MAURER V. HAMILTON, 309 U. S. 598 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Maurer v. Hamilton, 309 U.S. 598 (1940)

Maurer v. Hamilton

No. 380

Argued February 2, 1940

Reargued March 27, 28, 1940

Decided April 22, 1940

309 U.S. 598


1. A Pennsylvania statute prohibiting the operation on the highways of the any vehicle carrying any other vehicle "above the cab of the carrier vehicle or over the head of the operator of such carrier vehicle," and applied to interstate carriers, held consistent with due process of law, and consistent with the commerce clause in the absence of Congressional action. P. 309 U. S. 603.

2. The Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1935 did not undertake to deprive the power to impose this regulation upon vehicles moving in interstate commerce. Pp. 309 U. S. 604 et seq.

3. Section 204 of the Federal Motor Carrier Act empowers the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish reasonable requirements with respect to "safety of operation and equipment" of motor vehicles of common and contract carriers in interstate commerce, but its authority with respect to sizes and weights of vehicles is expressly limited in § 225 to investigation and report on the need of regulation. P. 309 U. S. 607.

4. "Sizes and weight" in the meaning of § 225 includes the size and weight of the motor vehicle and its load. P. 309 U. S. 610.

5. The authority to regulate the "sizes and weight" of motor vehicles, left with the States by § 225 of the Federal Motor Carrier Act, is not restricted to over-all measurements and gross weight, but includes particular dimensions of motor vehicles and their loads and the weight distribution of load, which affect safety as well as the wear and tear of the highways. P. 309 U. S. 610.

6. The Pennsylvania regulation is an exercise of the state's power to protect the safe and convenient use of its highways, which it was the purpose of § 225 to reserve to the State from the grant of regulatory power to the Commission. P. 309 U. S. 611.

7. In ordinary speech, the load of a vehicle is not spoken of as a part of its equipment. P. 309 U. S. 612.

8. Even if the phrase "operation and equipment" in § 204 could be taken, when standing alone, as including the weight and size of

Page 309 U. S. 599

load, it cannot be so taken when read in conjunction with the reservation of § 225 of "sizes and weight" from the regulatory power of the Commission. P. 309 U. S. 612.

9. Congressional intention to displace local laws in the exercise of the commerce power is not to be inferred unless clearly indicated. P. 309 U. S. 614.

336 Pa. 17; 7 A.2d 466, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming the dismissal of a complaint in an action to enjoin the enforcement of a state regulation of motor vehicles.

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