H.R.2095 - Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007
To amend title 49, United States Code, to prevent railroad fatalities, injuries, and hazardous materials releases, to authorize the Federal Railroad Safety Administration, and for other purposes. view all titles (9)
All Bill Titles
- Short: Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007 as introduced.
- Short: Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2007 as introduced.
- Short: Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007 as passed house.
- Official: To amend title 49, United States Code, to prevent railroad fatalities, injuries, and hazardous materials releases, to authorize the Federal Railroad Safety Administration, and for other purposes. as introduced.
- Short: Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2007 as passed house.
- Short: Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2007 as reported to house.
- Short: Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007 as reported to house.
- Short: Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 as passed senate.
- Short: Clean Railroads Act of 2007 as passed senate.
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Official Summary8/1/2008--Passed Senate amended. Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 - (Sec. 3) Amends federal transportation law to authorize appropriations for FY2008-FY2013 for: (1) railroad safety, including the safe transportation of hazardous materials; (2) research and development (R&D)
Official Summary8/1/2008--Passed Senate amended. Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 -
(Sec. 3)Amends federal transportation law to authorize appropriations for FY2008-FY2013 for:
(1) railroad safety, including the safe transportation of hazardous materials;
(2) research and development (R&D);
(3) the purchase of Gage Restraint Measurement System vehicles and track geometry vehicles or other comparable technology to assess track safety; and
(4) rail security personnel in Department of Transportation (DOT) regional offices and in Washington, DC. Title I: Railroad Safety Risk Reduction and Strategy -
(Sec. 101)Requires the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to have an Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety, who shall be the FRA's Chief Safety Officer.
(Sec. 102)Directs the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to develop:
(1) a long-term railroad safety strategy that includes an annual plan for meeting specific goals; and
(2) a railroad safety risk reduction pilot program (with appropriations authorized for FY2009-FY2010).
(Sec. 104)Directs the Secretary to require each railroad carrier that is a Class I railroad, a railroad carrier that has inadequate safety performance, or a railroad that provides intercity passenger or commuter rail passenger transportation to develop, and submit for FRA approval, a railroad safety risk reduction program, including technology implementation and fatigue management plans, to reduce the rate of railroad accidents and injuries. Grants the Secretary authority to assess civil penalties for violations of such requirements.
(Sec. 105)Directs the Secretary to ensure that railroad carriers required to submit a railroad safety risk reduction program that includes in its technology implementation plan a schedule for implementation of a positive train control system complies with such schedule by December 31, 2018, unless the railroad implements its system by an earlier date.
(Sec. 106)Revises hours of service requirements for a train employee to provide that such employee may not be required to be on duty:
(1) where the employee has spent in any calendar month a total of 276 hours on duty, or waiting for transportation, or in deadhead transportation (limbo time), to a place of final release, or in any other mandatory service for the carrier;
(2) for more than 12 consecutive hours; or
(3) unless the employee has had at least 10 consecutive (currently, eight consecutive) hours off duty during the previous 24 hours. Prohibits requiring or allowing such an employee to remain or go on duty after that employee has initiated an on-duty period each day for:
(1) six consecutive days, unless the employee has had at least 48 consecutive hours off duty at the employee's home terminal; or
(2) each day for seven consecutive days, if permitted by a collective bargaining agreement or provided for by a pilot program, unless the employee has had at least 72 consecutive hours of duty at a home terminal. Caps the total number of hours that a train employee may spend on-duty and waiting for deadhead transportation on a train at 15 hours, unless the train is delayed by an accident, a major equipment failure, or a delay resulting from a cause unknown and unforeseeable to a railroad carrier.
Revises hours of service requirements for signal employees, including signal employees of contractors or subcontractors. Repeals the requirement that a signal employee have at least eight consecutive hours off duty during any 24 hour period. Makes 12 consecutive hours the maximum time on duty, unless the employee has had at least 10 consecutive hours off duty during the previous 24 hours.
Prohibits a signal employee from being allowed to go on duty under certain emergency authority to conduct routine repairs, routine maintenance, or routine inspection of signal systems. Prohibits a railroad or railroad contractor or subcontractor from communicating with a train or signal employee during time off duty, except to notify the employee of an emergency situation. Authorizes a railroad and its directly affected employees to develop jointly, and submit for the Secretary's approval, an alternate hours of service regime that would increase the maximum hours an employee may be allowed to remain on duty or decrease the minimum hours an employee may be required to rest. Subjects commuter and intercity passenger rail employees to existing hours of service requirements, until the earlier of:
(1) the effective date of new regulations establishing different hours of service requirements for such employees; or
(2) three years after enactment of this Act. Authorizes the Secretary to issue regulations that make certain additional changes to hours of service requirements in order to improve safety and reduce employee fatigue.
