Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs. Topic 22-04. Summary of Federal Law Restricting Use of Highway Safety Data in Tort Litigation

In 1987, Congress enacted a law, 23 U.S.C. § 409, prohibiting the use, in tort litigation, of highway safety data created for purposes related to safety improvements on roads qualifying for federal safety improvement funding. The law has subsequently been amended to clarify and/or expand its scope, and generated a large amount of federal and state case law interpreting its provisions. After 27 years, state and local transportation agencies would be aided by a summary of this law, its application, and the large body of interpretative decisions. The summary should include: The origin of the law reason, the reason for its enactment, and its relationship to other similar statutes such as 23 USC § 402(k). Explanation of the provisions of the law, particularly the safety data governed by the law. The purpose and effect of amendments since 1987. The development of case law interpreting and applying the law. Explanation of the 2003 Supreme Court decision, Guillen v. Pierce County, upholding the constitutionality of the law, and the effect of Guillen on later caselaw. Current major interpretation and application issues involving the law, including how it is affected by public records law, or how it affects public records law.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $63000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-06, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Parker Corporate Enterprises, Ltd

    City,   United States 
  • Start Date: 20150804
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160904
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160904
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39192

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556445
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-06, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 6 2015 1:00AM