49 U.S.C. § 5121 - Administrative

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 5121
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-193 (10/30/2020)
 
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(a) GENERAL AUTHORITY.-To carry out this chapter, the Secretary may investigate, conduct tests, make reports, issue subpenas, conduct hearings, require the production of records and property, take depositions, and conduct research, development, demonstration, and training activities. Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary may issue an order requiring compliance with this chapter or a regulation prescribed, or an order, special permit, or approval issued, under this chapter.

(b) RECORDS, REPORTS, AND INFORMATION.-A person subject to this chapter shall-

(1) maintain records and property, make reports, and provide information the Secretary by regulation or order requires; and

(2) make the records, property, reports, and information available for inspection when the Secretary undertakes an investigation or makes a request.

(c) INSPECTIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-A designated officer, employee, or agent of the Secretary-

(A) may inspect and investigate, at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner, records and property relating to a function described in section 5103(b)(1);

(B) except in the case of packaging immediately adjacent to its hazardous material contents, may gain access to, open, and examine a package offered for, or in, transportation when the officer, employee, or agent has an objectively reasonable and articulable belief that the package may contain a hazardous material;

(C) may remove from transportation a package or related packages in a shipment offered for or in transportation for which-

(i) such officer, employee, or agent has an objectively reasonable and articulable belief that the package may pose an imminent hazard; and

(ii) such officer, employee, or agent contemporaneously documents such belief in accordance with procedures set forth in guidance or regulations prescribed under subsection (e);

(D) may gather information from the offeror, carrier, packaging manufacturer or tester, or other person responsible for the package, to ascertain the nature and hazards of the contents of the package;

(E) as necessary, under terms and conditions specified by the Secretary, may order the offeror, carrier, packaging manufacturer or tester, or other person responsible for the package to have the package transported to, opened, and the contents examined and analyzed, at a facility appropriate for the conduct of such examination and analysis;

(F) when safety might otherwise be compromised, may authorize properly qualified personnel to assist in the activities conducted under this subsection; and

(G) shall provide to the affected offeror, carrier, packaging manufacturer or tester, or other person responsible for the package reasonable notice of-

(i) his or her decision to exercise his or her authority under paragraph (1);

(ii) any findings made; and

(iii) any actions being taken as a result of a finding of noncompliance.

(2) DISPLAY OF CREDENTIALS.-An officer, employee, or agent acting under this subsection shall display proper credentials, in person or in writing, when requested.

(3) SAFE RESUMPTION OF TRANSPORTATION.-In instances when, as a result of an inspection or investigation under this subsection, an imminent hazard is not found to exist, the Secretary, in accordance with procedures set forth in regulations prescribed under subsection (e), shall assist-

(A) in the safe and prompt resumption of transportation of the package concerned; or

(B) in any case in which the hazardous material being transported is perishable, in the safe and expeditious resumption of transportation of the perishable hazardous material.

(d) EMERGENCY ORDERS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-If, upon inspection, investigation, testing, or research, the Secretary determines that a violation of a provision of this chapter, or a regulation prescribed under this chapter, or an unsafe condition or practice, constitutes or is causing an imminent hazard, the Secretary may issue or impose emergency restrictions, prohibitions, recalls, or out-of-service orders, without notice or an opportunity for a hearing, but only to the extent necessary to abate the imminent hazard.

(2) WRITTEN ORDERS.-The action of the Secretary under paragraph (1) shall be in a written emergency order that-

(A) describes the violation, condition, or practice that constitutes or is causing the imminent hazard;

(B) states the restrictions, prohibitions, recalls, or out-of-service orders issued or imposed; and

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