49 U.S. Code § 20133. Passenger cars

(a) Minimum Standards.—The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations establishing minimum standards for the safety of cars used by railroad carriers to transport passengers. Before prescribing such regulations, the Secretary shall consider—
the crashworthiness of the cars;
interior features (including luggage restraints, seat belts, and exposed surfaces) that may affect passenger safety;
maintenance and inspection of the cars;
emergency response procedures and equipment; and
any operating rules and conditions that directly affect safety not otherwise governed by regulations.
The Secretary may make applicable some or all of the standards established under this subsection to cars existing at the time the regulations are prescribed, as well as to new cars, and the Secretary shall explain in the rulemaking document the basis for making such standards applicable to existing cars.
(b) Initial and Final Regulations.—
The Secretary shall prescribe initial regulations under subsection (a) within 3 years after November 2, 1994. The initial regulations may exempt equipment used by tourist, historic, scenic, and excursion railroad carriers to transport passengers.
The Secretary shall prescribe final regulations under subsection (a) within 5 years after November 2, 1994.
(c) Personnel.—
The Secretary may establish within the Department of Transportation 2 additional full-time equivalent positions beyond the number permitted under existing law to assist with the drafting, prescribing, and implementation of regulations under this section.
(d) Consultation.—
In prescribing regulations, issuing orders, and making amendments under this section, the Secretary may consult with Amtrak, public authorities operating railroad passenger service, other railroad carriers transporting passengers, organizations of passengers, and organizations of employees. A consultation is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), but minutes of the consultation shall be placed in the public docket of the regulatory proceeding.

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


45:431(h)(1)(A) (1st, last sentences), (B), (4).

Oct. 16, 1970, Pub. L. 91–458, 84 Stat. 971, § 202(h); added Oct. 10, 1980, Pub. L. 96–423, § 14, 94 Stat. 1817; Jan. 14, 1983, Pub. L. 97–468, § 702(a), 96 Stat. 2579.


45:431(h)(1)(A) (2d, 3d sentences), (2).



In subsection (a), the words “within one year after January 14, 1983” and “initial” are omitted as obsolete. The text of 45:431(h)(1)(B) is omitted as executed. The words “after a hearing in accordance with subsection (b) of this section” are omitted as surplus because of section 20103(e) of the revised title.

In subsections (b) and (c), the word “subsequent” is omitted as surplus.

In subsection (c), the word “Amtrak” is substituted for “National Railroad Passenger Corporation” for consistency in this subtitle. The word “regulatory” is substituted for “rulemaking” for consistency in the revised title.

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (d), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.


1996—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(47)(A), substituted “November 2, 1994” for “the date of enactment of the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994”.

Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(47)(B), substituted “November 2, 1994” for “such date of enactment”.

1994—Pub. L. 103–440 amended section generally, substituting present provisions for provisions requiring the Secretary to take administrative action to ensure that the construction, operation, and maintenance of passenger rail equipment maximize the safety of passengers, and providing for areas of consideration and concentration, as well as consultation with Amtrak.