< Back to H.R. 4714 (111th Congress, 2009–2010)

Text of the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2010

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on September 28, 2010 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Sep 29, 2010 (Referred to Senate Committee).

Source: GPO

IIB

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4714

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 29, 2010

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

AN ACT

To amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the National Transportation Safety Board for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2010.

(b)

Table of contents

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Amendments to title 49, United States Code.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. General organization.

Sec. 5. Administrative.

Sec. 6. Disclosure, availability, and use of information.

Sec. 7. Training.

Sec. 8. Reports and studies.

Sec. 9. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 10. Accident investigation authority.

Sec. 11. Marine casualty investigations.

Sec. 12. Inspections and autopsies.

Sec. 13. Discovery and use of cockpit and surface vehicle recordings and transcripts.

Sec. 14. Family assistance.

Sec. 15. Notification of marine casualties.

Sec. 16. Use of board name, logo, initials, and seal.

2.

Amendments to title 49, United States Code

Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision of law, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 49, United States Code.

3.

Definitions

Section 1101 is amended to read as follows:

1101.

Definitions

(a)

Accident defined

In this chapter, the term accident

(1)

means an event associated with the operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or pipeline, which results in damage to or destruction of the vehicle, aircraft, or pipeline, or which results in the death of or serious injury to any person, regardless of whether the initiating event is accidental or otherwise; and

(2)

may include an incident that does not involve destruction or damage of a vehicle, aircraft, or pipeline, but affects transportation safety, as the Board prescribes by regulation.

(b)

Applicability of definitions in other laws

The definitions contained in section 2101(17a) of title 46 and section 40102(a) of this title apply to this chapter.

.

4.

General organization

The last sentence of section 1111(d) is amended by striking absent and inserting unavailable.

5.

Administrative

(a)

General authority

Section 1113(a) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by inserting and depositions after hearings; and

(B)

by striking subpena and inserting subpoena; and

(2)

in paragraph (2) by inserting before the first sentence the following: In the interest of promoting transportation safety, the Board shall have the authority by subpoena to summon witnesses and obtain evidence relevant to an accident investigation conducted under this chapter..

(b)

Additional powers

(1)

Authority of Board to enter into contracts and other agreements with nonprofit entities

Section 1113(b)(1)(H) is amended by inserting and other agreements after contracts.

(2)

Authority of Board to enter into and perform contracts, agreements, leases, or other transactions

Section 1113(b) is amended—

(A)

by striking paragraph (1)(I) and inserting the following:

(I)

negotiate, enter into, and perform contracts, agreements, leases, or other transactions with individuals, private entities, departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government, State and local governments, and governments of foreign countries on such terms and conditions as the Chairman of the Board considers appropriate to carry out the functions of the Board and require that such entities provide appropriate consideration for the reasonable costs of any facilities, goods, services, or training provided by the Board.

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Lease limitation

The authority of the Board to enter into leases shall be limited to the provision of special use space related to an accident investigation, or for general use space, at an average annual rental cost of not more than $300,000 for any individual property.

.

(3)

Authority of other Federal agencies

Section 1113(b)(2) is amended to read as follows:

(2)

Authority of other Federal agencies

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the head of a Federal department, agency, or instrumentality may transfer to or receive from the Board, with or without reimbursement, supplies, personnel, services, and equipment (other than administrative supplies and equipment).

.

(c)

Criteria on public hearings

(1)

In general

Section 1113 is amended by adding at the end the following:

(i)

Public hearings

(1)

Development of criteria

The Board shall establish by regulation criteria to be used by the Board in determining, for each accident investigation and safety study undertaken by the Board, whether or not the Board will hold a public hearing on the investigation or study.

(2)

Factors

In developing the criteria, the Board shall give priority consideration to the following factors:

(A)

Whether the accident has caused significant loss of life.

(B)

Whether the accident has caused significant property damage.

(C)

Whether the accident may involve a national transportation safety issue.

(D)

Whether a public hearing may provide needed information to the Board.

(E)

Whether a public hearing may offer an opportunity to educate the public on a safety issue.

(F)

Whether a public hearing may increase both the transparency of the Board’s investigative process and public confidence that such process is comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased.

(G)

Whether a public hearing is likely to significantly delay the conclusion of an investigation and whether the possible adverse effects of the delay on safety outweigh the benefits of a public hearing.

.

