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49 U.S. Code § 31503 - Research, investigation, and testing

(a) General Authority.—
The Secretary of Transportation may investigate and report on the need for regulation by the United States Government of sizes, weight, and combinations of motor vehicles and qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of a motor carrier subject to subchapter I of chapter 135 of this title and a motor private carrier. The Secretary shall use the services of each department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government and each organization of motor carriers having special knowledge of a matter being investigated.
(b) Use of Services.—
In carrying out this chapter, the Secretary may use the services of a department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government having special knowledge about safety, to conduct scientific and technical research, investigation, and testing when necessary to promote safety of operation and equipment of motor vehicles. The Secretary may reimburse the department, agency, or instrumentality for the services provided.
(Pub. L. 97–449, Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2439, § 3103; renumbered § 31503 and amended Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(c), (e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 745, 1030; Pub. L. 104–88, title III, § 308(k)(4), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 948.)

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)



Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, § 226; added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 566; Sept. 18, 1940, ch. 722, § 26(b), 54 Stat. 929.


Oct. 15, 1966, Pub. L. 89–670, § 6(e)(6)(B), (C), 80 Stat. 939.



Feb. 4, 1887, ch. 104, 24 Stat. 379, § 204(a)(5); added Aug. 9, 1935, ch. 498, 49 Stat. 546.


In subsection (a), the words “subject to subchapter II of chapter 105 of this title” are added for clarity. The word “services” is substituted for “assistance” for consistency. The words “department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government” are substituted for “departments or bureaus of the Government” for consistency.

In subsection (b), the words “In carrying out this chapter” are substituted for “For the purpose of carrying out the provisions pertaining to safety” to eliminate unnecessary words. The words “department . . . or instrumentality” are added for consistency. The word “reimburse” is substituted for “transfer . . . such funds” for consistency. The words “as may be necessary and available to make this provision effective” are omitted as unnecessary because of the restatement.

Editorial Notes

1995—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–88 substituted “subchapter I of chapter 135” for “subchapter II of chapter 105”.

1994—Pub. L. 103–272 renumbered section 3103 of this title as this section and amended it generally, restating it without substantive change.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
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 1301 of this title.