It would appear, however, that there is a vital distinction between the instant case and Southern Railway and other cases cited above. There are predominant factors were local in nature while here a federal regulatory scheme as well as a state one are drawn into question.
Deference to state regulatory measures does not require this court to forego its jurisdiction where, as here, its primary task will be to weigh the effects of federal legislation and regulation pursuant thereto as against state regulatory measures. This conclusion is supported by the approach of the Supreme Court in Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 67 S. Ct. 1146, 91 L. Ed. 1447. Plaintiffs were warehousemen operating under licenses granted by the Secretary of Agriculture as provided by the United States Warehouse Act, 7 U.S.C.A. 241 et seq. Plaintiffs also were subject to certain regulatory jurisdiction of the Illinois Commerce Commission. One of the defendants, a customer of the plaintiffs, filed a complaint with the Illinois Commission alleging that plaintiffs were violating the Illinois Public Utilities Act. Plaintiffs moved to dismiss on the ground that the United States Warehouse Act superseded the authority of the Commission. This motion was denied, and the Commission set the cause for hearing on the merits. Plaintiffs thereupon brought suit in the United States District Court to enjoin, inter alia, further proceedings before the Commission. The Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, Board of Trade of City of Chicago v. Illinois Commerce Comm., 156 F.2d 33 reversed the district court's dismissal of the suit, holding that the United States Warehouse Act superseded state regulations. On review the Supreme Court did not suspend the litigation pending prior state adjudication of the question, but sought the intention of Congress in passing the Warehouse Act, as that would determine whether Illinois law had been superseded, or whether the industry was to be subject to two regulatory schemes.
In another case involving the same basic issue, the alleged conflict of federal and state regulation, the Court defined the duties of the federal judicial system as follows:
'It is said that the state and the United States have worked cooperatively in protecting consumers from vicious practices in the handling of processed butter; that any action by the state aids the policy. f both in disposing of unfit food and that therefore a harmonious federal state relationship should not be hampered. Our duty to deal with contradictory functions of state and nation on any occasion and particularly when one or the other is challenged by private interests calls for the utmost effort to avoid conclusions which interfere with the governmental operations of either. Nothing could be more fertile for discord, however, than a failure to define the boundaries of authority. Clashes may and should be minimized by mutual tolerance but they are much less likely to happen when each knows the limits of its responsibility. And, it is only reasonable to assume that the theory of denying inconsistent powers to a state is based largely upon the benefits to the regulated industry of freedom from inconsistencies.' Cloverleaf Butter Co. v. Patterson, 315 U.S. 148, at page 169, 786, 62 S. Ct. 491, at page 503, 86 L. Ed. 754.
Having in mind these decisions and observing that the plaintiff, concededly an instrumentality of interstate commerce, is confronted with statutory regulations imposed by the federal government and others imposed by the State of New Jersey, I am constrained to regard it as the duty of this court to decide whether part II of the Interstate Commerce Act and regulations pursuant thereto render inoperative defendant Board's regulation of insurance requirements of carriers engaged in interstate commerce who are subject to regulations by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Absent federal legislation upon the subject, states may, within the limits of reasonableness, regulate the use of their highways of common carriers engaged in interstate commerce, provided such use is not prohibited altogether and provided that there is no discrimination against commerce. South Carolina State Highway Department v. Barnwell Bros., 303 U.S. 177, 625, 58 S. Ct. 510, 82 L. Ed. 734; Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 U.S. 610, 35 S. Ct. 140, 59 L. Ed. 385. When, however, Congress does exercise its power in a field of interstate commerce so as to conflict with state regulation, otherwise valid, the state regulation becomes inoperative. The conflict of state and federal legislation is, of course, apparent, if Congress specifies that its regulation is to be exclusive. On the other hand, where Congress does not so specify, conflict may still be spelled out by implication.
