49 CFR § 212.101 - Program principles.
(a) The purpose of the national railroad safety program is to promote safety in all areas of railroad operations in order to reduce deaths, injuries and damage to property resulting from railroad accidents.
(1) The national railroad safety program is carried out in part through the issuance of mandatory Federal safety requirements and through inspection efforts designed to monitor compliance with those requirements. FRA and State inspections determine the extent to which the railroads, shippers, and manufacturers have fulfilled their obligations with respect to inspection, maintenance, training, and supervision. The FRA and participating States do not conduct inspections of track, equipment, signal systems, operating practices, and hazardous materials handling for the railroads, shippers, and manufacturers.
(2) The national railroad safety program is also carried out through routine inspections, accident investigations, formal and informal educational efforts, complaint investigations, safety assessments, special inquiries, regulatory development, research and similar initiatives.
(c) It is the policy of the FRA to maintain direct oversight of railroad, shipper, and manufacturer conditions and practices relevant to safety by conducting inspections and investigations in concert with participating State agencies.
(d) The principal role of the State Safety Participation Program in the national railroad safety effort is to provide an enhanced investigative and surveillance capability through assumption, by participating State agencies, of responsibility for planned routine compliance inspections. The FRA encourages further State contributions to the national railroad safety program consistent with overall program needs, individual State capabilities, and the willingness of the States to undertake additional investigative and surveillance activities.
(e) It is the policy of the FRA to promote the growth and vitality of the State Safety Participation Program through liaison with State government, coordination of Federal and State investigative and surveillance activities, and training of inspection personnel.