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FHWA Order 2-1.2
This Directive was canceled November 16, 2004.

Joint FHWA/NHTSA Communications
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
2-1.2 December 20, 1972 OPI: FHWA HMS-1 / NHTSA N48-40


December 20, 1972
Transmittal 139



  1. Purpose

  2. Background

  3. Use of Joint Communications

  4. Guidelines and Procedures

  5. Communications Not Issued Jointly


    The purpose of this issuance is to establish guidelines and procedures for the promulgation of joint highway safety program directives and other communications by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


    Both FHWA and NHTSA are assigned responsibility for administering certain aspects of the State and Community Highway Safety Program. The requirement for combined, coordinated management of this single program has created the need for issuance of joint communications.


      Joint communications will be issued by FHWA and NHTSA only when the following matters of substance are involved:

    1. Policy, procedures, or instructions which relate to the overall highway safety program, or to both FHWA and NHTSA portions of the program;

    2. Relationships between regions or headquarters components concerned with the highway safety program, where both FHWA and NHTSA activities are involved; or

    3. Relationships of FHWA and/or NHTSA regions with State officials, when the overall program or both portions of the program are involved.


    The following guidelines and procedures will apply for issuance of joint FHWA/NHTSA communications:

    1. Types of Communications

      Only those types of communications common to both FHWA and NHTSA (i.e., notices, orders, manuals, and correspondence) will be used for joint issuances. Existing procedures of the two Administrations, concerning the nature and intended duration of communications, will govern the specific type of issuance. All joint communications, will bear a dual FHWA/NHTSA masthead.

    2. Development of Draft Communications

      Organizational elements of either FHWA or NHTSA may, in their respective areas of responsibility, originate joint communications. The originating office shall assure, prior to development of the draft, that the office of primary responsibility in the order Administration is in basic agreement with the proposed substance of the communication.

    3. Coordination

        (1) The office which originates a joint communication shall be responsible both for its internal coordination and for initiating interagency coordination.

        (2) Interagency coordination shall be initiated through an established contact point in each Administration--the Associate Administrator for Traffic Safety Programs, NHTSA, and the Office of Highway Safety, FHWA. The Administration contact point will assure (a) full internal coordination of joint communications originated by the other Administration and (b) a coordinated agency response to the originating office.

        (3) Following development of a joint communication in draft form, informal coordination may be performed concurrently within FHWA and NHTSA.

        (4) Final clearance of such communications shall be performed in the originating Administration first, then sent to the contact point of the other Administration. The contact point will assure an officially controlled agency response.

    4. Signatory Action

        (1) Following final clearance, joint communications will be signed by the originating Administration first. Signatory action in the other Administration will be initiated by its contact point.

        (2) Joint communications will generally be signed at comparable levels of organizational or program responsibility.

    5. Control, Printing, and Distribution

      Subsequent to signature, joint directives will be processed as follows:

        (1) The contact point of the nonoriginating Administration will record that the directive has been signed and transmit it to the internal component responsible for directives control (Paperwork Management Branch, FHWA, or Office of Management Systems, NHTSA). Control action includes assignment of a directives control number, as appropriate, and retention of a concurrence copy of the directive for the Administration file.

        (2) The directive will then be returned to the originating office, which will initiate internal controls in its Administration.

        (3) Subsequent to control by both Administrations, joint directives will be transmitted to the General Services Division, NHTSA. This division will arrange for all printing, distribution, and maintenance of stocks for such directives. Distribution will be made on the basis of jointly developed lists reflecting the combined requirements of both agencies. Funding for printing, distribution, and maintenance of stocks of joint directives will be provided by NHTSA.

    6. Filing

      FHWA and NHTSA will maintain separate files of joint communications. Filing will be performed in accordance with established procedures of the respective Administrations.


    1. In instances where a proposed communication is of prime concern to one Administration, but touches on matters of importance to the other, the communication should be issued by the Administration with primary interest. Such communications will be coordinated with the other Administration prior to signature, and the other Administration will be provided information copies of the communication via the contact point.

    2. Highway safety related communications which deal with routine, internal matters which impact solely on one Administration may be issued unilaterally. Coordination of such communications with the other Administration is not required. In those cases where the originating office determines that the communication is of informational value to the other Administration, copies will be provided via the contact point.

Douglas W. Toms
National Highway Traffic
Safety Administrator

R. R. Bartelsmeyer
Acting Federal
Highway Administrator

Page last modified on October 19, 2015
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