U.S Code last checked for updates: May 09, 2021
§ 31102.
Motor carrier safety assistance program
(a)
In General.—
The Secretary of Transportation shall administer a motor carrier safety assistance program funded under section 31104.
(b)
Goal.—
The goal of the program is to ensure that the Secretary, States, local governments, other political jurisdictions, federally recognized Indian tribes, and other persons work in partnership to establish programs to improve motor carrier, commercial motor vehicle, and driver safety to support a safe and efficient surface transportation system by—
(1)
making targeted investments to promote safe commercial motor vehicle transportation, including the transportation of passengers and hazardous materials;
(2)
investing in activities likely to generate maximum reductions in the number and severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes and in fatalities resulting from such crashes;
(3)
adopting and enforcing effective motor carrier, commercial motor vehicle, and driver safety regulations and practices consistent with Federal requirements; and
(4)
assessing and improving statewide performance by setting program goals and meeting performance standards, measures, and benchmarks.
(c)
State Plans.—
(1)
In general.—
In carrying out the program, the Secretary shall prescribe procedures for a State to submit a multiple-year plan, and annual updates thereto, under which the State agrees to assume responsibility for improving motor carrier safety by adopting and enforcing State regulations, standards, and orders that are compatible with the regulations, standards, and orders of the Federal Government on commercial motor vehicle safety and hazardous materials transportation safety.
(2)
Contents.—
The Secretary shall approve a State plan if the Secretary determines that the plan is adequate to comply with the requirements of this section, and the plan—
(A)
implements performance-based activities, including deployment and maintenance of technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of commercial motor vehicle safety programs;
(B)
designates a lead State commercial motor vehicle safety agency responsible for administering the plan throughout the State;
(C)
contains satisfactory assurances that the lead State commercial motor vehicle safety agency has or will have the legal authority, resources, and qualified personnel necessary to enforce the regulations, standards, and orders;
(D)
contains satisfactory assurances that the State will devote adequate resources to the administration of the plan and enforcement of the regulations, standards, and orders;
(E)
provides a right of entry (or other method a State may use that the Secretary determines is adequate to obtain necessary information) and inspection to carry out the plan;
(F)
provides that all reports required under this section be available to the Secretary on request;
(G)
provides that the lead State commercial motor vehicle safety agency will adopt the reporting requirements and use the forms for recordkeeping, inspections, and investigations that the Secretary prescribes;
(H)
requires all registrants of commercial motor vehicles to demonstrate knowledge of applicable safety regulations, standards, and orders of the Federal Government and the State;
(I)
provides that the State will grant maximum reciprocity for inspections conducted under the North American Inspection Standards through the use of a nationally accepted system that allows ready identification of previously inspected commercial motor vehicles;
(J)
ensures that activities described in subsection (h), if financed through grants to the State made under this section, will not diminish the effectiveness of the development and implementation of the programs to improve motor carrier, commercial motor vehicle, and driver safety as described in subsection (b);
(K)
ensures that the lead State commercial motor vehicle safety agency will coordinate the plan, data collection, and information systems with the State highway safety improvement program required under section 148(c) of title 23;
(L)
ensures participation in appropriate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration information technology and data systems and other information systems by all appropriate jurisdictions receiving motor carrier safety assistance program funding;
(M)
ensures that information is exchanged among the States in a timely manner;
(N)
provides satisfactory assurances that the State will undertake efforts that will emphasize and improve enforcement of State and local traffic safety laws and regulations related to commercial motor vehicle safety;
(O)
provides satisfactory assurances that the State will address national priorities and performance goals, including—
(i)
activities aimed at removing impaired commercial motor vehicle drivers from the highways of the United States through adequate enforcement of regulations on the use of alcohol and controlled substances and by ensuring ready roadside access to alcohol detection and measuring equipment;
(ii)
activities aimed at providing an appropriate level of training to State motor carrier safety assistance program officers and employees on recognizing drivers impaired by alcohol or controlled substances; and
(iii)
when conducted with an appropriate commercial motor vehicle inspection, criminal interdiction activities, and appropriate strategies for carrying out those interdiction activities, including interdiction activities that affect the transportation of controlled substances (as defined in section 102 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 802) and listed in part 1308 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, as updated and republished from time to time) by any occupant of a commercial motor vehicle;
(P)
provides that the State has established and dedicated sufficient resources to a program to ensure that—
(i)
the State collects and reports to the Secretary accurate, complete, and timely motor carrier safety data; and
(ii)
the State participates in a national motor carrier safety data correction system prescribed by the Secretary;
(Q)
ensures that the State will cooperate in the enforcement of financial responsibility requirements under sections 13906, 31138, and 31139 and regulations issued under those sections;