(2)

Annual report

Section 1117 is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (5);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (6) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(7)

an analysis of the Board’s implementation of the criteria established pursuant to section 1113(i) during the prior calendar year, including an explanation of any instance in which the Board did not hold a public hearing for an investigation of an accident that has caused significant loss of life or property damage or that may involve a national transportation safety issue.

.

(d)

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

Section 1113 is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(j)

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

(1)

Authority to provide insurance

The Board may procure accidental death and dismemberment insurance for an employee of the Board who travels for an accident investigation or other activity of the Board outside the United States or inside the United States under hazardous circumstances, as defined by the Board.

(2)

Crediting of insurance benefits to offset United States tort liability

Any amounts paid to a person under insurance coverage procured under this subsection shall be credited as offsetting any liability of the United States to pay damages to that person under section 1346(b) of title 28, chapter 171 of title 28, chapter 163 of title 10, or any other provision of law authorizing recovery based upon tort liability of the United States in connection with the injury or death resulting in the insurance payment.

(3)

Treatment of insurance benefits

Any amounts paid under insurance coverage procured under this subsection shall not—

(A)

be considered additional pay or allowances for purposes of section 5536 of title 5; or

(B)

offset any benefits an employee may have as a result of government service, including compensation under chapter 81 of title 5.

(4)

Entitlement to other insurance

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as affecting the entitlement of an employee to insurance under section 8704(b) of title 5.

.

6.

Disclosure, availability, and use of information

(a)

Trade secrets, commercial information, and financial information

Section 1114(b) is amended—

(1)

by striking the subsection heading and inserting the following: Trade secrets, commercial information, and financial information;

(2)

in paragraph (1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A)—

(A)

by inserting ‘‘submitted to the Board in the course of a Board investigation or study and’’ after ‘‘information’’; and

(B)

by inserting ‘‘, or commercial or financial information if the information would otherwise be withheld under section 552(b)(4) of title 5,’’ after ‘‘title 18’’;

(3)

in paragraph (2) by striking ‘‘paragraph (1) of this subsection’’ and inserting ‘‘subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1)’’; and

(4)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Annotation of controlled information

Each person submitting to the Board trade secrets, commercial information, financial information, or information that could be classified as controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations shall appropriately annotate the information to indicate the restricted nature of the information in order to facilitate proper handling of such materials by the Board. In this paragraph, the term ‘International Traffic in Arms Regulations’ means those regulations contained in parts 120 through 130 of title 22, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations).

(5)

Disclosures to protect public health and safety

Disclosures of information under paragraph (1)(D) may include disclosures through accident investigation reports, safety studies, and safety recommendations.

.

(b)

Surface vehicle recordings and transcripts

The second sentence of section 1114(d)(1) is amended by striking ‘‘that’’ after ‘‘information’’.

(c)

Vessel recordings and transcripts

Section 1114 is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1) by striking and (f) and inserting (e), and (g);

(2)

in subsection (d)(1) by striking or vessel;

(3)

by redesignating subsections (e) and (f) as subsections (f) and (g), respectively; and

(4)

by inserting after subsection (d) the following:

(e)

Vessel recordings and transcripts

(1)

Confidentiality of recordings and transcripts

The Board may not disclose publicly any part of a vessel’s voice or video recorder recording or transcript of oral communications by or among the crew, pilots, or docking masters of a vessel, vessel traffic services, or other vessels, or between the vessel’s crew and company communication centers, related to a marine casualty investigated by the Board. However, the Board shall make public any part of a transcript or any written depiction of visual information the Board decides is relevant to the marine casualty—

(A)

if the Board holds a public hearing on the marine casualty, at the time of the hearing; or

(B)

if the Board does not hold a public hearing, at the time a majority of the other factual reports on the marine casualty are placed in the public docket.

(2)

References to information in making safety recommendations

This subsection does not prevent the Board from referring at any time to voice or video recorder information in making safety recommendations.

.

(d)

Foreign investigations

Section 1114(g) (as redesignated by subsection (c)(3) of this section) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(A) by striking ‘‘shall’’ and inserting ‘‘may’’; and

(2)

in paragraph (2) by inserting ‘‘, or other relevant information authorized for disclosure under this chapter,’’ after ‘‘information’’.

