[Federal Register: March 13, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 49)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
49 CFR Part 386
AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This document specifies the civil penalties for violating the
FHWA regulations, as adjusted for inflation in accordance with the
Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by
the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The inflation adjustments
are reflected in this rulemaking. Technical amendments to the
regulation are required by the statute which mandates that all civil
penalties within the jurisdiction of a Federal agency be adjusted for
inflation by regulation.
DATES: The effective date is March 13, 1998.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles E. Medalen, Office of the
Chief Counsel, FHWA, telephone (202) 366-1354; or David M. Lehrman,
Office of Motor Carrier Research and Standards, Federal Highway
Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590; (202)
366-0994, Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem
and suitable communications software from the Federal Register
Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet users may
reach the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.nara.gov/nara/
fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at: http://
The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996
In order to preserve the remedial impact of civil penalties and
foster compliance with the law, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation
Adjustment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890), as amended by
the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (the Act) (Pub. L.104-134,
110 Stat. 1321-358, -373), requires Federal agencies to regularly
adjust certain civil penalties for inflation. As amended, the law
requires each agency to make an initial inflationary adjustment for all
applicable civil penalties, and to make further adjustments at least
once every four years of these penalty amounts.
The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 further stipulates that
any resulting increases in a civil penalty due to the calculated
inflation adjustments: (i) Should apply only to violations that occur
after October 23, 1996, the Act's effective date; and (ii) should not
exceed 10 percent of the penalty indicated in authorizing legislation.
Method of Calculation
Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990,
as amended, the inflation adjustment for each applicable civil penalty
is determined by increasing the maximum civil penalty amount per
violation by the cost-of-living-adjustment. The ``cost-of-living''
adjustment is defined as the amount by which the Consumer Price Index
(CPI) for the month of June of the calendar year preceding the
adjustment exceeds the CPI for the month of June of the year in which
the amount of such civil penalty was last set or adjusted pursuant to
law. Any calculated increase under this adjustment is subject to a
specific rounding formula set forth in the Debt Collection Improvement
Act of 1996.
For example, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5123, the FHWA may assess a fine
for violation of the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)(49
CFR 171-180). The driver, motor carrier, or shipper who violates the
HMR is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more
than $25,000 for each violation.
This penalty was last set in 1990. The Consumer Price Index was
156.7 in June 1996, and was approximately 130 in June of 1990. Thus the
inflation factor is 156.7/130 or 1.21. The maximum penalty amount after
the increase and statutory rounding would thus be the result of
multiplying $25,000 x 1.21 = $30,250. However, after applying the 10
percent limit on an initial increase, the new maximum penalty amount
per violation is $25,000 plus $2,500 (i.e., 10 percent of the previous
fine), or $27,500. Therefore, increasing penalty provisions will be
limited to 10 percent.
This final rule will be the first publication by regulation of the
new penalty structure adjusted for inflation. In the past, Appendix A
to part 386 was the sole regulatory source for a penalty schedule.
Appendix A is now adjusted for inflation. A new Appendix B, which
addresses violations not included in Appendix A, is added with
violations and maximum monetary penalties adjusted for inflation.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
Because these inflation adjustments are statutorily mandated, the
FHWA finds that prior notice and opportunity for comment are
unnecessary under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)). The law requires that Federal
agencies adjust certain civil penalties for inflation and make further
adjustments at least once every four years. We consider these
adjustments to be ministerial acts in compliance with the statute over
which agencies have no discretion.
For these reasons, the FHWA has also determined that prior notice
and opportunity for comment are not required under the Department of
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures, as we anticipate
that such action would not result in the receipt of useful information.
Thus, the FHWA is proceeding directly to a final rule and waives the
30-day delay effective date because this action does not require
carriers to take any action. This rule merely provides notice required
by law of an inflation adjustment to maximum penalties.
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT
Regulatory Policies and Procedures
The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or
significant within the meaning of the Department of Transportation's
regulatory policies and procedures. This final rule sets forth
inflationary adjustments that are ministerial acts in compliance with
the statute over which agencies have no discretion. We believe that
this rule will not result in a major increase in costs or prices for
State or local governments. The law is simply designed to preserve the
remedial impact of civil penalties. Consequently, it is anticipated
that the economic impact of this final rule will be minimal because it
will not substantially change the applicable civil penalty amount. This
regulatory action will merely make inflation adjustments for all
applicable civil penalties as required by law.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this rule on small
entities. The ministerial adjustments for inflation published in this
rule do not interfere with implementation of the Small Business
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) (Pub. L. 104-121,
Title II, 110 Stat. 857) which requires penalties for small businesses
to be reviewed in a manner designed to provide for waiver and/or
reduction of civil penalties under appropriate circumstances. The FHWA
certifies that this action will not have a significant economic impact
on a substantial number of small entities.
Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)
This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612 and it has been determined
this action does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant
the preparation of a federalism assessment.
Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.217, Motor
Carrier Safety. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372
regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and
activities do not apply to this program.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This action does not contain information collection requirements
for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-
National Environmental Policy Act
The agency has analyzed this action for the purposes of the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321
et seq.) and has determined that this action will not have any effect
on the quality of the environment.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
This rule does not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4).
Regulation Identification Number
A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations.
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the
List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 386
Administrative practice and procedure, Highway safety, Motor
carriers, Motor vehicle safety, Penalties.
Issued on: March 5, 1998.
