49 U.S.C. § 521 - Civil penalties

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 521
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-65 (10/09/2019)
 
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(a)

(1) A person required under section 504 of this title to make, prepare, preserve, or submit to the Secretary of Transportation a record about rail carrier transportation, that does not make, prepare, preserve, or submit that record as required under that section, is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of $500 for each violation.

(2) A rail carrier, and a lessor, receiver, or trustee of that carrier, violating section 504(c)(1) of this title, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.

(3) A rail carrier, a lessor, receiver, or trustee of that carrier, a person furnishing cars or protective service against heat or cold, and an officer, agent, or employee of one of them, required to make a report to the Secretary or answer a question, that does not make a report to the Secretary or does not specifically, completely, and truthfully answer the question, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.

(4) A separate violation occurs for each day a violation under this subsection continues.

(5) Trial in a civil action under this subsection is in the judicial district in which the rail carrier has its principal operating office or in a district through which the railroad of the rail carrier runs.

(b) VIOLATIONS RELATING TO COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY REGULATION AND OPERATORS.-

(1) NOTICE.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-If the Secretary finds that a violation of a provision of subchapter III of chapter 311 (except sections 31138 and 31139) or section 31302, 31303, 31304, 31305(b), 31310(g)(1)(A),1 or 31502 of this title, or a violation of a regulation issued under any of those provisions, has occurred, the Secretary shall issue a written notice to the violator. Such notice shall describe with reasonable particularity the nature of the violation found and the provision which has been violated. The notice shall specify the proposed civil penalty, if any, and suggest actions which might be taken in order to abate the violation. The notice shall indicate that the violator may, within 15 days of service, notify the Secretary of the violator's intention to contest the matter. In the event of a contested notice, the Secretary shall afford such violator an opportunity for a hearing, pursuant to section 554 of title 5, following which the Secretary shall issue an order affirming, modifying, or vacating the notice of violation.

(B) NONAPPLICABILITY TO REPORTING AND RECORDKEEPING VIOLATIONS.-Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to reporting and recordkeeping violations.

(2) CIVIL PENALTY.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, any person who is determined by the Secretary, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, to have committed an act that is a violation of regulations issued by the Secretary under subchapter III of chapter 311 (except sections 31138 and 31139) or section 31502 of this title shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each offense. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section (except subparagraph (C)), no civil penalty shall be assessed under this section against an employee for a violation in an amount exceeding $2,500.

(B) RECORDKEEPING AND REPORTING VIOLATIONS.-A person required to make a report to the Secretary, answer a question, or make, prepare, or preserve a record under section 504 of this title or under any regulation issued by the Secretary pursuant to subchapter III of chapter 311 (except sections 31138 and 31139) or section 31502 of this title about transportation by motor carrier, motor carrier of migrant workers, or motor private carrier, or an officer, agent, or employee of that person-

(i) who does not make that report, does not specifically, completely, and truthfully answer that question in 30 days from the date the Secretary requires the question to be answered, or does not make, prepare, or preserve that record in the form and manner prescribed by the Secretary, shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each offense, and each day of the violation shall constitute a separate offense, except that the total of all civil penalties assessed against any violator for all offenses related to any single violation shall not exceed $10,000; or

(ii) who knowingly falsifies, destroys, mutilates, or changes a required report or record, knowingly files a false report with the Secretary, knowingly makes or causes or permits to be made a false or incomplete entry in that record about an operation or business fact or transaction, or knowingly makes, prepares, or preserves a record in violation of a regulation or order of the Secretary, shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each violation, if any such action can be shown to have misrepresented a fact that constitutes a violation other than a reporting or recordkeeping violation.

(C) VIOLATIONS PERTAINING TO CDLS.-Any person who is determined by the Secretary, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, to have committed an act which is a violation of section 31302, 31303, 31304, 31305(b),or 31310(g)(1)(A) of this title shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 for each offense.

(D) DETERMINATION OF AMOUNT.-The amount of any civil penalty, and a reasonable time for abatement of the violation, shall by written order be determined by the Secretary, taking into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, history of prior offenses, effect on ability to continue to do business, and such other matters as justice and public safety may require. In each case, the assessment shall be calculated to induce further compliance.

(E)

(i) COPYING OF RECORDS AND ACCESS TO EQUIPMENT, LANDS, AND BUILDINGS.-A person subject to chapter 51 or a motor carrier, broker, freight forwarder, or owner or operator of a commercial motor vehicle subject to part B of subtitle VI who fails to allow promptly, upon demand, the Secretary (or an employee designated by the Secretary) to inspect and copy any record or inspect and examine equipment, lands, buildings and other property in accordance with sections 504(c), 5121(c), and 14122(b) shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each offense. Each day the Secretary is denied the right to inspect and copy any record or inspect and examine equipment, lands, buildings and other property shall constitute a separate offense, except that the total of all civil penalties against any violator for all offenses related to a single violation shall not exceed $10,000. In the case of a motor carrier, the Secretary may also place the violator's motor carrier operations out of service. It shall be a defense to a penalty that the records did not exist at the time of the Secretary's request or could not be timely produced without unreasonable expense or effort. Nothing in this subparagraph amends or supersedes any remedy available to the Secretary under section 502(d), section 507(c), or any other provision of this title.

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