(e)

Party representatives to NTSB investigations

(1)

In general

Section 1114 is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(h)

Party representatives to NTSB investigations

(1)

Prohibition on disclosure of information

A party representative to an accident or marine casualty investigation of the Board is prohibited from disclosing, orally or in written form, investigative information, as defined by the Board, to anyone who is not an employee of the Board or who is not a party representative to such investigation, except—

(A)

as provided in paragraph (2); or

(B)

at the conclusion of the fact finding stage of an investigation, which the investigator-in-charge shall announce by formal posting of a notice in the publicly available investigation docket.

(2)

Exception

If the investigator-in-charge determines that a disclosure of information related to an accident or marine casualty investigation is necessary to prevent additional accidents or marine casualties, to address a perceived safety deficiency, or to assist in the conduct of the investigation, the investigator-in-charge may at any time authorize in writing a party representative to disclose such information under conditions approved by the investigator-in-charge. Such conditions shall ensure that, until the posting of a formal notice described in paragraph (1)(B), or until the information disclosed pursuant to this paragraph becomes publicly available by any other means, neither the entity represented by the party representative nor any other person may use such information in preparation for the prosecution of any claim or defense in litigation in connection with the accident or marine casualty being investigated or to make or deny any insurance claim in connection with such accident or marine casualty.

(3)

Compliance

The Board shall require any individual who is a party representative to an investigation of the Board to sign a party agreement that includes language informing the individual of the prohibition in paragraph (1).

(4)

Representatives of Federal agencies

Paragraph (3) shall not apply to an individual who is a representative of the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, or any other Federal department, agency, or instrumentality participating in the investigation and deemed by the Board to be performing a law enforcement or similar function.

(5)

Compliance with FAA statutory obligations

Nothing in this subsection prohibits the Federal Aviation Administration from fulfilling statutory obligations to ensure safe operations.

(6)

Party representative defined

In this subsection, the term party representative means an individual representing a party to an investigation pursuant to section 831.11 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on the date of enactment of this subsection.

.

(2)

Civil penalty

Section 1151 is amended—

(A)

in the section heading by striking Aviation enforcement and inserting Enforcement; and

(B)

by inserting 1114(h), before 1132, in each of subsections (a), (b)(1), and (c).

(3)

Conforming amendment

The analysis for chapter 11 is amended by striking the item relating to section 1151 and inserting the following:

1151. Enforcement.

.

(f)

GAO study of party process

(1)

In general

The Comptroller General shall conduct a study on the use of party representatives in investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.

(2)

Contents

In conducting the study, the Comptroller General shall examine, at a minimum—

(A)

whether the composition of the party representatives should be broadened to include on-going representatives from other entities that could provide independent, technically qualified representatives to a Board investigation;

(B)

whether the participation of party representatives in a Board investigation results in any unfair advantages for the entities represented by the party representatives while the Board is conducting the investigation;

(C)

whether the use of party representatives leads to bias in the outcome of a Board investigation; and

(D)

whether Board investigations would be compromised in any way absent the participation and expertise of party representatives.

(3)

Report to Congress

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the results of the study conducted under this subsection, including any recommendations for improvements in the Board’s use of the party representative process.

7.

Training

Section 1115(d) is amended—

(1)

by inserting theory and techniques and on transportation safety methods to advance Board safety recommendations before the period at the end of the first sentence;

(2)

by inserting or who influence the course of transportation safety through support or adoption of Board safety recommendations before the period at the end of the second sentence; and

(3)

by inserting under section 1118(c)(2) before the period at the end of the third sentence.

8.

Reports and studies

(a)

Studies and investigations

Section 1116(b) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1) by striking carry out and inserting conduct; and

(2)

by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

prescribe requirements for persons reporting accidents, as defined in section 1101(a), that may be investigated by the Board under this chapter;

.

(b)

Urgent safety recommendations and interim measures

Section 1116 is amended by adding at the end the following:

(c)

Urgent safety recommendations and interim measures

(1)

Limitation on statutory construction

Nothing in this section shall restrict the Board from—

(A)

making urgent safety recommendations, as identified by the Board during an ongoing safety investigation or study, to any department, agency, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, a State or local governmental authority, or a person concerned with transportation safety; or

(B)

recommending interim measures, as identified by the Board, to a department, agency, instrumentality, authority, or person described in subparagraph (A) to mitigate risks to transportation safety pending implementation of more comprehensive responses by the department, agency, instrumentality, authority, or person.

(2)

Inclusion in final accident reports

If the Board makes an urgent safety recommendation or recommends an interim measure before completing a relevant final accident report, if any, the urgent safety recommendation or interim measure shall also be reflected in the final accident report.