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA amends title 49, Code
of Federal Regulations, Chapter III, part 386 as set forth below:
PART 386--RULES OF PRACTICE FOR MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY AND HAZARDOUS
1. The authority citation is revised to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 104(c)(2), 501 et seq., Chapter 51, 31131-
31133, 31135-31139, 31142-31147, Chapter 313, 31501 et seq., Pub. L.
104-34, title III, chapter 10, Sec. 31001, par. (s), 110 Stat. 1321-
373, and 49 CFR 1.45 and 1.48.
Appendix A to Part 386--[Amended]
2. Appendix A to part 386 is amended by revising the figure
``$500'' to read as ``$550'', the figure ``$1,000'' to read as
``$1,100'', and the figure ``$10,000'' to read as ``$11,000'' whenever
they appear throughout the appendix.
Appendix B to Part 386--[Added]
3. Part 386 is amended by adding appendix B to read as follows:
Appendix B to Part 386--Penalty Schedule; Violations and Maximum
The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 [Public Law 104-134,
title III, chapter 10, Sec. 31001, par. (s), 110 Stat. 1321-373]
amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990
to require agencies to adjust for inflation ``each civil monetary
penalty provided by law within the jurisdiction of the Federal
agency * * *'' and to publish that regulation in the Federal
Register. Pursuant to that authority, the inflation-adjusted civil
penalties listed below
supersede the corresponding civil penalty amounts listed in title
49, United States Code.
What are the types of violations and maximum monetary penalties?
(a) Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(1) Recordkeeping. A person or entity that fails to prepare or
maintain a record required by Parts 385 and 390-399 of this
subchapter, or prepares or maintains a required record that is
incomplete, inaccurate, or false, is subject to a maximum civil
penalty of $550 for each day the violation continues, up to $2,750.
(2) Serious Pattern of safety violations. These violations of
Parts 385 and 390-399 of this subchapter constitute a middle range
of violations. They do not include noncompliance with recordkeeping
requirements, while substantial health or safety violations are
subject to heavier civil penalties. Serious patterns of safety
violations are subject to a maximum civil penalty of $1,100 for each
violation in a pattern, up to a maximum of $11,000 for each pattern.
(3) Substantial Health or Safety Violations. These are
violations of Parts 385 and 390-399 of this subchapter which could
reasonably lead to, or have resulted in, serious personal injury or
death. Substantial health or safety violations are subject to a
maximum civil penalty of $11,000, provided the driver's actions
constituted gross negligence or reckless disregard for safety.
(4) Non-recordkeeping violations by drivers. A driver who
violates Parts 385 or 390-399 of this subchapter, except a
recordkeeping requirement, is subject to a civil penalty not to
exceed $1,100, provided the driver's actions constituted gross
negligence or reckless disregard for safety.
(5) Violation of 49 CFR 392.5. A driver placed out of service
for 24 hours for violating the alcohol prohibitions of 49 CFR
392.5(a) or (b) who drives during that period is subject to a civil
penalty not to exceed $2,750 for each violation.
(b) Commercial driver's license (CDL) violations. Any person who
violates 49 CFR Subparts B, C, E, F, G, or H is subject to a civil
penalty of $2,750.
(c) Special penalties pertaining to violations of out-of-service
orders by CDL-holders. A CDL-holder who is convicted of violating an
out-of-service order shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less
than $1,100 nor more than $2,750. An employer of a CDL-holder who
knowingly allows, requires, permits, or authorizes that employee to
operate a CMV during any period in which the CDL-holder is subject
to an out-of-service order, is subject to a civil penalty of not
less than $2,750 or more than $11,000.
(d) Financial responsibility violations. A motor carrier that
fails to maintain the levels of financial responsibility prescribed
by Part 387 of this subchapter is subject to a maximum penalty of
$11,000 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation
constitutes a separate offense.
(e) Violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs).
This paragraph applies to violations by motor carriers, drivers,
shippers and other persons who transport hazardous materials on the
highway in commercial motor vehicles or cause hazardous materials to
be so transported.
(1) All knowing violations of 49 U.S.C. chapter 51 or orders or
regulations issued under the authority of that chapter applicable to
the transportation or shipment of hazardous materials by commercial
motor vehicle on highways are subject to a civil penalty of not less
than $250 and not more than $27,500 for each violation. Each day of
a continuing violation constitutes a separate offense.
(2) All knowing violations of 49 U.S.C. chapter 51 or orders,
regulations, or exemptions issued under the authority of that
chapter applicable to the manufacture, fabrication, marking,
maintenance, reconditioning, repair or testing of a packaging or
container which is represented, marked, certified or sold as being
qualified for use in the transportation or shipment of hazardous
materials by commercial motor vehicle on highways, are subject to a
civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $27,500 for
(3) Whenever regulations issued under the authority of 49 U.S.C.
chapter 51 require compliance with the FMCSRs while transporting
hazardous materials, any violations of the FMCSRs will be considered
a violation of the HMRs and subject to a civil penalty of not less
than $250 and not more than $27,500.
(f) Operating with an unsatisfactory safety rating. A motor
carrier knowingly transporting hazardous materials in quantities
requiring placarding, or passengers in a vehicle designed or used to
transport more than 15 passengers, on the 46th or any subsequent day
after receiving an unsatisfactory safety rating, is subject to a
civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $27,500. Each
day the transportation of hazardous materials continues constitutes
a separate violation.
[FR Doc. 98-6523 Filed 3-12-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P