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April 19, 2013
PHMSA increases penalties for knowing violations

Effective April 17, 2013, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule revising the maximum and minimum civil penalties for knowing violations of the federal hazardous materials transportation law.

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The PHMSA increased its maximum civil penalty for a person who knowingly violates the federal hazardous materials transportation law from $55,000 to $75,000. For knowing violations that result in death, serious illness or injury, or substantial destruction of property, the penalty has been increased from $110,000 to $175,000.

Also included in the rule is a change to the minimum civil penalty for knowing violations, previously $250. Under the new rule, there is no longer a minimum civil penalty except for training-related violations, which carry a minimum penalty of $450. The PHMSA expects the economic impact of both rule changes to be minimal due to the small number of cases they will affect.

The new rules were enacted in accordance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which became effective on October 1, 2012. MAP-21 includes many provisions intended to help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in its mission of reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

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