Directs the Secretary to conduct at least two pilot projects to analyze specific practices which may be used to reduce fatigue for train, engine, and other railroad employees.
(Sec. 107)Exempts from certain public disclosure requirements, and from discovery or admission into evidence in a private court case, any information the Secretary has obtained as part of a railroad's risk reduction program or pilot program, except to enforce or carry out federal law. Title II: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Pedestrian Safety and Trespasser Prevention -
(Sec. 201)Requires the Secretary to issue guidance to passenger railroads on methods and strategies to prevent pedestrian accidents, injuries, and fatalities at or near passenger stations.
(Sec. 202)Directs the Secretary annually to identify the 10 states receiving federal funds for highway-rail grade crossing safety projects that have had the most highway-rail grade crossing collisions in the preceding year. Authorizes the Secretary to require such states, as a condition for receiving future federal funds, to develop a State Grade Crossing Action Plan approved by the Secretary that identifies specific solutions for improving the safety at highway-rail grade crossings. Requires the Secretary to assist states in developing and implementing such Plans.
(Sec. 203)Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations to require each railroad carrier to remove from its active rights-of-way at all public highway-rail grade crossings, including at all private highway-rail grade crossings open to unrestricted public access, any vegetation which may obstruct the view of a pedestrian or a vehicle operator of a train's approach. Requires the Secretary to develop model legislation for states to address such grade crossings which have only passive warnings.
(Sec. 204)Directs the Secretary to issue regulations for establishment of a national crossing inventory that requires each railroad carrier and state to report to the Secretary current information about previously unreported highway-rail grade crossings, with annual updates on all grade crossings in the state concerned. Establishes civil penalties for violation of such requirements by a railroad carrier.
(Sec. 205)Replaces the expired pilot demonstration program for emergency notification of grade crossing problems with a permanent system.
Directs the Secretary to require each railroad carrier to:
(1) establish a telephone service (which the Secretary may also require to be a dedicated toll-free telephone) to receive directly calls reporting malfunctions of signals, disabled vehicles blocking railroad tracks at grade crossings, obstructions to the view of a train's approach, or other related safety information;
(2) warn any trains operating near the grade crossing immediately upon receiving such a report, and contact appropriate public safety officials to direct traffic and remove any disabled vehicle;
(3) timely investigate any report of a view obstruction and remove it if possible, or correct any other reported unsafe circumstance; and
(4) ensure placement of the telephone number and certain other explanatory information on signs at each grade crossing.
(Sec. 206)Directs the FRA to make grants to Operation Lifesaver to:
(1) carry out a public information and education program to help prevent and reduce railroad incidents, injuries, and fatalities, and to improve awareness along railroad rights-of-way and at highway-rail grade crossings; and
(2) implement a pilot Railroad Safety Public Awareness Program addressing the need for targeted and sustained community outreach on rail and grade crossing safety. Authorizes appropriations for FY2008-FY2013.
(Sec. 207)Directs the Secretary to make grants to up to three states annually to develop or continue public education activities and enforcement of highway-rail crossing safety laws. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013.
(Sec. 208)Directs the Secretary to:
(1) review current local, state, and federal laws regarding trespassing and vandalism on railroad property and violations of highway-rail grade crossing warning signs; and
(2) develop and make available to state and local governments model state legislation providing for civil or criminal penalties, or both, for violations of highway-rail grade crossing warning signs. Authorizes the Secretary to purchase items of nominal value and distribute them to the public without charge as part of an educational or awareness program to improve the safety of highway-rail crossings and prevent trespass on railroad rights-of-way.
(Sec. 209)Authorizes railroad carriers to submit for the Secretary's approval new technology providing warning to highway users at highway-rail grade crossings. Declares that:
(1) such Secretarial approval preempts state law concerning the adequacy of such technology; and
(2) a carrier shall not be liable for damages to persons or property as a result of an accident at a grade crossing that is protected by approved technology. Title III: Federal Railroad Administration -
(Sec. 301)Requires the Secretary to gradually increase the number of rail safety-related employees at the FRA by 25 in each fiscal year for FY2008-FY2013.
(Sec. 302)Increases penalties for violations of rail safety regulations prescribed or orders issued by the Secretary, including violations related to rail accident reporting and hours-of-service.
