Summary: H.R.2450 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2450. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (07/01/1999)

Railroad Safety Reform Act of 1999 - Title I: Employee Fatigue - Amends Federal transportation law to revise the hours of duty limitations with respect to train employees (including determining when an employee is on or off duty). Declares that a railroad carrier shall not be held responsible for violating such requirements in the case of a dually employed employee if none of the railroad carrier's managers, supervisors, officers, and agents had actual knowledge of the employee's work schedule for another employer. Makes similar changes with respect to signal employees and dispatching service employees and power directors.

(Sec. 105) Revises certain sleeping quarters limitations with respect to train employees (including signal employees), and for any individuals employed to maintain the right of way of a railroad carrier, to require such carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents to provide, among other things, a separate bedroom for each employee or individual.

(Sec. 106) Requires each Class I and Class II railroad carrier, each railroad carrier providing intercity rail passenger transportation, and each railroad carrier providing commuter rail passenger transportation, to submit to the Secretary of Transportation a fatigue management plan designed to reduce: (1) fatigue experienced by railroad employees or its independent contractors; and (2) the likelihood of accidents and injuries caused by such fatigue. Provides a waiver for the submission of such plan.

(Sec. 108) Prohibits, except in a specified emergency, a railroad carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents from requiring a transport vehicle driver to remain or go on duty: (1) unless such driver has at least eight consecutive hours off duty, during which such driver receives no communication from such carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents, during the prior 24 hours; (2) for a period in excess of ten consecutive hours; (3) unless such driver has received notice at least eight hours before going on duty; and (4) unless such driver has had at least one period of at least 24 consecutive hours off duty in the past seven days.

(Sec. 110) Authorizes a railroad carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents to require a train employee to work a split shift only if the split shift begins between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. and ends before 2:00 a.m. on the day following the day on which the shift begins.

(Sec. 111) Prohibits a railroad carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents from requiring an employee to report for duty to begin an eight-hour shift which begins at a time that is more than four hours earlier or more than six hours later than the time of day when that employee, within the previous 72 hours, began a prior eight-hour shift (rotating shift). Directs the Secretary to report to Congress the results of a study regarding: (1) the effect of rotating shifts on employee fatigue; and (2) alternative methods of preventing fatigue due to such shifts.

(Sec. 112) Directs the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee to convene a working group to consider what legislative changes might be appropriate with respect to hours of service. Requires the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration to report to Congress on the Committee's recommendations with respect to such changes.

Title II: Protection of Employees and Witnesses - Revises certain employee protection requirements prohibiting a railroad carrier from discharging or discriminating against an employee also to prohibit such carrier from threatening, intimidating, or disciplining for, or preventing an employee from (among other things): (1) notifying, or attempting to notify, the carrier of a work-related personal injury or illness; (2) cooperating with a safety investigation; (3) furnishing information to any party as to the facts relating to any accident resulting in injury or death or damage to property occurring in connection with railroad transportation; (4) accurately reporting hours of duty or dual employment status; or (5) reporting a hazardous condition or refusing to work when confronted by a hazardous condition. Sets forth both civil and criminal penalties for violations of the requirements under this Act.

(Sec. 201) Sets forth certain requirements with respect to the exclusion of an individual from employment by a railroad carrier as a safety-critical employee.

(Sec. 203) Requires a railroad carrier to have an annual audit of the process by which it reports accidents.

(Sec. 204) Makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly interfere with, obstruct, or hamper a railroad safety investigation, or knowingly or intentionally use intimidation, harassment, or threats to influence the testimony of any person or prevent a person from attending such investigation. Sets forth both civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act.

Title III: Grade Crossing Safety - Revises grade crossing safety requirements to require each railroad carrier to: (1) establish a toll-free telephone service to receive calls reporting malfunctions of safety equipment, or disabled vehicles blocking railroad tracks, at grade crossings; (2) notify trains operating near a grade crossing of the malfunction or disabled vehicle and contact appropriate public safety officials; and (3) ensure placement of signs at each grade crossing displaying the toll-free telephone information.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Secretary to review current local, State, and Federal laws regarding violations of grade crossing signals. Directs the Secretary to develop and make available to State and local governments model State legislation providing for civil or criminal penalties, or both, for violations of grade crossing signals.

Title IV: Passenger Service Safety Standards - Requires all passenger railroad cars to have emergency windows after January 1, 2002.

(Sec. 402) Sets forth requirements for: (1) passenger railroad signals; and (2) internal and compartmentalized fuel tanks on passenger locomotives.

Title V: Safety Rulemaking and Enforcement - Amends Federal transportation law with respect to railroad safety to direct the Secretary to convene an annual conference to determine the most important actions needed to improve railroad safety, and report the results to Congress.

(Sec. 503) Directs the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to report monthly to specified congressional committees on the status of FRA's safety-related rulemakings and reports.

(Sec. 504) Sets forth requirements with respect to the rulemaking process of rules proposed by the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.

(Sec. 505) Declares that certain railroad power brake safety rules proposed on September 16, 1994, shall take effect as final rules one year after enactment of this Act if before that time the Secretary has not issued all final regulations required by specified law.

(Sec. 506) Directs the Secretary to initiate a rulemaking to ensure the safety of operators of railroad cranes and other hoisting equipment, and of railroad employees working in the vicinity of cranes and other hoisting equipment.

(Sec. 508) Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations addressing noise emissions from high-speed rail systems (including magnetic levitation systems) when operating at speeds greater than 150 miles per hour.

(Sec. 509) Directs the Secretary to issue rules requiring that no track inspection shall be conducted from a vehicle traveling at a speed of more than 15 miles per hour.

(Sec. 510) Authorizes officers, employees, or agents of the Secretary to monitor railroad radio communications for purposes of conducting any rulemaking, accident investigations, and acquiring general information as to railroad operations as it relates to railroad safety. Prohibits the use of information obtained from such monitoring as evidence for the assessment or collection of civil penalties or for implementation of other enforcement activities, except that it may be used as background for further investigation which might lead to the discovery of other useful evidence.

(Sec. 511) Expands the Secretary's emergency authority to order restrictions and prohibitions to include instances of unsafe conditions involving significant harm to the environment.

(Sec. 512) Requires fees imposed on railroad carriers to cover the costs of providing an additional 400 railroad safety inspectors.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Directs the Federal Transit Administrator to consult with the Federal Railroad Administrator concerning relevant safety issues when making a grant or loan to a commuter railroad to help eliminate or correct an unsafe condition that may cause a serious hazard of death or injury.

(Sec. 602) Provides for the adjustment of civil penalties for inflation with respect to railroad safety violations committed under Federal railroad safety law.

(Sec. 603) Requires certification of other safety-related railroad personnel in addition to locomotive engineers.

(Sec. 604) Sets forth requirements with respect to: (1) transport motor vehicle inspections; and (2) railroad employee seniority rights.