PHMSA Civil Penalties Increase 2019

Effective July 31, 2019 the fines for civil penalties within the Department of Transportation are increased.  This increase impacts the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Pipeline of Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The fines are increased as a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  This happens every year, so you would think it would have an abbreviation at this point.  This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation.  A list of the increases for 49CFR is shown below.  These are found in 49CFR Part 107. A definition for “Penalties of non-compliance” is found in 171.1.  To see the full ruling with the changes to the other agencies, go here

PHMSA Adjustments:

  • Maximum penalty for a hazardous materials violation is $81,1993.
  • Maximum penalty for hazardous materials violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property is $191,316
  • Minimum penalty for hazardous materials training violations is $493.   
  • Maximum penalty for each pipeline safety violation is $218,647
  • Maximum penalty for a related series of pipeline safety violations is $2,186,465
  • Maximum penalty for liquefied natural gas pipeline safety violation $79,875
  • Maximum penalty for discrimination against employees providing pipeline safety information = $1,270

Keep in mind each of these violations, if the occur on subsequent days becomes a separate violation or offense.  That doesn’t sound so bad until you do the math.  Take this example.  A training violation discovered on August 1 but not fixed until August 12.  The final penalty will not be just $493 but 12 times that for a total of $5,916.  While bad not completely horrible.  Think about what would happen to that number should someone be killed or there is a substantial destruction of property.  Now you get it.

Take note, if you have the hardbound, paper copy of the 4 9CFR Parts 100-185 regulations published in March of 2019 sold by ICC, it won’t have these increased penalties in it. If you use the electronic Code of Federal Regulations the changes are there. You can find the online version at www.ecfr.gov and search for Title 49 on Transportation

Things change fast in this world of transport and you have to stay aware.  For help with all of your regulatory needs including training contact ICC Compliance Center today. We have several public classes coming soon in both our Niagara Falls, NY and Houston, TX locations.  Give us a call today.

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