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Mr. LANG. Well, if those standards were less rigid than standards that might have been set forth in regulations that were created as a result of the administrative procedures process, then he would not be able to operate in that job.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Nelsen.
Mr. Lang, I have been a witness before a congressional committee and I recall that at times it could be a bit uncomfortable. I am sure you would endorse my observation.
No. 1, is the dollar figure that is provided in this bill included in the 1969 budget? I guess it is $5 million for the first year. Do you know if it is in the budget?
Mr. LANG. No, sir; it is not in the current budget.
With reference to State regulations, suppose a State has more severe regulations than your rulemaking would later provide. Will the Federal regulations supersede in the event, say, the State regulation is more stringent than the rules that you may set up?
Mr. LANG. As this legislation has been drafted, the Federal regulations would supersede State regulations except in those specific areas enumerated, regardless of whether they were more stringent or less stringent.
Mr. NELSEN. When the transit authority is finally established here in the District of Columbia, which would go into Maryland and Virginia, your authority would reach out into that area, too, would it not?
Mr. Lang. Yes, sir.
Mr. NELSEN. Now, as I understand the bill, the safety regulatory provisions that are in existing law would be repealed and then you would encompass all of the provisions in your new rulemaking.
Would you have to go through a rulemaking process to reinstate the existing statutes under this process?
Mr. LANG. As the legislation which you have before you is drafted, all of those rules, regulations, and standards which are currently enforced under the existing statutes would be reissued as interim regulations.
The bill is drafted so that we would not be required to go through the rulemaking process in connection with that reissue on an interim basis. We would then have 2 years to go through this rulemaking process and to reissue these as permanent regulations, and to give all of the interested parties an opportunity to be heard in connection with that permanent reissue.
Mr. NELSEN. I note on page 18 that you say, “We are not proposing a punitive program of railroad safety regulations."
I compliment the statement.
I presume one of the areas that the industry fears would be that a Federal agency might exercise a good deal of muscle that could be almost punitive, financially speaking, to the industry. Of course, this would be an area that I think should be carefully reviewed so that in no case do you move beyond what are reasonable safety objectives.
I just make this observation but I think this paragraph certainly has the tone that I think our committee would endorse.
No more questions.
Mr. Lang, I have not been able to read all your testimony yet so I have only one or two questions at this point.
I was concerned about the percentage of increase in accidents that show a 76 percent increase. Perhaps your testimony should contain it. Is this with respect to passenger train service or freight or all kinds, or do you make any distinction as between the types ?
Mr. LANG. That is all kinds, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. PICKLE. But it would be a lessening, I presume, of passenger service percentagewise with respect to freight; is it not?
Mr. LANG. Yes.
Mr. PICKLE. One question I want to ask you, not as a matter of principle but I am concerned about the question that Mr. Kornegay had asked you with respect to section 3 when you get down to the third paragraph of the rules, regulations, or minimum standards regarding qualifications of employees.
Now, last year we had a long, involved section on the matter of wage rates or mechanics based on your qualification. Is it your interpretation in this section that this would give
you the authority to grade employees according to their qualifications?
Mr. LANG. No, sir; that is not the intention of this provision. This provision is intended to make possible the sort of certification from a safety standpoint of key employees that is the practice now under the Federal Aviation Act by the Federal Aviation Administration where they certify instructor pilots and supervising mechanics.
Nr. PICKLE. It does give you the power to say what qualifications are required for a given job; does it not?
Mr. Lang. It would give us that authority; that is correct.
Mr. PICKLE. But in your opinion it is not the intent of this legislation to give you authority to grade the employees according to qualifications?
Mr. LANG. Absolutely not; no, sir.
Mr. Lang, I call attention to section 6(c) which provides for certain criminal penalties whenever any person engaged in the performance of inspection or investigating duties is intimidated or interfered with. Certain criminal penalties are prescribed in this section and it goes to describe even stiffer penalties later in that particular section if these inspectors are assaulted with a deadly weapon or killed during the performance of their duties.
In section 13, the section which reveals certain legislative authority that you presently have, is this criminal section included in any of these acts or in any legislation which will be repealed ?
Mr. Lang. No; none of the existing acts include this kind of provision.
Mr. BROYHILL. Could it be that you are anticipating armed resistance to inspection?
Mr. LANG. Well, Mr. Broyhill, the Interstate Commerce Commission has had more than one instance of their safety inspectors having been
forcibly denied access to equipment and in some cases having been assaulted.
I do not recall any recent instances of this happening, if, indeed, any has ever happened, in connection with our railroad safety inspectors, but this has happened with motor carrier safety inspectors.
The Interstate Commerce Commission has recommended more than once that these kinds of penalties be authorized to protect their safety inspection employees.
Mr. BROYHILL. Is your answer that we can expect a safety bill up here something similar to this bill applying to trucks?
Mr. Lang. If my memory serves me correctly, the Commission has recommended such legislation in the past. I don't know that they have any such legislation pending now.
Mr. BROYHILL. Then can you give the committee any other justification for including this section in the bill?
Mr. LANG. That is the basis for our having written it into this draft bill.
Mr. BROYHILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SATTERFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will try to be brief because the hour is late.
A few minutes ago in answer to a question from the chairman concerning the meaning of section 5(b) of this bill, I believe it was indicated that you would submit a document in writing that would set forth its meaning.
I am wondering whether or not you will agree now at the same time to include in that writing a precise legal memorandum dealing with the opinion of the Department as to whether or not 5(b) as written will transfer liability to the Federal Government; if so, to what extent and to what extent it might preempt liability on the part of the railroad industry.
