Freight Railroad Safety:

Results of Rail Industry Survey about Hours of Service Issues (GAO-11-894SP, September 2011), an E-supplement to GAO-11-853

GAO-11-894SP: Published: Sep 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 2011.

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This product is an e-supplement to GAO-11-853. It presents the results of GAO's web-based survey of 254 freight railroads about the operational and administrative impacts on the railroads of changes to hours of service requirements made by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). RSIA, passed by Congress in October 2008, extensively overhauled railroad safety requirements, including those for how much time freight railroad workers can spend on the job (called "hours of service"), and how much minimum rest time they must take. RSIA's changes became effective for freight railroads in July 2009. Of the 254 railroads surveyed, we received responses from all 7 class I railroads, 14 of 15 class II railroads, and 163 of 232 class III railroads. (For economic regulatory purposes, the railroad industry is divided into three classes based primarily on annual operating revenues.) The class III railroads included all those with five or more full-time-equivalent employees in 2009 covered by RSIA hours of service requirements as reported to the Federal Railroad Administration. This e-supplement includes the questions we asked and a summary of the responses by class of railroad. For those questions to which there were no responses by a class of railroad, that railroad class is excluded from the results. Responses to open-ended questions requiring a narrative response are not included in this document. A more detailed discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology is contained in our report, Freight Railroad Safety: Hours of Service Changes Have Increased Rest Time, but More Can Be Done to Address Fatigue Risks, GAO-11-853. We administered the survey from January 2011 to April 2011 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

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