U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
April 9, 1998
EDITORS AND CORRESPONDENTS
In an April 3 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed challenges by Truckers United
for Safety (TUFS) to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulatory guidance on the motor
carrier hours-of-service regulations.
The FHWA published the regulatory guidance in the April 4, 1997,
Federal Register. The TUFS
petitioned the court for review of a portion of the guidance -- three questions and answers
concerning motor carrier liability for driver hours-of-service violations. The TUFS contended that the guidance imposes strict liability on trucking companies and violates their due process rights.
The court threw out the challenges, holding that the FHWA has not had the opportunity to apply
the guidance in a specific case. It did not reach a decision on whether the questions and answers
impose strict liability but commented that the standard of liability in all three answers appears to
be one of negligence.
The TUFS also argued that the guidance is invalid because the FHWA did not comply with the
Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which requires agencies to provide interested parties with
notice of and opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. The court rejected this argument,
holding that the regulatory guidance constitutes interpretive rules not subject to the
If your publication would like more information on this court decision, please call our media
relations contact, Janet Kumer, at 202-366-0079.
George L. Reagle
Associate Administrator for Motor Carriers