(R)
ensures consistent, effective, and reasonable sanctions;
(S)
ensures that roadside inspections will be conducted at locations that are adequate to protect the safety of drivers and enforcement personnel;
(T)
provides that the State will include in the training manuals for the licensing examination to drive noncommercial motor vehicles and commercial motor vehicles information on best practices for driving safely in the vicinity of noncommercial and commercial motor vehicles;
(U)
provides that the State will enforce the registration requirements of sections 13902 and 31134 by prohibiting the operation of any vehicle discovered to be operated by a motor carrier without a registration issued under those sections or to be operated beyond the scope of the motor carrier’s registration;
(V)
provides that the State will conduct comprehensive and highly visible traffic enforcement and commercial motor vehicle safety inspection programs in high-risk locations and corridors;
(W)
except in the case of an imminent hazard or obvious safety hazard, ensures that an inspection of a vehicle transporting passengers for a motor carrier of passengers is conducted at a bus station, terminal, border crossing, maintenance facility, destination, or other location where a motor carrier may make a planned stop (excluding a weigh station);
(X)
ensures that the State will transmit to its roadside inspectors notice of each Federal exemption granted under section 31315(b) of this title and sections 390.23 and 390.25 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, and provided to the State by the Secretary, including the name of the person that received the exemption and any terms and conditions that apply to the exemption;
(Y)
except as provided in subsection (d), provides that the State—
(i)
will conduct safety audits of interstate and, at the State’s discretion, intrastate new entrant motor carriers under section 31144(g); and
(ii)
if the State authorizes a third party to conduct safety audits under section 31144(g) on its behalf, the State verifies the quality of the work conducted and remains solely responsible for the management and oversight of the activities;
(Z)
provides that the State agrees to fully participate in the performance and registration information systems management under section 31106(b) not later than October 1, 2020, by complying with the conditions for participation under paragraph (3) of that section, or demonstrates to the Secretary an alternative approach for identifying and immobilizing a motor carrier with serious safety deficiencies in a manner that provides an equivalent level of safety;
(AA)
in the case of a State that shares a land border with another country, provides that the State—
(i)
will conduct a border commercial motor vehicle safety program focusing on international commerce that includes enforcement and related projects; or
(ii)
will forfeit all funds calculated by the Secretary based on border-related activities if the State declines to conduct the program described in clause (i) in its plan; and
(BB)
in the case of a State that meets the other requirements of this section and agrees to comply with the requirements established in subsection (l)(3), provides that the State may fund operation and maintenance costs associated with innovative technology deployment under subsection (l)(3) with motor carrier safety assistance program funds authorized under section 31104(a)(1).
(3)
(A)
In general.—
Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall publish each approved State multiple-year plan, and each annual update thereto, on a publically accessible Internet Web site of the Department of Transportation not later than 30 days after the date the Secretary approves the plan or update.
(B)
Limitation.—
Before publishing an approved State multiple-year plan or annual update under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall redact any information identified by the State that, if disclosed—
(i)
would reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings; or
(ii)
would reveal enforcement techniques or procedures that would reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.
(d)
Exclusion of U.S. Territories.—
The requirement that a State conduct safety audits of new entrant motor carriers under subsection (c)(2)(Y) does not apply to a territory of the United States unless required by the Secretary.
(e)
Intrastate Compatibility.—
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations specifying tolerance guidelines and standards for ensuring compatibility of intrastate commercial motor vehicle safety laws, including regulations, with Federal motor carrier safety regulations to be enforced under subsections (b) and (c). To the extent practicable, the guidelines and standards shall allow for maximum flexibility while ensuring a degree of uniformity that will not diminish motor vehicle safety.
(f)
Maintenance of Effort.—
(1)
Baseline.—
Except as provided under paragraphs (2) and (3) and in accordance with section 5107 of the FAST Act, a State plan under subsection (c) shall provide that the total expenditure of amounts of the lead State commercial motor vehicle safety agency responsible for administering the plan will be maintained at a level each fiscal year that is at least equal to—
(A)
the average level of that expenditure for fiscal years 2004 and 2005; or
(B)
the level of that expenditure for the year in which the Secretary implements a new allocation formula under section 5106 of the FAST Act.
(2)
Adjusted baseline after fiscal year 2017.—
At the request of a State, the Secretary may evaluate additional documentation related to the maintenance of effort and may make reasonable adjustments to the maintenance of effort baseline after the year in which the Secretary implements a new allocation formula under section 5106 of the FAST Act, and this adjusted baseline will replace the maintenance of effort requirement under paragraph (1).
(3)
Waivers.—
At the request of a State, the Secretary may waive or modify the requirements of this subsection for a total of 1 fiscal year if the Secretary determines that the waiver or modification is reasonable, based on circumstances described by the State, to ensure the continuation of commercial motor vehicle enforcement activities in the State.
