Find a Transportation Law Lawyer

Transportation law concerns itself with matters related to commerce and traffic, navigating various modes and means of transport. Included among these modes and means are highways, railroads, air and water transportations, customs and borders, and all commerce and trade relating to (or facilitated through) any and all of the above.

Federal Agencies

In the US, transportation law comes under the administration of a host of agencies, which are controlled, overall, by the US Department of Transportation, a Cabinet level agency, and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).

Commerce and trade shipped via air transport comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), while goods moved by rail are the concern of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Highway commerce is regulated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA, which is concerned specifically with large trucks carrying commerce) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, which is concerned with keeping the highways safe for all types of traffic).

The Surface Transportation Board has overlapping concerns in rail commerce, trucking and some maritime commerce. Rail commerce, however, is the STB's main area of jurisdiction.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) covers navigation and shipping on any waters in the US used for those purposes. The federal government reserves exclusive jurisdiction over these matters, leaving states and localities subject to its rules and regulations when it comes to maritime (also known as admiralty) law.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for monitoring and regulating the transportation of hazardous materials via any method (including and especially, through the nation's pipelines).

Any oversight of the above agencies falls to the DOT's Office of Inspector General, a watchdog agency tasked with preventing fraud and waste, and making sure the various branches of the DOT work together smoothly.

Other Agencies

International transportation law is administered by various treaties and agencies, including a number established and maintained by the United Nations and by the European Union.

In the US, individual states their own transportation laws and these are valid as long as they do not conflict with federal statutes.


With the tangle of the various states, federal, and international agencies concerned with various aspects of transportation law, the services of attorneys specializing in the field are becoming more and more necessary to sort out any litigation that arises from matters related to this field.

By Michael Willis           

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