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Title 49 Part 510

Title 49 → Subtitle B → Chapter V → Part 510

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 49 Part 510

e-CFR data is current as of December 11, 2019

Title 49Subtitle BChapter V → Part 510


Title 49: Transportation


PART 510—INFORMATION GATHERING POWERS


Contents
§510.1   Scope and purpose.
§510.2   Definitions.
§510.3   Compulsory process, the service thereof, claims for confidential treatment, and terms of compliance.
§510.4   Subpoenas, generally.
§510.5   Information gathering hearings.
§510.6   Administrative depositions.
§510.7   General or special orders.
§510.8   Written requests for the production of documents and things.
§510.9   Motions to modify, limit, or quash process.
§510.10   Supplementation of responses to process.
§510.11   Fees.
§510.12   Remedies for failure to comply with compulsory process.

Authority: Secs. 112 and 119, National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act 1966, as amended (15 U.S.C. 1401 and 1407); secs. 104, 204, 414, and 505, Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 1914, 1944, 1990d, and 2005); delegation of authority (49 CFR 1.51).

Source: 45 FR 29042, May 1, 1980, unless otherwise noted.

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§510.1   Scope and purpose.

This rule governs the use of the information gathering powers of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contained in section 112 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, as amended 15 U.S.C. 1401, and sections 104, 204, 414, and 505 of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, as amended 15 U.S.C. 1914, 1944, 1990d, and 2005.

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§510.2   Definitions.

(a) NHTSA means the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(b) Administrator means the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(c) Chief Counsel means the Chief Counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(d) Deputy Administrator means the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(e) Person includes agents, officers, and employees of sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and other entities.

[45 FR 29042, May 1, 1980; 45 FR 32001, May 15, 1980]

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§510.3   Compulsory process, the service thereof, claims for confidential treatment, and terms of compliance.

(a) NHTSA may use any of the following means to conduct investigations, inspections, or inquiries to obtain information to carry out its functions under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq., and the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.:

(1) Subpoenas;

(2) Information gathering hearings;

(3) Administrative depositions;

(4) General or special orders; and

(5) Written requests for the production of documents and things.

(b) A person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity served with compulsory process under this part shall be provided with the following information at the time of the service:

(1) The name of the person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity to which the process is addressed;

(2) The statutory provision under which the compulsory process is issued;

(3) The date, time, and place of return;

(4) A brief statement of the subject matter of the investigation, inspection, or inquiry; and

(5) In the case of a subpoena duces tecum or a written request for the production of documents and things, a reasonably specific description of the documents or things to be produced.

(c) Service of the compulsory processes specified in paragraph (a) of this section is effected:

(1) By personal service upon the person, agent-in-charge, or agent designated to receive process under 15 U.S.C. 1399(e) of the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other entity being investigated, inspected, or inquired of; or

(2) By mail (registered or certified) or delivery to the last known residence or business address of such person or agent.

(d) The date of service of any compulsory process specified in paragraph (a) of this section is the date on which the process is mailed by the agency, or delivered in person, as the case may be. Whenever a period is prescribed for compliance with compulsory process, and the process is served upon the party by mail, 3 days are added to the period.

(e)(1) Any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity submitting information or producing documents or things in response to any compulsory process issued under this part may request confidential treatment for all or part of that information or for those documents or things.

(2)(i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, requests for confidentiality shall be in writing, and addressed to the Chief Counsel.

(ii) Requests for confidentiality made during an information gathering hearing or an administrative deposition may be made orally to the presiding officer. Any oral request for confidentiality shall be supplemented by a written request, and this written request must be addressed to the Chief Counsel and received by NHTSA within five days of the date of the oral request.

(iii) A written request for confidentiality under paragraph (e) of this section shall specify the information, documents, or things which are to be kept confidential, specify the grounds upon which the claim is based, provide such information as may be necessary to permit the NHTSA to determine whether the claim is valid, and specify the period of time for which confidential treatment is requested.

(f) The Chief Counsel, or his or her delegate, is authorized to negotiate and approve the terms of satisfactory compliance with any compulsory process issued under this part.