(4)
Level of state expenditures.—
In estimating the average level of a State’s expenditures under paragraph (1), the Secretary—
(A)
may allow the State to exclude State expenditures for federally sponsored demonstration and pilot programs and strike forces;
(B)
may allow the State to exclude expenditures for activities related to border enforcement and new entrant safety audits; and
(C)
shall require the State to exclude State matching amounts used to receive Federal financing under section 31104.
(g)
Use of Unified Carrier Registration Fees Agreement.—
Amounts generated under section 14504a and received by a State and used for motor carrier safety purposes may be included as part of the State’s match required under section 31104 or maintenance of effort required by subsection (f).
(h)
Use of Grants To Enforce Other Laws.—
When approved as part of a State’s plan under subsection (c), the State may use motor carrier safety assistance program funds received under this section—
(1)
if the activities are carried out in conjunction with an appropriate inspection of a commercial motor vehicle to enforce Federal or State commercial motor vehicle safety regulations, for—
(A)
enforcement of commercial motor vehicle size and weight limitations at locations, excluding fixed-weight facilities, such as near steep grades or mountainous terrains, where the weight of a commercial motor vehicle can significantly affect the safe operation of the vehicle, or at ports where intermodal shipping containers enter and leave the United States; and
(B)
detection of and enforcement actions taken as a result of criminal activity, including the trafficking of human beings, in a commercial motor vehicle or by any occupant, including the operator, of the commercial motor vehicle; and
(2)
for documented enforcement of State traffic laws and regulations designed to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles, including documented enforcement of such laws and regulations relating to noncommercial motor vehicles when necessary to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles, if—
(A)
the number of motor carrier safety activities, including roadside safety inspections, conducted in the State is maintained at a level at least equal to the average level of such activities conducted in the State in fiscal years 2004 and 2005; and
(B)
the State does not use more than 10 percent of the basic amount the State receives under a grant awarded under section 31104(a)(1) for enforcement activities relating to noncommercial motor vehicles necessary to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles unless the Secretary determines that a higher percentage will result in significant increases in commercial motor vehicle safety.
(i)
Evaluation of Plans and Award of Grants.—
(1)
Awards.—
The Secretary shall establish criteria for the application, evaluation, and approval of State plans under this section. Subject to subsection (j), the Secretary may allocate the amounts made available under section 31104(a)(1) among the States.
(2)
Opportunity to cure.—
If the Secretary disapproves a plan under this section, the Secretary shall give the State a written explanation of the reasons for disapproval and allow the State to modify and resubmit the plan for approval.
(j)
Allocation of Funds.—
(1)
In general.—
The Secretary, by regulation, shall prescribe allocation criteria for funds made available under section 31104(a)(1).
(2)
Annual allocations.—
On October 1 of each fiscal year, or as soon as practicable thereafter, and after making a deduction under section 31104(c), the Secretary shall allocate amounts made available under section 31104(a)(1) to carry out this section for the fiscal year among the States with plans approved under this section in accordance with the criteria prescribed under paragraph (1).
(3)
Elective adjustments.—
Subject to the availability of funding and notwithstanding fluctuations in the data elements used by the Secretary to calculate the annual allocation amounts, after the creation of a new allocation formula under section 5106 of the FAST Act, the Secretary may not make elective adjustments to the allocation formula that decrease a State’s Federal funding levels by more than 3 percent in a fiscal year. The 3 percent limit shall not apply to the withholding provisions of subsection (k).
(k)
Plan Monitoring.—
(1)
In general.—
On the basis of reports submitted by the lead State agency responsible for administering a State plan approved under this section and an investigation by the Secretary, the Secretary shall periodically evaluate State implementation of and compliance with the State plan.
(2)
Withholding of funds.—
(A)
Disapproval.—
If, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, the Secretary finds that a State plan previously approved under this section is not being followed or has become inadequate to ensure enforcement of State regulations, standards, or orders described in subsection (c)(1), or the State is otherwise not in compliance with the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withdraw approval of the State plan and notify the State. Upon the receipt of such notice, the State plan shall no longer be in effect and the Secretary shall withhold all funding to the State under this section.
(B)
Noncompliance withholding.—
In lieu of withdrawing approval of a State plan under subparagraph (A), the Secretary may, after providing notice to the State and an opportunity to be heard, withhold funding from the State to which the State would otherwise be entitled under this section for the period of the State’s noncompliance. In exercising this option, the Secretary may withhold—
(i)
up to 5 percent of funds during the fiscal year that the Secretary notifies the State of its noncompliance;
(ii)
up to 10 percent of funds for the first full fiscal year of noncompliance;
(iii)
up to 25 percent of funds for the second full fiscal year of noncompliance; and
(iv)
not more than 50 percent of funds for the third and any subsequent full fiscal year of noncompliance.
