49 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2017 Edition
Title 49 - TRANSPORTATION
SUBTITLE V - RAIL PROGRAMS
PART A - SAFETY
CHAPTER 201 - GENERAL
SUBCHAPTER II - PARTICULAR ASPECTS OF SAFETY
Sec. 20168 - Installation of audio and image recording devices
From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov

§20168. Installation of audio and image recording devices

(a) In General.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, the Secretary of Transportation shall promulgate regulations to require each railroad carrier that provides regularly scheduled intercity rail passenger or commuter rail passenger transportation to the public to install inward- and outward-facing image recording devices in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments in such passenger trains.

(b) Device Standards.—Each inward- and outward-facing image recording device shall—

(1) have a minimum 12-hour continuous recording capability;

(2) have crash and fire protections for any in-cab image recordings that are stored only within a controlling locomotive cab or cab car operating compartment; and

(3) have recordings accessible for review during an accident or incident investigation.


(c) Review.—The Secretary shall establish a process to review and approve or disapprove an inward- or outward-facing image recording device for compliance with the standards described in subsection (b).

(d) Uses.—A railroad carrier subject to the requirements of subsection (a) that has installed an inward- or outward-facing image recording device approved under subsection (c) may use recordings from that inward- or outward-facing image recording device for the following purposes:

(1) Verifying that train crew actions are in accordance with applicable safety laws and the railroad carrier's operating rules and procedures, including a system-wide program for such verification.

(2) Assisting in an investigation into the causation of a reportable accident or incident.

(3) Documenting a criminal act or monitoring unauthorized occupancy of the controlling locomotive cab or car operating compartment.

(4) Other purposes that the Secretary considers appropriate.


(e) Discretion.—

(1) In general.—The Secretary may—

(A) require in-cab audio recording devices for the purposes described in subsection (d); and

(B) define in appropriate technical detail the essential features of the devices required under subparagraph (A).


(2) Exemptions.—The Secretary may exempt any railroad carrier subject to the requirements of subsection (a) or any part of the carrier's operations from the requirements under subsection (a) if the Secretary determines that the carrier has implemented an alternative technology or practice that provides an equivalent or greater safety benefit or that is better suited to the risks of the operation.


(f) Tampering.—A railroad carrier subject to the requirements of subsection (a) may take appropriate enforcement or administrative action against any employee that tampers with or disables an audio or inward- or outward-facing image recording device installed by the railroad carrier.

(g) Preservation of Data.—Each railroad carrier subject to the requirements of subsection (a) shall preserve recording device data for 1 year after the date of a reportable accident or incident.

(h) Information Protections.—The Secretary may not disclose publicly any part of an in-cab audio or image recording or transcript of oral communications by or among train employees or other operating employees responsible for the movement and direction of the train, or between such operating employees and company communication centers, related to an accident or incident investigated by the Secretary. The Secretary may make public any part of a transcript or any written depiction of visual information that the Secretary determines is relevant to the accident at the time a majority of the other factual reports on the accident or incident are released to the public.

(i) Prohibited Use.—An in-cab audio or image recording obtained by a railroad carrier under this section may not be used to retaliate against an employee.

(j) Savings Clause.—Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring a railroad carrier to cease or restrict operations upon a technical failure of an inward- or outward-facing image recording device or in-cab audio device. Such railroad carrier shall repair or replace the failed inward- or outward-facing image recording device as soon as practicable.

(Added Pub. L. 114–94, div. A, title XI, §11411(a), Dec. 4, 2015, 129 Stat. 1686.)

References in Text

The date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, referred to in subsec. (a), is the date of enactment of title XI of div. A of Pub. L. 114–94, which was approved Dec. 4, 2015.

Effective Date

Section effective Oct. 1, 2015, see section 1003 of Pub. L. 114–94, set out as an Effective Date of 2015 Amendment note under section 5313 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.