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§510.4   Subpoenas, generally.

NHTSA may issue to any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity a subpoena requiring the production of documents or things (subpoena duces tecum) and testimony of witnesses (subpoena ad testificandum), or both, relating to any matter under investigation or the subject of any inquiry. Subpoenas are issued by the Chief Counsel. When a person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity is served with a subpoena ad testificandum under this part, the subpoena will describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which the testimony is required. In response to a subpoena ad testificandum, the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity so named shall designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf, and set forth, for each person designated, the matters on which he or she will testify. The persons so designated shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the entity.

[53 FR 26261, July 12, 1988]

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§510.5   Information gathering hearings.

(a) NHTSA may issue a subpoena to compel any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity to provide information at an information gathering hearing. The subpoenas are used for the purpose of obtaining testimony from a witness under oath and obtaining relevant documents and things. The Administrator, or a NHTSA employee designated by the Administrator, presides at the hearing. Information gathering hearings are open to the public unless the presiding officer rules otherwise, and the hearings are stenographically reported.

(b) In addition to the presiding officer, one or more other persons may comprise the panel. Each member of the panel may question any witness at the hearing. No person who is not a member of the panel may ask questions of a witness. However, any person may submit to the panel, in writing, proposed questions to be asked of a witness. A member of the panel may pose these questions to the witness if that member deems the questions useful and appropriate. Proposed questions may be submitted to the panel at any time before or during the course of the hearing.

(c) The stenographic record of each witness's testimony will be available to the public, unless the testimony was not given publicly and the witness requests confidential treatment for some or all of his or her testimony. When an oral request for confidential treatment is made during the course of a witness's testimony, the presiding officer may order the hearing closed to the public at that point and continue the questioning of the witness, or may note the request for confidentiality and direct the witness not to answer the question at that time, but require the witness to answer the question in writing within some specified period, or take such other action as the presiding officer deems appropriate. If a request for confidential treatment is made, the release of the record is governed by the applicable laws or regulations relating to the handling of allegedly confidential information. To the extent that some or all of a witness's testimony is not publicly available, that witness may procure a copy of his or her testimony as recorded upon payment of lawfully prescribed costs.

(d)(1) Any person who is required by subpoena or designated by an entity that is required by subpoena to provide information at an information gathering hearing conducted under this section may be accompanied, represented, and advised by counsel. Any member of the bar of a Federal court or the courts of any State or Territory of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, and any representative, official, or employee of the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other entity under subpoena may act as counsel.

(2) A witness appearing in response to subpoena may confer in confidence with his or her counsel or representative concerning any questions asked of the witness. If such witness, counsel, or representative objects to a question, he or she shall state the objection and basis therefor on the record.

(e) The presiding officer at an information gathering hearing takes all necessary action to regulate the course of the hearing, to avoid delay, and to assure that reasonable standards of orderly and ethical conduct are maintained. In any case in which counsel for or a representative of a witness has refused to comply with the presiding officer's directions, or to adhere to reasonable standards of orderly and ethical conduct in the course of a hearing, the presiding officer states on the record the reasons given, if any, for the refusal and, if the presiding officer is someone other than the Administrator, immediately reports the refusal to the Administrator. The Administrator thereupon takes such action as the circumstances warrant.

(f) Where appropriate, the procedures established in this subsection may be utilized in informal hearings conducted by NHTSA pursuant to its authority under sections 152 and 156 of the Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1412, 1416) to receive data, views and arguments concerning alleged safety-related defects. The rights accorded to witnesses in this subsection may also be accorded to witnesses who appear voluntarily at such hearings.

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§510.6   Administrative depositions.

(a) NHTSA may issue a subpoena to compel any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity to provide information as a witness at an administrative deposition. These depositions are for the purpose of obtaining information from the witness under oath and receiving documents and things relevant to an agency investigation. These depositions shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of the United States or of the place where the deposition is taken. Unless otherwise ordered by the Administrator, administrative depositions are closed to the public.