.

(c)

Evaluation and audit

Section 1138(a) is amended by striking conducted at least annually, but may be.

9.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

Section 1118(a) is amended to read as follows:

(a)

In general

There is authorized to be appropriated for the purposes of this chapter—

(1)

$107,583,000 for fiscal year 2011;

(2)

$115,347,000 for fiscal year 2012;

(3)

$122,187,000 for fiscal year 2013; and

(4)

$124,158,000 for fiscal year 2014.

Such sums shall remain available until expended.

.

(b)

Fees, refunds, reimbursements, and advances

Section 1118(c) is amended—

(1)

by striking the subsection heading and inserting the following: Fees, refunds, reimbursements, and advances;

(2)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking and reimbursements and inserting reimbursements, and advances; and

(B)

by striking services and inserting activities, services, and facilities;

(3)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) by striking or reimbursement and inserting reimbursement, or advance; and

(B)

in each of subparagraphs (A) and (B) by striking activities and all that follows before the semicolon and inserting activities, services, or facilities for which the fee, refund, reimbursement, or advance is associated;

(4)

by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4);

(5)

by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

(3)

Annual record of collections

The Board shall maintain an annual record of collections received under paragraph (2).

; and

(6)

in paragraph (4) (as redesignated by paragraph (4) of this subsection) by inserting or advance after fee.

10.

Accident investigation authority

(a)

In general

Section 1131(a)(1) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) by striking cause or probable cause and inserting causes or probable causes;

(2)

in subparagraph (C) by striking a fatality or substantial property damage” and inserting “a fatality (other than a fatality involving a trespasser) or substantial property damage;

(3)

in subparagraph (E) by striking and at the end;

(4)

in subparagraph (F) by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(5)

by adding at the end the following:

(G)

an accident in response to an international request and delegation under appropriate international conventions, coordinated through the Department of State and accepted by the Board.

.

(b)

Authorities of other agencies

The second sentence of section 1131(a)(3) is amended by inserting or relevant to after developed about.

(c)

Accidents not involving Government misfeasance or nonfeasance

Section 1131(c) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Authority of Board representative

In the case of a delegation of authority under paragraph (1), the Secretary, or a person designated by the Secretary, shall have the authority of the Board, on display of appropriate credentials and written notice of inspection authority, to enter property where the aircraft accident has occurred or wreckage from the accident is located and to gather evidence in support of a Board investigation, in accordance with rules the Board may prescribe.

.

(d)

Incident investigations

Section 1131 is amended by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Incident investigations

(1)

Memorandum of understanding

Not later than 90 days after the issuance of final regulations under section 1101(a)(2), the Chairman of the Board shall seek to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Secretary of Transportation and the head of each modal administration of the Department of Transportation that sets forth—

(A)

an understanding of the conditions under which the Board will conduct an incident investigation that involves the applicable mode of transportation; and

(B)

the roles and responsibilities of the parties to the memorandum when the Board is conducting an incident investigation.

(2)

Updates and renewals

Each memorandum of understanding required under paragraph (1) shall be updated and renewed not less than once every 5 years, unless parties to the memorandum agree that updating the memorandum is unnecessary.

(3)

Board Authority

Nothing in this paragraph negates the authority of the Board to investigate an incident.

(4)

Incident defined

In this subsection, the term incident means an incident described in regulations issued under section 1101(a)(2).

.

11.

Marine casualty investigations

(a)

In general

Chapter 11 is amended by inserting after section 1132 the following:

1132a.

Marine casualty investigations

(a)

Delegation of authority to Coast Guard

(1)

In general

In an investigation of a major marine casualty under section 1131(a)(1)(E), the Board, with the consent of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, may delegate to the Commandant of the Coast Guard full authority to obtain the facts of the casualty. In the case of such a delegation, the Commandant, acting through the Commandant’s on-scene representative, shall have the full authority of the Board.

(2)

Required training, experience, and qualifications

The Board may not make a delegation under paragraph (1) unless the Board determines that the Commandant’s on-scene representatives have sufficient training, experience, and qualifications in investigation, marine casualty reconstruction, evidence collection and preservation, human factors, and documentation to act in accordance with the best investigation practices of Federal and non-Federal entities.