(Sec. 303)Requires the Secretary annually to make publicly available, and publish on the FRA public website, a report of all railroad enforcement actions taken by the Secretary or the FRA during the prior fiscal year.
(Sec. 304)Revises the Secretary's authority to prohibit an individual from performing safety-sensitive functions in the railroad industry because of previous violations of hazardous materials transportation laws.
(Sec. 305)Allows the Secretary to authorize officers, employees, or agents (with or without making their presence known) to intercept and record a radio communication, with or without the consent of the sender or other receivers of the communication, where such communication is broadcast or transmitted over a radio frequency which is authorized for use by one or more railroad carriers by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and primarily used by such railroad carriers for communications in connection with railroad operations. Allows such activities for purposes of accident prevention and accident investigation. Sets forth uses of information obtained through such activities.
(Sec. 306)Requires the Secretary to prescribe procedures with respect to requests for waivers of regulations or orders issued in emergency situations. Authorizes the Secretary to prescribe temporary emergency waiver procedures without first providing an opportunity for public comment. Requires the Secretary to provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing after issuing an emergency waiver.
(Sec. 307)Authorizes the FRA Administrator and designated employees to have access to federal and state criminal history and other law enforcement records to protect the safety and security of railroad operations. Prohibits the Administrator, however, from using such access to conduct criminal investigations.
(Sec. 308)Requires the Secretary to update the FRA website to:
(1) help the public find current information regarding FRA activities; and
(2) provide a mechanism for the public to report to the FRA potential violations of federal railroad safety and hazardous materials transportation laws and orders. Title IV: Railroad Safety Enhancements -
(Sec. 401)Directs the Secretary to issue regulations to require railroad carriers and railroad contractors and subcontractors to develop for the Secretary's approval plans for training members of certain crafts or classes of employees on federal railroad safety laws, regulations, and administrative orders.
(Sec. 402)Directs the Secretary to report to specified congressional committees about whether the certification of certain crafts or classes of railroad carrier or railroad carrier contractor or subcontractor employees is necessary to reduce the number and rate of railroad accidents or to improve railroad safety.
(Sec. 403)Requires the Secretary to:
(1) study whether the required intervals of track inspections for each class of track and track remedial action requirements should be amended, and whether different track inspection and repair priorities or methods should be required; and
(2) issue and implement recommendations for changes to federal track safety standards based on the results of the study.
(Sec. 404)Requires the Secretary to study methods to improve the safety of rail passenger station platform gaps to:
(1) comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
(2) minimize the associated safety risks of such gaps for railroad passengers and employees.
(Sec. 405)Directs the Secretary to study and report to specified congressional committees on the safety impact of the use of personal electronic devices, including cell phones, video games, and other distracting devices, by safety-related railroad employees during work. Authorizes the Secretary to study other elements of the locomotive cab environment and their effect on an employee's health and safety. Authorizes the Secretary, based on the conclusions of the studies, to:
(1) prohibit the use of such devices during work, unless they are being used in accordance with railroad operating rules; and
(2) issue regulations to improve elements of the cab environment to protect an employee's health and safety.
(Sec. 406)Requires the Secretary to establish grants programs for:
(1) railroad safety technology; and
(2) railroad safety infrastructure improvements. Sets the federal share of project costs for each program at 50%. Authorizes appropriations for FY2008-FY2013.
(Sec. 408)Authorizes the Secretary to impose additional conditions for the movement of a defective or insecure locomotive or car to make repairs while on a railroad line.
(Sec. 409)Requires the Secretary to prescribe standards governing the development and use of rail safety technology in dark territory (any territory in a railroad system that does not have a signal or train control system installed or operational).
(Sec. 410)Revises rail employee sleeping quarters requirements to require a railroad carrier that provides sleeping quarters for its employees to provide indoor toilet facilities, potable water, and other features to protect their health.
Requires the Secretary to issue regulations that:
(1) govern the use of camp cars for employees and any individuals employed to maintain a railroad carrier's right of way; and
(2) may prohibit the use of such cars, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of employees.
(Sec. 411)Adds as an act of a railroad employee protected from employer retaliation the employee's:
(1) request that a railroad carrier provide first aid, medical treatment, or transportation to a medical facility or hospital after being injured during the course of employment; or
(2) compliance with treatment prescribed by a physician or licensed health care professional. States that a railroad carrier's refusal to permit an employee to return to work upon his or her release shall not be considered discrimination if such refusal complies with the carrier's medical standards for fitness for duty.