(b) Any person who is required by subpoena or designated by an entity that is required by subpoena to produce documents or things or to give testimony as a witness at an administrative deposition conducted under this section may be accompanied, represented, and advised by counsel. Any member of the bar or a Federal court or the courts of any State or Territory of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia and any representative, official, or employee of the person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity under subpoena may act as counsel.

(c) During an administrative deposition:

(1) The presiding officer before whom the deposition is to be taken puts the witness on oath and personally, or by someone acting under his or her direction and in his or her presence, records the testimony of the witness. The testimony is stenographically reported.

(2) After NHTSA has examined the witness at the deposition, that witness' counsel or representative may examine the witness. NHTSA may then reexamine the witness and the witness' counsel or representative may reexamine the witness and so forth, as appropriate.

(3) A witness appearing in response to a subpoena may confer in confidence with his or her counsel or representative concerning any questions asked of the witness. If such witness, counsel, or representative objects to a question, he or she shall state the objection and the basis therefor on the record.

(4) Objections to the qualifications of the officer taking the deposition, or to the manner of taking it, or to the evidence presented, and any other objection to the proceedings shall be noted by the officer on the record, and shall be treated as continuing. Evidence objected to shall be taken subject to the objections. Errors and irregularities occurring at a deposition in the manner of the taking of the deposition, in the form of questions or answers, or in the oath or affirmation, and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed, or cured if promptly presented shall be deemed to be waived unless reasonable objection is made thereto at the taking of the deposition.

(5) If the witness refuses to answer any question or answers evasively, or if the witness or his or her counsel engages in conduct likely to delay or obstruct the administrative deposition, such refusal, evasive answer or conduct shall be a failure to comply with the subpoena issued to the witness.

(6) Upon completion of the examination of a witness, the witness may clarify on the record any of his or her answers.

(d) The transcript of the testimony of a witness who testified in response to a subpoena at an administrative deposition is submitted to the witness for signature, unless the witness waives the right to sign the transcript. If a witness desires to make any changes in the form or substance contained in the transcript, the witness shall submit, together with the transcript, a separate document setting forth the changes and stating the reasons for such changes. If the deposition is not signed by the witness within 30 days of its submission to the witness, or such other period as the NHTSA may designate, the officer before whom the deposition was taken or a NHTSA employee signs the transcript and states on the record the fact of the waiver of the right to sign or the fact of the witness' unavailability or inability or refusal to sign together with the reasons, if any, given therefor.

(e) The transcript of the testimony of a witness will be inspected by NHTSA to determine if there are any errors in the transcription of the questions posed to the witness and the testimony in response to those questions. If NHTSA discovers any errors, it notes that fact and forwards the notation of errors together with the transcript to the witness, requesting the witness to stipulate that the transcript is in error and that the corrections made by NHTSA are accurate. If the witness will not make this stipulation, NHTSA may make a motion to the presiding officer to include its notation of error and its corrections in the record along with the version of the testimony signed by the witness.

(f)(1) Upon payment of lawfully prescribed costs, any person who is required by subpoena or designated by a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity that is required by subpoena to appear as a witness at an administrative deposition may procure a copy of the deposition as recorded, except that in a nonpublic investigatory proceeding, the witness may, for good cause, be limited to an inspection of the record of the deposition.

(2) A copy of the record of the deposition may be furnished to the witness without charge or at a reduced charge if the Associate Administrator for Administration determines that waiver of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the copy can be considered as primarily benefitting the general public. Any witness who seeks a waiver of the copying charge may apply in writing to the Associate Administrator for Administration, and shall state the reasons justifying waiver of the fee in the application.

(g) The testimony obtained in an adminstrative deposition may be used or considered by the NHTSA in any of its activities, and may be used or offered into evidence in any administrative proceeding in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 554, or in any judicial proceeding.

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§510.7   General or special orders.

The NHTSA may require by the issuance of general or special orders any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity to file with the NHTSA, in such form as NHTSA may prescribe, periodic or special reports or answers in writing to specific questions. The responses to general or special orders will provide NHTSA with such information as it may require, including, but not limited to, information relating to the organization of that person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity, its business, conduct, practices, management, and relation to any other person or entity. General or special orders which are required to be answered under oath are issued by the Chief Counsel. Any general or special order issued under this section contains the information specified in §510.3(b). Reports and answers filed in response to general or special orders must be made under oath, or otherwise, as NHTSA may prescribe.

