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Federal Railroad Administration Interprets Hours of Service Laws

March 1st, 2012

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Feb. 29 published in the Federal Register its position on some interpretive questions related to hours of service laws.

The federal government has been regulating railroad employees’ hours of service for more than 100 years. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), P.L. 110-432, in particular made significant changes to the requirements of 49 U.S.C. § 21103, governing train employees, and 49 U.S.C. § 21104, governing signal employees.

The FRA in June 2009 issued its interim interpretations of the current hours of service laws, reflecting the amendments made by the RSIA. The agency has now issued a “final statement of agency policy and interpretation” in response to public comments on its interim interpretations. The interpretations in the statement take effect on May 29, 2012.

For specific details of interpretation, see the statement (PDF).

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