(Sec. 412)Authorizes the Secretary, upon petition by a group of commonly controlled railroad carriers operating within the United States as a single, integrated rail system, to treat such group as a single railroad carrier for railroad safety purposes.
(Sec. 413)Requires the Secretary to study and report to Congress on the impacts of repealing a provision of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 which preempts state laws from requiring certain crew requirements in the former region of the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).
(Sec. 414)Requires any nonfederal alcohol and drug testing program of a railroad carrier to provide that all post-employment tests of the specimens of employees performed under the program be conducted using a scientifically recognized method of testing capable of determining the presence of the specific analyte at a level above the cutoff level established by the carrier.
Requires each railroad carrier that has such a testing program to provide a redress process for its employees who were determined to be in violation of the program.
(Sec. 415)Directs the Secretary to require each Class I railroad, each intercity passenger railroad carrier, and each commuter railroad carrier to develop, and submit for the Secretary's approval, a critical incident stress plan that provides for:
(1) debriefing, counseling, guidance, and other appropriate support services to be offered to an employee affected by a critical incident;
(2) relief from the balance of duty tour of any employee involved in a critical incident;
(3) relief from duty of a requesting employee who witnessed a critical incident; and
(4) leave from normal duties as necessary for an employee to receive preventive services, treatment, or both, related to the incident.
(Sec. 416)Requires the Secretary to study and report to Congress on the potential hazards to which railroad carrier employees and railroad contractors or subcontractors are exposed during the transportation of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
(Sec. 417)Requires the Secretary to complete a rulemaking proceeding to revise railroad employee alcohol and controlled substance testing requirements to cover all railroad carrier employees and railroad contractors or subcontractors who perform maintenance-of-way activities. Title V: Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance -
(Sec. 501)Directs the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as soon as practicable after being notified of a rail passenger accident resulting in major loss of life, to provide certain assistance to families of passengers involved in the accident.
(Sec. 502)Requires a rail passenger carrier to submit to the NTSB, the Secretary, and the Secretary of Homeland Security a plan for addressing the needs of families of passengers involved in an accident of a rail passenger carrier intercity train resulting in major loss of life. Provides for funding for FY2008.
(Sec. 503)Requires the Secretary to establish a task force to develop a model plan and recommendations on how passenger rail carriers can provide assistance and notification to families of passengers involved in rail accidents. Title VI: Clarification of Federal Jurisdiction Over Solid Waste Facilities - Clean Railroads Act of 2007 -
(Sec. 602)Exempts solid waste rail transfer facilities from the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (effectively allowing state and local authorities to regulate such facilities).
(Sec. 603)Requires a solid waste rail transfer facility, within 90 days after the enactment of this Act, to comply with all federal and state solid waste environmental laws (except those requiring permits). Provides that such facilities shall not be required to possess a permit (other than a siting permit) from the appropriate permitting agency as complying with federal and state solid waste environmental laws:
(1) if within six months after enactment of this Act the facility has applied, in good faith, for all required permits; and
(2) until the permitting agency has either approved or denied the permit application. Provides that such facilities that do not possess a siting permit shall not be required to possess a siting permit or to comply with state land use requirements in order to operate, provided the facility has a land-use exemption properly issued by the Board.
(Sec. 604)Authorizes the Board to issue a land-use exemption for a solid waste rail transfer facility operated or proposed to be operated by or on behalf of a rail carrier if:
(1) state or local law affecting the siting unreasonably burdens the interstate railroad transportation of solid waste, or discriminates against such transportation and a solid waste rail transfer facility, or a rail carrier that owns or operates such a facility petitions the Board for such an exemption; or
(2) the governor (or designee) of a state in which a facility that is already operating is located petitions the Board to initiate a permit proceeding for that particular facility. Allows the Board to issue a land use exemption only if the facility at the existing or proposed location does not pose an unreasonable risk to public health, safety, or the environment. Prohibits any such land-use exemption for a solid waste rail transfer facility proposed to be located on land within the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, the National Trails System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, a National Reserve, a National Monument, or certain lands for which a state has implemented a conservation management plan, if the facility's operation would be inconsistent with restrictions placed on such land. Title VII: Technical Corrections -
(Sec. 701)Makes technical corrections to limitations on the use of local rail freight assistance. Considers any repaid portion of the U.S. Government's share of money, and any contingent interest recovered, to be state funds. Redefines "motor carrier" to exempt from unified carrier registration system plan and agreement requirements any carrier that the board of directors of the unified carrier registration plan determines appropriate.
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