House Approves Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007

WASHINGTON — The House voted 377-38 to approve the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007.

HR 2095 will reauthorize the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and improve the safety of our Nation’s railroads.

In addition to authorizing $1.1 billion over the next four years, the bill imposes new work rules that require longer rest periods and work shifts for rail workers that generally cannot exceed 12 hours; and it increases the number of rail safety inspection and enforcement personnel.

“A comparison of the modes is revealing,” Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., said. “A commercial airline pilot … can work up to 100 hours per month, a commercial airline pilot … can work up to 120 hours per month, ocean-going shipboard personnel can work up to 360 hours per month and a truck driver can be on duty up to 350 hours per month.

“Meanwhile, train crews can operate a train up to 432 hours per month,” Oberstar added. “That equates to more than 14 hours a day for each of those 30 days, and does not even include the time that operating crews are required to remain on trains in ‘limbo,’ which according to both the NTSB and the FRA can be significant.”