(3)
Judicial review.—
A State adversely affected by a determination under paragraph (2) may seek judicial review under chapter 7 of title 5. Notwithstanding the disapproval of a State plan under paragraph (2)(A) or the withholding of funds under paragraph (2)(B), the State may retain jurisdiction in an administrative or a judicial proceeding that commenced before the notice of disapproval or withholding if the issues involved are not related directly to the reasons for the disapproval or withholding.
(l)
High Priority Program.—
(1)
In general.—
The Secretary shall administer a high priority program funded under section 31104(a)(2) for the purposes described in paragraphs (2) and (3).
(2)
Activities related to motor carrier safety.—
The Secretary may make discretionary grants to and enter into cooperative agreements with States, local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, other political jurisdictions as necessary, and any person to carry out high priority activities and projects that augment motor carrier safety activities and projects planned in accordance with subsections (b) and (c), including activities and projects that—
(A)
increase public awareness and education on commercial motor vehicle safety;
(B)
target unsafe driving of commercial motor vehicles and noncommercial motor vehicles in areas identified as high risk crash corridors;
(C)
improve the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials;
(D)
improve safe transportation of goods and persons in foreign commerce;
(E)
demonstrate new technologies to improve commercial motor vehicle safety;
(F)
support participation in performance and registration information systems management under section 31106(b)—
(i)
for entities not responsible for submitting the plan under subsection (c); or
(ii)
for entities responsible for submitting the plan under subsection (c)—
(I)
before October 1, 2020, to achieve compliance with the requirements of participation; and
(II)
beginning on October 1, 2020, or once compliance is achieved, whichever is sooner, for special initiatives or projects that exceed routine operations required for participation;
(G)
conduct safety data improvement projects—
(i)
that complete or exceed the requirements under subsection (c)(2)(P) for entities not responsible for submitting the plan under subsection (c); or
(ii)
that exceed the requirements under subsection (c)(2)(P) for entities responsible for submitting the plan under subsection (c); and
(H)
otherwise improve commercial motor vehicle safety and compliance with commercial motor vehicle safety regulations.
(3)
Innovative technology deployment grant program.—
(A)
In general.—
The Secretary shall establish an innovative technology deployment grant program to make discretionary grants to eligible States for the innovative technology deployment of commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks.
(B)
Purposes.—
The purposes of the program shall be—
(i)
to advance the technological capability and promote the deployment of intelligent transportation system applications for commercial motor vehicle operations, including commercial motor vehicle, commercial driver, and carrier-specific information systems and networks; and
(ii)
to support and maintain commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks—
(I)
to link Federal motor carrier safety information systems with State commercial motor vehicle systems;
(II)
to improve the safety and productivity of commercial motor vehicles and drivers; and
(III)
to reduce costs associated with commercial motor vehicle operations and Federal and State commercial motor vehicle regulatory requirements.
(C)
Eligibility.—
To be eligible for a grant under this paragraph, a State shall—
(i)
have a commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks program plan approved by the Secretary that describes the various systems and networks at the State level that need to be refined, revised, upgraded, or built to accomplish deployment of commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks capabilities;
(ii)
certify to the Secretary that its commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks deployment activities, including hardware procurement, software and system development, and infrastructure modifications—
(I)
are consistent with the national intelligent transportation systems and commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks architectures and available standards; and
(II)
promote interoperability and efficiency to the extent practicable; and
(iii)
agree to execute interoperability tests developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to verify that its systems conform with the national intelligent transportation systems architecture, applicable standards, and protocols for commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks.
(D)
Use of funds.—
Grant funds received under this paragraph may be used—
(i)
for deployment activities and activities to develop new and innovative advanced technology solutions that support commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks;
(ii)
for planning activities, including the development or updating of program or top level design plans in order to become eligible or maintain eligibility under subparagraph (C); and
(iii)
for the operation and maintenance costs associated with innovative technology.
(E)
Secretary authorization.—
The Secretary is authorized to award a State funding for the operation and maintenance costs associated with innovative technology deployment with funds made available under sections 31104(a)(1) and 31104(a)(2).
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 984; Pub. L. 104–88, title I, § 104(a), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 918; Pub. L. 105–178, title IV, § 4003(b), (c), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 395, 396; Pub. L. 106–159, title II, § 207, Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1764; Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §§ 4106, 4307(b), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1717, 1774; Pub. L. 112–141, div. C, title II, § 32601(a), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 805; Pub. L. 114–94, div. A, title V, § 5101(a), Dec. 4, 2015, 129 Stat. 1514.)
cite as: 49 USC 31102