When the federal act is silent as to whether it renders state regulation inoperative, the method of determining what is Congressional intent as to the effect on state legislation is illustrated by the Supreme Court's line of inquiry in the case of Cloverleaf Butter Co. v. Patterson, supra. To answer that question the Court inspected both the federal and state statutes and regulations closely in order to learn what was the purpose of each and what each required of the regulated activity. If continued existence of state operations hindered or was inconsistent with the federal program, it was reasonable to conclude that Congress intended to override state controls.
Applying that approach to this case, it is first necessary to examine the New Jersey and federal statutes and regulations. Title 49 U.S.C. 315, as spelled out in the Interstate Commerce Commission Regulations, 49 C.F.R. 174.1 et seq., indicates a purpose of protecting claims of all persons for personal injury or property damage caused by negligent operation, maintenance or use of interstate motor carriers. To accomplish this purpose the statute requires that before receiving a permit or certificate such a carrier must comply with the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission governing filing and approval of surety bonds, policies of insurance, qualifications as a self-insurer or other securities or agreements. Provisions for qualification as a self-insurer are contained in 49 C.F.R. 174.5(a), and, in accordance with this section, the Interstate Commerce Commission has permitted plaintiff to become a self-insurer.
Turning to N.J.R.S. 48:4-19, N.J.S.A. it can be seen that its purpose too is protect the claims for damages of any person for bodily injury against interstate bus operators arising as a result of accident occurring by reason of the ownership, maintenance or use of an autobus. To effectuate this policy, the Board of Public Utility Commissioners may require interstate operators to carry insurance equal in amount to that required of intrastate operators. The Board may require filing of policies and approval thereof. Acting pursuant to N.J.R.S. 48:4-19, N.J.S.A., the Board has established minimum insurance requirements for interstate bus operators, which do not differ greatly from Interstate Commerce Commission requirements.
Pursuant to the provisions the state regulatory body required the plaintiff in the instant case to file evidence of insurance. When plaintiff sought to withdraw this insurance as duplicative of the protection exacted from it under the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission the New Jersey Board of Public Utility Commissioners understandably declined to grant its application stating frankly that its function was not to decide the legal question involved reserving that to the courts.
As far as can be determined, the precise question which arises in this case has not been passed upon by a federal court. State courts have ruled, however, that the insurance provisions of State Motor Carrier Acts, as pertaining to interstate carriers, are superseded by federal legislation. University Overland Express v. Griffin, 89 N.H. 395, 200 A. 390; University Overland Express v. Alsop, 122 Conn. 275, 189 A. 458.
Here there is a conflict between federal and state regulation. Each purports to regulate insurance requirements of interstate bus operators; each protects the claims of all persons against these operators for personal injuries caused by improper operation of their busses, though it might be noted that federal protection extends to injuries to properties as well. Both the state and federal governments have delegated the authority to administer insurance requirements to an administrative body. In this case the federal government has preempted the field of regulation of insurance coverage to be carried by motor vehicle carriers in interstate commerce. It must be held therefore that the New Jersey statute, N.J.R.S. 48:4-19, N.J.S.A., regulating the insurance coverage of this plaintiff must give way to the federal legislation, 49 U.S.C. 315 and regulations pursuant thereto, and is inoperative in its face, in the light of the fact that the plaintiff's operations within the State of New Jersey are solely interstate in character.
Judgement will be granted to the plaintiff, Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., declaring that the New Jersey statute in question here, N.J.R.S. 48:4-19, N.J.S.A., has been rendered inoperative with respect to plaintiff's autobusses operating solely in interstate commerce in or through the State of New Jersey by the enactment of federal legislation, 49 U.S.C. 315, and the regulations made pursuant thereto and that the defendant, Board of Public Utility Commissioners, Department of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey, lacks the power to require plaintiff to comply with insurance regulations imposed pursuant to said New Jersey statute.
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted to the extent of, and in conformity with this opinion. Let an order for judgment in accordance herewith be submitted.