TDG
Transport Canada Publishes Enforcement Action Summaries

Truck Driving on highway at sunset

A New Awareness Vehicle

Transport Canada has added a new item to the various informative offerings on the TDG home page. A link was added to an “Enforcement Action Summaries” listing to supplement existing guidance pages on topic-specific publications, orders, equivalency certificates, safety awareness material, etc.

This new page is intended to give the regulated community a better understanding of the types of offences that could subject them to penalties or orders to take corrective action. The objective is to provide an incentive to “deter wrongdoing” by demonstrating consequences to those who might choose to ignore the regulations; or, on a more positive note, provide an illustration of the advantages of understanding the regulations before an enforcement situation is encountered.

“I Fought the Law …” – or Ignorance is (Usually) No Excuse

Sections 22(3) and 40 of the TDG Act do provide for a defense of having taken “all reasonable measures” to comply with the Act. “Reasonable measures” would normally include acquiring and maintaining knowledge of the applicable regulations.

Although current enforcement activities are unlikely to result in the incarceration experienced by the misguided soul in Bobby Fuller’s 1966 classic hit, the TDG Act does provide for a range of consequences.

These consequences are represented in the Continue Reading…

PHMSA Penalties Increase

Chemical Drums Disposal

Enforcement of Hazardous Materials Program Procedures

Many have heard the phrase, “money makes the world go around”. The phrase was made popular by the stage and film show “Cabaret”. In fact, that phrase is the name of one of the songs in the show. For a snippet of the song featuring Liza Minnelli, listen here.

What does this phrase have to do with the US transport regulations you may ask? It comes down to a particular section of 49 CFR. In Subpart D of Part 107 Hazardous Materials Program Procedures is a section entitled “Enforcement”. Within that subpart are the possible penalties a company could be assessed for violations to the requirements of 49 CFR. In particular, take a look at Sections §107.329 regarding the maximum civil penalties which could be assessed to a company.

Maximum Penalties Increase

Here’s where things get tricky. Anyone working with these regulations is familiar with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  Quite a mouthful, I know. This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is a federal agency. As such, on April 19, 2017, those penalties increased. Per the announcement:

The maximum Continue Reading…

Federal Railway Administration Adjusts HAZMAT Fines

In a recent Final Rule, The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has increased or modified its penalties for hazardous materials violations involving rail shipments.

The Final Rule, RIN 2130–ZA11, reflects Title III of Division C of MAP–21(Pub. L. 112–141), the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012. This Act revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for violations of Federal laws regarding hazardous materials transportation. FRA has therefore updated its references to the maximum and minimum civil penalties for hazardous materials violations in its own guidelines.

In Part 209 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), the FRA has made the following changes:

  • The maximum civil penalty has been increased to $75,000 from $50,000 for “knowing violations” of any requirement of a Federal hazardous materials transportation law. This also applies to violations regarding orders, special permits or approvals issued by the DOT.
  • The maximum fine has been increased from $100,000 to $175,000 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person, or substantial destruction of property.
  • The minimum civil penalty of $250 was eliminated. However, a minimum civil penalty of $450 was retained for violations regarding training.

The amendments under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of Continue Reading…