FRA Raising Hazmat Penalties

The maximum civil penalty is $175,000 for a knowing violation that results in death, serious or severe injury to someone, or substantial property damage.

The Federal Railroad Administration has published a final rule raising the maximum civil penalty that can be assessed against a railroad for violating federal hazardous materials transportation laws and regulations. The "ordinary maximum" has risen from $50,000 to $75,000 and the "aggravated maximum" from $100,000 to $175,000.

These changes are already in effect and were directed by MAP-21, the new federal transportation and infrastructure funding law. FRA said public comment is unnecessary about these changes because FRA is not exercising its discretion in a way that could be informed by public comments, in this instance, nor was this final rule reviewed by OMB.

The ordinary maximum civil penalty applies to a knowing violation. The aggravated maximum is for a knowing violation that results in death, serious or severe injury to someone, or substantial property damage.

The minimum civil penalty of $250 was eliminated, except for a $450 penalty that still applies to a violation related to training.

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