Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (09/30/1999)

National Transportation Safety Board Amendments Act of 1999 - Amends Federal transportation law to define the term "accident" to include damage to or destruction of vehicles in surface or air transportation or pipelines, regardless of whether the initiating event is accidental or not.

(Sec. 3) Grants the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) authority to: (1) negotiate and enter into agreements with private entities, Federal, State, and local governments, and foreign governments for the provision of technical services or training in accident investigation theory and technique; and (2) require that such entities provide appropriate consideration for the reasonable costs of any goods, services, or training provided by the NTSB.

(Sec. 4) Authorizes the NTSB to pay an employee with basic pay at a rate of GS-10 or above an overtime hourly rate of time-and-a-half for work performed at an accident scene (including travel to or from the scene) and other work critical to an accident investigation. Specifies limits on total NTSB overtime payments in a calendar year.

(Sec. 5) Prohibits the NTSB from disclosing publicly any part of a surface vehicle video recorder recording or transcript of oral communications by or among drivers, train employees, or other operating employees responsible for the movement and direction of the vehicle or vessel, or between such operating employees and company communication centers, regarding an accident investigated by the NTSB. Requires the NTSB to make public any part of a transcript or any written depiction of visual information relevant to an accident, provided certain conditions are met. Subjects surface vehicle recordings (voice or video recorder) and transcripts of accidents (written depiction of visual information obtained from a video recorder) to specified requirements for discovery and use in a judicial proceeding.

Prescribes requirements for installation and use of recording devices on surface vehicles.

(Sec. 6) Requires the NTSB to relinquish investigative priority to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with respect to an accident if the Attorney General determines that circumstances reasonably indicate that such accident may have been caused by an intentional criminal act.

(Sec. 8) Limits the Federal law compliance review authority of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation with respect to the NTSB to its financial management and business operations (including internal accounting and administration control systems).

(Sec. 9) Authorizes appropriations.