Summary: H.R.3743 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (12/18/1987)

(Measure passed House, amended)

Rail Safety Improvement Act of 1987 - Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to authorize appropriations for FY 1988 through 1990.

Requires the Federal Railroad Administration to establish, and report to certain congressional committees regarding the results of, specified grade crossing demonstration projects. Authorizes appropriations for grade crossing safety improvements.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to implement a mandatory licensing program for railroad operators and engineers. Outlines the requirements of such program. Entitles individuals who have been denied an operator's license to an administrative hearing. Provides that an individual who has been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance will not be prohibited from holding a railroad operator's license if such individual has successfully completed a rehabilitation program established by a rail carrier or approved by the Secretary subsequent to such conviction.

Mandates the use of certain automatic train control systems on all trains operating after July 1, 1990, on the main line of the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts.

Requires the Secretary to conduct a feasibility study regarding automatic train control systems, including satellite relay and transponder systems, on rail corridors on which passengers or hazardous materials are carried.

Makes it unlawful for any person (including railroad personnel) to fail to comply with any rules prescribed by the Secretary. Increases the maximum civil penalty for such violations from $2,500 to $10,000 (and $25,000 for specified violations).

Authorizes the Secretary to prohibit an individual from performing safety-sensitive functions if such individual's violation of a rule, regulation, order, or standard is shown to make that individual unfit for such functions.

Directs the Secretary to promulgate proscriptions against willful tampering with railroad safety or operational monitoring devices. Establishes a civil penalty for railroads operating a track with tampered or disabled monitoring devices. Directs the Secretary to: (1) report to certain congressional committees the results of an inquiry into whether training standards are necessary for train dispatchers; (2) promulgate standards and regulations regarding railroad highway grade crossings; and (3) report to certain congressional committees the results of an inquiry into whether to require that all trains be equipped with event recorders to enhance safety.

Provides for an expedited proceeding by the National Railroad Adjustment Board of any railroad employee dispute or grievance alleging certain discriminatory practices.

Cites circumstances under which the Secretary is authorized to disclose the name of a railroad employee who has provided information regarding alleged railroad safety violations.

Mandates that railroad accident reports which assign human error as a factor include, at his or her option, an explanatory statement by the employee whose error is alleged.

Outlines circumstances under which the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) (or the owner of any facility which presents a danger to Amtrak property, employees or passengers) may petition the Secretary for relocation assistance or other remedial measures to obviate such danger. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends the Rail Passenger Service Act to prescribe actions which Amtrak may take if a rail carrier or rail line owner breaches its contractual obligation to: (1) permit Amtrak to operate rail service on its line; or (2) maintain such line in suitable operating condition.

Directs the Secretary to promulgate regulations for: (1) the safety of maintenance-of-way employees; and (2) the fencing of rail yards in heavily populated areas in order to prevent injury to non-railroad personnel.

Authorizes the Secretary to enforce local railroad speed regulations.