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2007

Railroad Safety—Criminal Penalty Provisions

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act provides that any person who is determined to have knowingly violated any provision of the Act or any regulation issued thereunder, may be subject to a civil penalty of at least $250 but not more than $25,000 for each violation. See 49 U.S.C. §  5123(a) (formerly 49 U.S.C. § 1809). A willful violation of a provision of the Act or a regulation issued thereunder is a criminal offense under 49 U.S.C §  5124 punishable by a fine as provided for in Title 18, U.S.C., imprisonment for a term not to exceed five years, or both. The substitution of the word "willfully" in 49 U.S.C. § 5104 (formerly 49 U.S.C. § 1809(b)), dealing with criminal penalty, implies that Congress intended that the mens rea required before a criminal penalty can be imposed be greater than that for the civil penalty. See United States v. Allied Chemical Corp., 431 F. Supp. 361 (W.D.N.Y. 1977).

The Accident Reports Act makes it a misdemeanor for a railroad to fail to submit the required report of an accident within the time provided.

[cited in USAM 9-76.310]