[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999]
[Revised as of October 1, 1998]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 49CFR835.3]

[Page 1108]
                        TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION
                              SAFETY BOARD
Sec. 835.3  Scope of permissible testimony.

    (a) Section 701(e) of the FA Act and section 304(c) of the Safety 
Act preclude the use or admission into evidence of Board accident 
reports in any suit or action for damages arising from accidents. These 
sections reflect Congress' ``strong * * * desire to keep the Board free 
of the entanglement of such suits.'' Rep. No. 93-1192, 93d Cong., 2d 
Sess., 44 (1974), and serve to ensure that the Board does not exert an 
undue influence on litigation. The purposes of these sections would be 
defeated if expert opinion testimony of Board employees, which may be 
reflected in the views of the Board expressed in its reports, were 
admitted in evidence or used in litigation arising out of an accident. 
The Board relies heavily upon its investigators' opinions in its 
deliberations. Furthermore, the use of Board employees as experts to 
give opinion testimony would impose a significant administrative burden 
on the Board's investigative staff. Litigants must obtain their expert 
witnesses from other sources.
    (b) For the reasons stated in paragraph (a) of this section and 
Sec. 835.1, Board employees may only testify as to the factual 
information they obtained during the course of an investigation, 
including factual evaluations embodied in their factual accident 
reports. However, they shall decline to testify regarding matters beyond 
the scope of their investigation, and they shall not give any expert or 
opinion testimony.