served where a party or a person customarily receives mail or at the address designated in the entry of appearance. If an entry of appearance has been filed on behalf of the party, service is effective upon service of a document to its representative.
Address and method of filing. A person serving or tendering a document for filing must personally deliver or mail one copy of each document to all parties and counsel or their designated representative of record if represented. A signed original and one copy of each document submitted for the consideration of the Assistant Administrator, an Administrative Law Judge, or Hearing Officer must be personally delivered or mailed to: Department of Transportation Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001. A person will serve a copy of each document on each party in accordance with § 386.6 of this subpart.
(a) Generally. In computing any time period set out in these rules or in an order issued hereunder, the time computation begins with the day following the act, event, or default. The last day of the period is included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal Federal holiday in which case the time period will run to the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal Federal holiday. All Saturdays, Sundays, and legal Federal holidays except those falling on the last day of the period will be computed.
(b) Date of entry of orders. In computing any period of time involving the date of the entry of an order, the date of entry is the date the order is served.
(c) Computation of time for delivery by mail. (1) Service of all documents is deemed effected at the time of mailing.
(2) Documents are not deemed filed until received by Docket Operations.
(3) Whenever a party has a right or a duty to act or to make any response within a prescribed period after service by mail, or on a date certain after service by mail, 5 days will be added to the prescribed period.