Summary: H.R.1720 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1720. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (05/22/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title IX: Traffic Safety

Title X: Hazardous Materials Reauthorization

Title XI: Underground Damage Prevention

Title XII: Sanitary Food Transportation

Title XIII: Rail and Mass Transportation Anti-Terrorism

Title XIV: Rail and Mass Transportation Safety

Surface Transportation Safety Act of 1997 - Amends Federal transportation law to authorize the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary), as a means to encourage safety improvements, to make special or periodic awards to individuals and organizations in recognition of their contributions to transportation safety programs and activities.

Title IX: (sic) Traffic Safety - Amends Federal highway safety law to authorize the Secretary to transfer specified percentages of funds apportioned to a State for the National Highway System, the surface transportation program, and the Interstate System to the State's apportionment of funds for highway safety programs if such State has not enacted and had in continuous effect a primary enforcement safety belt use law. Limits the use of such funds to occupant protection programs only. Requires the Secretary, if such funds are transferred, to allocate amounts to the State for Federal- aid highways and highway construction programs for carrying out only highway safety projects.

(Sec. 9002) Amends Federal motor vehicle safety law to authorize the Secretary to engage in specified activities that improve worldwide motor vehicle safety, including: (1) promoting the adoption of international and national vehicle standards that are equivalent to, or compatible with, U.S. vehicle standards; and (2) providing technical assistance to other countries relating to their adoption of such vehicle standards.

(Sec. 9006) Requires States, in licensing a passenger motor vehicle whose ownership has been transferred, to disclose on the certificate of title from readily accessible records: (1) if the motor vehicle was previously issued a certificate of title or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate that contained a word or symbol signifying that it was "junk," "salvage," "rebuilt salvage," "nonrepairable," "flood," or any other word or symbol signifying damage; and (2) the State that first issued the certificate of title.

Directs the Secretary to require, by regulation, the manner in which a State shall disclose on subsequent certificates of title, including a duplicate or replacement, such information, and the manner in which the information shall be retained by the State, to ensure an orderly transition to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

Requires an insurance carrier, when the ownership of a severely damaged passenger motor vehicle is transferred to it, and the damage requires titling either as a salvage motor vehicle or a nonrepairable motor vehicle, to apply to the State in which the transfer takes place for a salvage title or a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate. Requires certain actions on the part of the insurance carrier and the owner or the lessee and lessor of a motor vehicle with respect to such titling requirements.

Prohibits a passenger motor vehicle for which a salvage title has been issued from being licensed for use in a State unless the State issues a rebuilt salvage title for it indicating certain information.

Directs the Secretary to establish standards and procedures for the anti-theft inspection of rebuilt salvage passenger motor vehicles by State inspection systems, including the training of inspectors and equipment standards, to deter the use of stolen parts in the rebuilding and repair of salvage motor vehicles.

Makes it unlawful for a person: (1) with intent to defraud, to alter a certificate of title, a duplicate or a replacement; (2) with intent to defraud, to make or cause to be made any false statement on an application for a certificate of title, a duplicate or a replacement; (3) to fail to apply, within the prescribed time and manner, for either a required salvage title or a required nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate; (4) to fail to provide any required written notification; (5) to fail to surrender a certificate of title or nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate when surrender is required; (6) to alter, forge, or counterfeit a certificate of title, a certificate of inspection recording compliance with a State's inspection criteria for a rebuilt salvage passenger motor vehicle, or a State's permanent label, stating "Rebuilt Salvage Motor Vehicle - Inspections Passed"; (7) to falsify the results of, or provide false information in the course of, any required inspection; (8) to operate or introduce into commerce a salvage motor vehicle or a nonrepairable motor vehicle as a rebuilt salvage passenger motor vehicle; or (9) to conspire to violate, or fail to comply with, the requirements of this Act.

Sets forth civil and criminal penalties and enforcement provisions.

Title X: Hazardous Materials Reauthorization - Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Reauthorization Act of 1997 - Amends Federal transportation law to change from discretionary to mandatory the Secretary's authority to impose a fee on persons who are required to file a registration statement for the transport of hazardous materials in order to pay for the costs of processing such statements.

(Sec. 10006) Directs the Secretary to implement a pilot program to evaluate the use of automated carrier assessment programs for carriers of certain hazardous materials.

(Sec. 10009) Directs the Secretary (currently, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)) to monitor public sector emergency response planning and training for an accident involving hazardous material. Authorizes the Secretary to allow a State or Indian tribe receiving a planning and training grant to use up to 25 percent of the grant amount to assist small businesses in complying with regulations for the safe transportation hazardous material.

(Sec. 10012) Authorizes the Secretary to enter into grants, cooperative agreements, and other transactions with a person, U.S. agency, State or local government, Indian tribe, foreign government, educational institution, or other entity to further research, development, demonstration, risk assessment, emergency response planning and training activities with respect to the transportation of hazardous materials.