(b)

Participation of Commandant in marine investigations

The Board shall provide for the participation of the Commandant of the Coast Guard in an investigation by the Board of a major marine casualty under section 1131(a)(1)(E) if such participation is necessary to carry out the duties and powers of the Commandant, except that the Commandant may not participate in establishing the probable cause of the marine casualty (other than as provided in section 1131(b)).

.

(b)

Conforming amendment

The analysis for chapter 11 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1132 the following:

1132a. Marine casualty investigations.

.

12.

Inspections and autopsies

(a)

Entry and inspection

Section 1134(a) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1)—

(1)

by striking officer or employee and inserting officer, employee, or Federal designee; and

(2)

by inserting in the conduct of any accident investigation or study after National Transportation Safety Board.

(b)

Inspection, testing, preservation, and moving of aircraft and parts

Section 1134(b) is amended to read as follows:

(b)

Inspection, testing, preservation, and moving of aircraft and parts

(1)

Inspection and testing

In investigating an aircraft accident under this chapter, the Board may—

(A)

inspect and test, to the extent necessary, any civil aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, or property on an aircraft involved in an accident in air commerce;

(B)

seize or otherwise obtain any recording device and recording pertinent to the accident; and

(C)

require specific information only available from the manufacturer to enable the Board to read and interpret any flight parameter or navigation storage device or media on board the aircraft involved in the accident.

(2)

Moving of aircraft and parts

Any civil aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, or property on an aircraft involved in an accident in air commerce shall be preserved, and may be moved, only as provided by regulations of the Board.

(3)

Trade secrets, commercial information, and financial information

The provisions of section 1114(b) shall apply to materials provided under paragraph (1)(C) and properly identified as trade secrets, commercial information, or financial information.

.

(c)

Avoiding unnecessary interference; preserving evidence

Section 1134(c) is amended to read as follows:

(c)

Avoiding unnecessary interference; preserving evidence

(1)

Inspection and testing

In carrying out subsection (a)(1), an officer or employee may—

(A)

examine or test any vehicle, vessel, rolling stock, track, or pipeline component;

(B)

seize or otherwise obtain any recording device and recording pertinent to the accident; and

(C)

require the production of specific information only available from the manufacturer to enable the Board to read and interpret any operational parameter or navigation storage device or media on board the vehicle, vessel, or rolling stock involved in the accident.

(2)

Trade secrets, commercial information, and financial information

The provisions of section 1114(b) shall apply to materials provided under paragraph (1)(C) and properly identified as trade secrets, commercial information, or financial information.

(3)

Conduct of examinations and tests

An examination or test under paragraph (1)(A) shall be conducted in a way that—

(A)

does not interfere unnecessarily with transportation services provided by the owner or operator of the vehicle, vessel, rolling stock, track, or pipeline component; and

(B)

to the maximum extent feasible, preserves evidence related to the accident, consistent with the needs of the investigation and with the cooperation of that owner or operator.

.

13.

Discovery and use of cockpit and surface vehicle recordings and transcripts

Section 1154(a)(1)(A) is amended by striking ; and and inserting ; or.

14.

Family assistance

(a)

Family assistance in commercial aviation accidents

Section 41113(b)(7) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: , and that at least 60 days before the planned destruction of any unclaimed possession of a passenger a reasonable attempt will be made to notify the family of the passenger.

(b)

Family assistance in commercial aviation accidents involving foreign carriers

Section 41313(c)(7) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: , and that at least 60 days before the planned destruction of any unclaimed possession of a passenger a reasonable attempt will be made to notify the family of the passenger.

15.

Notification of marine casualties

Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall jointly prescribe regulations to ensure the prompt notification and reporting of marine casualties by the Coast Guard to the Board.

16.

Use of board name, logo, initials, and seal

Section 709 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by inserting or at the end of the paragraph immediately preceding the paragraph that begins Shall be punished as follows:; and

(2)

by inserting the following before the paragraph that begins Shall be punished as follows::

Whoever, except with the written permission of the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, knowingly uses the words National Transportation Safety Board, the logo of the Board, the initials NTSB, or the official seal of the Board, or any colorable imitation of such words, logo, initials, or seal, in connection with any advertisement, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, or any play, motion picture, broadcast, telecast, or other production, in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such advertisement, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, or such play, motion picture, broadcast, telecast, or other production, is


approved, endorsed, or authorized by the National Transportation Safety Board;

.

Passed the House of Representatives September 28, 2010.

Lorraine C. Miller,

Clerk.