(a) General.— This chapter does not apply to a situation involving any of the following:
(2)an unavoidable accident.
(3)an act of God.
(4)a delay resulting from a cause unknown and unforeseeable to a railroad carrier or its officer or agent in charge of the employee when the employee left a terminal.
(b) Exemption.— The Secretary of Transportation may exempt a railroad carrier having not more than 15 employees covered by this chapter from the limitations imposed by this chapter. The Secretary may allow the exemption after a full hearing, for good cause shown, and on deciding that the exemption is in the public interest and will not affect safety adversely. The exemption shall be for a specific period of time and is subject to review at least annually. The exemption may not authorize a carrier to require or allow its employees to be on duty more than a total of 16 hours in a 24-hour period.
(c) Application of Hours of Service Regime to Commuter and Intercity Passenger Railroad Train Employees.—
(1)When providing commuter rail passenger transportation or intercity rail passenger transportation, the limitations on duty hours for train employees of railroad carriers, including public authorities operating passenger service, shall be solely governed by old section
21103 until the earlier of—
(A)the effective date of regulations prescribed by the Secretary under section
21109(b) of this chapter; or
(B)the date that is 3 years following the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
(2)After the date on which old section
21103 ceases to apply, pursuant to paragraph (1), to the limitations on duty hours for train employees of railroad carriers with respect to the provision of commuter rail passenger transportation or intercity rail passenger transportation, the limitations on duty hours for train employees of such railroad carriers shall be governed by new section
21103, except as provided in paragraph (3).
(3)After the effective date of the regulations prescribed by the Secretary under section
21109(b) of this title, such carriers shall—
(A)comply with the limitations on duty hours for train employees with respect to the provision of commuter rail passenger transportation or intercity rail passenger transportation as prescribed by such regulations; and
(B)be exempt from complying with the provisions of old section
21103 and new section
21103 for such employees.
(4)In this subsection:
(A)The terms “commuter rail passenger transportation” and “intercity rail passenger transportation” have the meaning given those terms in section
24102 of this title.
(C) The term “new section
21103” means section
21103 of this chapter as amended by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
(D)The term “old section
21103” means section
21103 of this chapter as it was in effect on the day before the enactment of that Act.
 So in original. No subpar. (B) has been enacted.
In subsection (b), the words “with respect to one or more of its employees” are omitted as surplus because the authority to exempt a railroad carrier includes the authority to exempt only some of the employees of the carrier. The words “carrier to require or allow its employees to be on duty” are substituted for “any railroad described in this section to work its employees” for clarity and consistency in this chapter.
References in Text
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, referred to in subsec. (c)(1)(B), (4)(C), (D), is div. A of Pub. L. 110–432, Oct. 16, 2008, 122 Stat. 4848. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 2008 Amendment note set out under section
20101 of this title and Tables.
2008—Pub. L. 110–432, § 108(d)(1)(A), substituted “Nonapplication, exemption, and alternate hours of service regime” for “Nonapplication and exemption” in section catchline.
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