(Sec. 10013) Authorizes officers, employees, or agents of the Secretary to: (1) inspect and examine packages in transport when they are marked as containing a hazardous material, or when there is a reasonable belief that such a package may contain such material; and (2) prevent, when there is a reasonable belief that an imminent hazard may exist, the further transportation of the hazardous material until the hazardous qualities of such material have been determined.

(Sec. 10014) Revises penalties for violations of a regulation, order, special permit, or approval in connection with the transportation of a hazardous material to: (1) increase the maximum civil penalty to not more than $27,500 for each violation; and (2) provide for a fine, or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both for violations which lead to the release of a hazardous material (aggravated violations).

(Sec. 10016) Authorizes a person with a substantial interest in a final enforcement order issued in connection with the transportation of a hazardous material to petition for review in the appropriate court.

(Sec. 10017) Authorizes appropriations. Earmarks certain funds for: (1) training the public sector to respond to accidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials; and (2) hazardous material emergency response planning and training grants to States and Indian tribes.

Title XI: Underground Damage Prevention - Underground Damage Prevention Act of 1997 - Directs the Secretary to consider the establishment of a nationwide toll-free telephone number system to be used in State one-call notification programs with respect to the safety of underground facilities. Requires each State program to: (1) provide for a one-call notification system that informs facility operators of any intended excavations that may be in the vicinity of their underground facilities; (2) inform excavators of State damage prevention procedures to be followed when excavating; (3) require facility operators to locate and mark their facilities at an excavation site; and (4) provide effective enforcement mechanisms. Declares that a State program need not require an excavator to contact the one-call system if the excavation is undertaken on behalf of an oil or gas mineral lessee who also operates all underground facilities on a property.

(Sec. 11002) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to States or to operators of one-call notification systems to establish State programs. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) develop and make available to States a model State one-call notification program; (2) conduct workshops with facility operators, excavators, one-call notification system operators, and interested State and local governments to develop and promote the model program; and (3) to develop public service announcements and other educational materials and programs to educate the public about one-call notification systems.

Title XII: Sanitary Food Transportation - Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 1997 - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem as adulterated any food transported under unsanitary conditions.

(Sec. 12003) Directs the Secretary to establish by regulation sanitary transportation practices (subject to waiver) which shippers, carriers, receivers, and other persons engaged in the transportation of food shall follow to ensure that such food will not become adulterated during transportation. Authorizes the Secretary, by publication in the Federal Register, to establish a list of nonfood products that may become adulterated if shipped in a tank or bulk vehicle, or motor or rail vehicle.

(Sec. 12004) Amends Federal transportation law to revise sanitary food transportation requirements to direct the Secretary to establish transportation safety inspection procedures to identify suspected incidents of contamination or adulteration of food, and to train Department of Transportation (DOT) personnel in the use of such procedures. Directs the Secretary to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Secretary of Agriculture of any instances of potential food contamination or adulteration of food identified during such inspections.

Title XIII: Rail and Mass Transportation Anti-Terrorism - Transportation Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 - Amends Federal criminal law to revise provisions regarding the wrecking of trains to prohibit terrorist attacks against railroads, including: (1) bringing, carrying, or placing a destructive substance or device in, or near, any freight or passenger train with the intent to endanger the safety of any rail passenger or railroad employee, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life; (2) removing appurtenances from, or damage, any railroad signal system; (3) interfering with, or disabling, any locomotive engineer while operating a freight or passenger train with the intent to endanger the safety of any rail passenger or railroad employee, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life; (4) committing an act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a railroad employee or rail passenger; (5) causing the release of a hazardous material being transported by a rail freight car, with the intent to endanger the safety of any person, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life; (6) conveying false information concerning an attempt or alleged attempt to do any prohibited act that would be a crime; or (7) attempting or conspiring to do any such acts.

(Sec. 13003) Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for not less than 30 years or for life if such act involves a railroad train that carries high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel.

Imposes penalties for anyone who: (1) knowingly possesses or causes to be present any firearm or other dangerous weapon on board a passenger train or in a passenger facility, especially with intent that it be used in the commission of a crime; (2) kills or attempts to kill a person in the course of the above violations; or (3) willfully or recklessly throws a rock, or piece of steel, or any dangerous object or destructive substance at any train, knowing or having reason to know such activity would likely cause personal injury.

(Sec. 13004) Sets forth similar prohibitions and penalties for terrorist attacks against mass transportation.

(Sec. 13005) Declares that the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall lead the investigation of all offenses committed under this title.

Title XIV: Rail and Mass Transportation Safety - Amends Federal transportation law to require the Federal Transit Administrator to consult with the Federal Railroad Administrator concerning relevant safety issues when making mass transportation grants or loans to commuter railroads that are under the Secretary's railroad safety jurisdiction.

(Sec. 14002) Revises provisions requiring railroad carriers to file accident reports with the Secretary to require that they be filed on a periodic basis as specified by the Secretary (currently, on a monthly basis).

(Sec. 14003) Amends the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 to extend through January 1, 2003, the temporary exemption from certain axle weight limitations to any intrastate public agency transit passenger bus using the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.