Mr. LANG. I would be glad to provide that for the record.
I would like to direct one question to a point if I understand you correctly, that
you raised in answer to Mr. Pickle. I heard you mention something to the effect that this was similar to the powers the Department now has in certifying aircraft mechanics.
Is it your intention that at some time the Department might get to that point where it would certify railroad employees for specific jobs?
Mr. LANG. I have no specific intentions at this point in time with regard to using this kind of authority. It is, however, only reasonable to suppose that as we get more and more deeply into some of these safety problems that we have not heretofore been in that we may find that the carrier's own practices with regard to qualifying certain key employees whose work has a direct impact on safety may be following practices that are less than desirable.
I don't want to suggest that the carriers don't qualify their employees for the jobs that they are on; they do so, but the care with which these qualifications are determined and the frequency with which these employees are reexamined on these qualifications do vary considerably from one carrier to another.
It may very well be that as we get more deeply into these matters, as I indicated a moment ago, we will find it desirable to write some kind of regulations that would insure that the carriers do follow this qualifying procedure and follow up on it in a regular and systematic way.
Mr. SATTERFIELD. That would be on the unions, too, would it not?
Mr. Lang. Well, the men are required now by their companies to be qualified for certain jobs.
Mr. SATTERFIELD. According to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation?
Mr. Lang. Not now; no,
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Harvey.
Mr. Lang, I must admit that as I read this bill for the first time this morning the only thing I could think of would be one word to describe my feelings and that is "incredible.”
It just seems to me as I read section 3(a) (2) here where you say the Secretary is empowered to prescribe rules, regulations, and minimum standards governing the use and special testing maintenance services, repair and overhaul of rail facilities and equipment, including frequency and manner therof, that you have taken in just about everybody but the kitchen sink.
You may say that you don't have the power to set the pace for the workers or to classify workers, and I cannot see anywhere in here that you do, but certainly you would have the authority to do everything else but that in the rail industry. You could certainly set schedules, could you not?
Mr. LANG. Not as I interpret this; no sir, because anything that was done here as the wording of the legislation itself points out could be done only in the interest of promoting safety.
Mr. HARVEY. Well, I suppose you could say if two trains run too close together you would have the authority to set schedules.
Mr. LANG. We indirectly have that authority already insofar as our ability to prescribe the way the signal systems shall be used on the railroads,
Mr. HARVEY. I could only say to you that it seems to me tremendously broad authority.
When you say in your statement that you want “flexible authority," I would remind you that what is flexible to you is arbitrary to somebody else.
Can you tell me, has the Secretary consulted with the railway management, for example, or with the railway unions with regard to this bill, either one or the other?
Mr. LANG. Yes, sir. Mr. HARVEY. Did either one or both of them concur in the bill? Mr. Lang. I think I would prefer to let them speak for themselves, Mr. Harvey.
Mr. HARVEY. I am sure we will find that out; I was just curious. This is our first contact with it at all here this morning.
Mr. LANG. Well, let me point out again that this authority, while admittedly broad, is not one bit broader than the authority which the
Secretary already has in the air safety, motor carrier safety, pipeline safety--that is, oil pipeline safety, as opposed to gas pipeline safety.
Mr. HARVEY. But what it means in effect is that we would transfer all authority to the Secretary as far as the running of the railroads is concerned. That is the way I would interpret it.
You speak of an increase of about 341 to 608 accidents on the first page. What kind of accidents are these? Are they personal injury accidents, property damage accidents? What are we talking about? How many people are involved in them, for example!
Mr. LANG. Well, the majority of these accidents do not involve personal injuries; some of them do.
Mr. HARVEY. What sort of accidents! Two cars bumping each other?
Mr. Lang. They are primarily collisions which are composed of cars bumping into each other, but unfortunately trains bumping into each other and derailments where cars or trains are derailed and there are injuries in connection with both of these categories of accidents, and deaths.
Mr. HARVEY. How many injuries in 1961 and how many in 1967?
Mr. Lang. If you will bear with me a moment, I can give you those figures.
In 1961, the casualties to employees now, 130 killed and 18,930 injured. Now, some of these were in connection with train accidents; many of them were not associated directly with what we call a train accident.
In 1967, the comparable figures
Mr. Harvey. I dont want to use more than my time, Mr. Chairman, but I just want a clarification.
You say but not necessarily being involved in a train accident. What do you mean?
Mr. Lang. A train accident is one, as you said, two cars bumping together or cars or trains running off the track, being derailed.
Mr. Harvey. By all employees on duty, what if an employee strains his back lifting something, is that included in that?
Mr. Lang. That is included in these figures.
Mr. Harvey. You are talking about the all workmen's compensation accidents. Mr. Lang. These are lost time injuries; yes, sir. Mr. HARVEY. Is that the same thing for those killed ? Mr. LANG. That is correct; yes, sir.
Mr. HARVEY. In other words, these are not directly related to cars bumping or to trains colliding with each other or the derailments?
Mr. LANG. A substantial share of them is related to such accidents but in any case the majority of the injuries to railroad employees each year are incurred by train operating employees—engineers, firemen, conductors, and brakemen. They are the category of employee which sustains the majority; that is, more than 50 percent of these total injuries that we list.
Mr. Harvey. I will ask you just one more question if I may, Mr. Chairman.
You are reading from a chart that was submitted along with your testimony to us this morning!
Mr. Lång. Yes. I am reading now from attachment C-2.