Summary: H.R.2666 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2666. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (07/30/1999)

Federal Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 1999 - Title I: Hours of Service - Amends Federal transportation law to declare that a railroad carrier shall not be responsible for violating certain hours of duty limitations with respect to train employees (including determining when an employee is on or off) 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.

(Sec. 108) Prohibits a railroad carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents, except in a specified emergency, 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 the previous 24 hours during which the driver receives no communication from the carrier and its managers, supervisors, officers, and agents; (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.

Title II: Monitoring of Railroad Radio Communications - 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.

Title III: Protection of Employees and Witnesses - Revises certain employee protection requirements prohibiting a railroad carrier from discharging or discriminating against an employee to prohibit a 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; or (4) reporting a hazardous condition or refusing to work when confronted by a hazardous condition. Sets forth both civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act.

(Sec. 301) Sets forth certain requirements with respect to the exclusion of an individual from employment by a railroad carrier as a safety-critical employee.

(Sec. 303) Requires a railroad carrier to have an annual audit of the process by which it reports accidents.

(Sec. 304) 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.

Title IV: Passenger Service Safety Standards - Requires all passenger railroad cars to have emergency windows (including markings clearly indicating them) after January 1, 2002.

(Sec. 402) Sets forth requirements for: (1) passenger railroad signals;(2) internal and compartmentalized fuel tanks on passenger locomotives; and (3) corner posts in railroad passenger cars.

Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions - Expands the Secretary's emergency authority to order restrictions and prohibitions to include instances of unsafe conditions involving significant harm to the environment.

(Sec. 502) 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. 503) Provides for the adjustment of civil penalties for inflation with respect to violations of Federal railroad safety law.

(Sec. 504) Directs the Secretary to require the establishment of notification systems utilizing toll-free telephone numbers that the public can use to convey to carriers information about malfunctions of automated warning devices or other safety problems at highway-rail grade crossings.

(Sec. 505) 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. 506) Directs the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to report quarterly to specified congressional committees on the status of FRA's safety-related rulemakings and reports.

(Sec. 507) Directs the Secretary to issue rules requiring that no track inspection be conducted from a vehicle traveling at a speed of more than 15 miles per hour.

(Sec. 508) Sets forth requirements with respect to the rulemaking process of rules proposed by the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.

(Sec. 509) Requires fees imposed on railroad carriers to cover the costs of providing an additional 400 railroad safety inspectors.

(Sec. 510) Requires certification of other safety-related railroad personnel in addition to locomotive engineers.

(Sec. 511) Sets forth requirements with respect to: (1) transport motor vehicle inspections; and (2) railroad employee seniority rights.

(Sec. 512) 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. 513) Repeals a specified section of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 prohibiting a State from requiring the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) (or any other railroad in the Region) to employ any specified number of persons to perform a particular task, or requiring it to pay protective benefits to its employees (thus allowing States to make such requirements).

(Sec. 515) Authorizes appropriations.