FRA Increases Minimum and Maximum Civil Penalties

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a final rule increasing the civil penalties for violations of a railroad safety statute or regulation.

The increase incorporates the new maximum civil penalty amounts authorized by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and new minimum amounts required under the Federal Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990.

Specifically, FRA is increasing the minimum civil penalty per violation from $550 to $650, while the ordinary maximum civil penalty per violation will be increased from $16,000 to $25,000 and the aggravated maximum civil penalty per violation, where a grossly negligent violation or pattern of repeated violations has created an imminent hazard of death or injury, will be increased from $27,000 to $100,000. The new penalty schedule takes effect March 2, 2009.