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§510.8   Written requests for the production of documents and things.

The NHTSA may, by the issuance of a written request for the production of documents and things, require any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity to produce documents or things. A written request for the production of documents and things may be issued alone, or as a part of a general or special order issued under §510.7. Written requests for the production of documents and things are issued by the Chief Counsel. Any written request for the production of documents and things issued under this section shall contain the information specified in §510.3(b).

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§510.9   Motions to modify, limit, or quash process.

(a)(1) Any person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity served with a subpoena issued under §510.4 may file with the Deputy Administrator a motion to modify, limit, or quash that subpoena. If there is no Deputy Administrator, or the Deputy Administrator is not available, such motions shall be filed with and decided by the Associate Administrator for Administration. A motion to modify, limit, or quash must be filed not later than 15 days after the service of the process or five days before the return date specified in the process, whichever is earlier, except that, if the process is served within five days of its return date, such motion may be filed at any time before the return date. Any motion must set forth the grounds and theories of why and how the party believes the process should be modified, limited, or quashed and must contain all facts and arguments which support those grounds and theories.

(2) The Deputy Administrator may, upon receiving a motion filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section:

(i) Deny the motion;

(ii) Modify the return date of the subpoena;

(iii) Modify, limit or quash the subpoena;

(iv) Condition granting the motion upon certain requirements; or

(v) Take any other action he or she believes to be appropriate in the circumstances.

(3) The Office of the Deputy Administrator serves the decision on the motion on the moving party or the counsel or representative of the moving party. This service may be made by personal service, by registered or certified mail, or by reading a copy of the decision to the moving party or the counsel or representative of the moving party.

(4) A denial of any motion properly filed under this section shall be in writing, and shall contain a brief statement of the facts involved and the conclusions drawn from those facts by the Deputy Administrator.

(b) The Deputy Administrator's decision on the motion to modify, limit, or quash, filed under paragraph (a) of this section is not subject to reconsideration by NHTSA.

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§510.10   Supplementation of responses to process.

(a) A person, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity which has provided NHTSA with information under this part, which information was complete and accurate at the time the information was given to NHTSA, is not required to supplement that information in the light of after acquired information, except:

(1) The person or entity to whom the process is addressed shall supplement the response with respect to any question directly addressed to the identity and location of persons having knowledge of information obtainable under this part.

(2) The person or entity to whom the process is addressed shall seasonably amend a prior response if that person or entity obtains information upon the basis of which the person or entity knows that the response was incorrect when made or the person or entity knows that the response, though correct when made, is no longer true and the circumstances are such that a failure to amend the response is in substance a knowing concealment.

(b) The requirement to supplement information set forth in paragraph (a) of this section terminates when:

(1) The compulsory process stated that it was issued in connection with a contemplated rulemaking action, and a final rule is issued on that subject or a notice is issued announcing that the rulemaking action has been suspended or terminated.

(2) The compulsory process stated that it was issued in connection with an enforcement investigation, and the investigation is closed.

(3) The compulsory process does not state that it is issued in connection with a specific rulemaking action or enforcement investigation, and 18 months have passed since the date of the original response.

(c) This section in no way limits NHTSA's authority to obtain supplemental information by specific demands through the means specified in §510.3.

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§510.11   Fees.

Any person compelled to appear in person in response to a subpoena issued under this part at an information gathering hearing or an administrative deposition is paid the same attendance and mileage fees as are paid witnesses in the courts of the United States, in accordance with title 28, U.S.C., section 1821.

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§510.12   Remedies for failure to comply with compulsory process.

Any failure to comply with compulsory process authorized by law and issued under this part is a violation of this part. In the event of such failure to comply, NHTSA may take appropriate action pursuant to the authority conferred by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act or the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, as appropriate, including institution of judicial proceedings to enforce the order and to collect civil penalties.

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