Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/18/1996)

Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 - Amends Federal transportation law to require the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), after an accident involving a domestic or foreign aircraft that results in a major loss of life of passengers, to: (1) designate and publicize the name and phone number of a director of family support services to be a Government liaison between the air carrier or foreign air carrier and the families of the passengers; and (2) designate an experienced, independent nonprofit organization which shall have primary responsibility for coordinating the care and support of the passengers' families. Declares that the NTSB shall have primary Federal responsibility for facilitating the recovery and identification of fatally-injured passengers involved in an aircraft accident.

Prohibits: (1) any person from impeding the ability of the NTSB, or the designated organization, from carrying out its responsibilities under this Act; and (2) any unsolicited communications from being made to the families concerning potential action for personal injury or wrongful death before the 30th day following the accident. Sets forth penalties for violations of this Act.

Requires each air carrier to submit to the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of NTSB a plan for addressing the needs of the passengers' families. Specifies minimum requirements for such a plan. Prohibits the Secretary from approving an air carrier's application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity unless it includes such plan in its application.

Requires the Secretary to establish a task force to develop: (1) a model plan to assist air carriers in responding to aircraft accidents; (2) recommendations to the Congress on methods to ensure that attorneys and the media do not intrude on the privacy of the passengers' families; and (3) recommendations on methods with respect to assistance to non-citizens, out-of-state mental health workers at the accident site, the use of military experts and facilities in passenger remains identification, and timeliness of airline notification to families of victims.