A. Role of the State Safety Oversight Agency.
(1) The SSOA shall establish minimum standards for the safety of all rail fixed guideway public transportation systems within its oversight. The safety plan shall be consistent with the National Public Transportation Safety Plan, the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program, the rules for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans and all applicable federal and State laws.
(2) The SSOA shall review and approve the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan for every rail fixed guideway public transportation system within its oversight. The SSOA shall oversee an RTA’s execution of its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan. The SSOA shall enforce the execution of a Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, through an order of a corrective action plan or any other means, as necessary or appropriate. The SSOA shall ensure that a Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan meets the requirements at 49 U.S.C. §5329(d).
(3) If the SSOA does not approve a Public Transportation Safety Plan, the SSOA shall provide a written explanation and allow an RTA an opportunity to modify and resubmit its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan for the SSOA’s approval.
(4) The SSOA shall have primary responsibility for the investigation of any allegation of noncompliance with a Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.
(5) The SSOA shall have primary responsibility for the investigation of an accident on a rail fixed guideway public transportation system.
(6) The SSOA may enter into an agreement with a contractor for assistance in overseeing accident investigations; performing independent accident investigations; and reviewing incidents and occurrences; and for expertise the SSOA does not have within its own organization.
(7) All personnel and contractors employed by the SSOA shall comply with the requirements of the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program as applicable.
B. State Safety Oversight Program Standards. The SSOA shall adopt and distribute a written SSO program standard, consistent with the National Public Transportation Safety Plan and the rules for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans. This SSO program standard shall identify the processes and procedures that govern the activities of the SSOA. Also, the SSO program standard shall identify the processes and procedures an RTA must have in place to comply with the standard.
C. Triennial Audits. At least once every 3 years, the SSOA shall conduct a complete audit of an RTA’s compliance with its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan. Alternatively, an SSOA may conduct the audit on an on-going basis over the 3-year time frame. After the 3-year audit cycle, the SSOA shall issue a report with findings and recommendations arising from the audit, which shall include, at minimum, an analysis of the effectiveness of the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, recommendations for improvements, and a corrective action plan, if necessary or appropriate. The RTA shall be given an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations.
D. Notifications of Accidents.
(1) Two-Hour Notification. In addition to the requirements for accident notification set forth in an SSO program standard, an RTA must notify both the SSOA and the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) within 2 hours of any accident occurring on a rail fixed guideway public transportation system, as defined by the FTA.
(2) Federal Rail Administration (FRA) notification. In any instance in which an RTA must notify the FRA of an accident as defined by 49 CFR §225.5, the RTA must also notify the SSOA and the FTA of the accident within the same time frame as required by FRA.
(1) The SSOA shall investigate or require an investigation of any accident and is ultimately responsible for the sufficiency and thoroughness of all investigations, whether conducted by the SSOA or RTA. If the SSOA requires an RTA to investigate an accident, the SSOA must conduct an independent review of the RTA’s findings of causation. In any instance in which an RTA is conducting its own internal investigation of the accident or incident, the SSOA and the RTA must coordinate their investigations in accordance with the SSO program standard and any agreements in effect.
(2) Within a reasonable time, the SSOA shall issue a written report on its investigation of an accident or review of an RTA’s accident investigation in accordance with the reporting requirements established by the SSOA. The report shall describe the investigation activities; identify the factors that caused or contributed to the accident; and set forth a corrective action plan, as necessary or appropriate. The SSOA shall formally adopt the report of an accident and transmit that report to the RTA for review and concurrence. If the RTA does not concur with an SSOA’s report, the SSOA may allow the RTA to submit a written dissent from the report, which may be included in the report, at the discretion of the SSOA.
(3) All personnel and contractors that conduct investigations on behalf of an SSOA shall be trained to perform their functions in accordance with the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program.
(4) The FTA Administrator may conduct an independent investigation of any accident or an independent review of an SSOA’s or an RTA’s findings of causation of an accident.
F. Corrective Action Plans.
(1) In any instance in which an RTA must develop and carry out a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), the SSOA shall review and approve the CAP before the RTA carries out the plan; however, an exception may be made for immediate or emergency corrective actions that must be taken to ensure immediate safety, provided that the SSOA has been given timely notification, and the SSOA provides subsequent review and approval. A CAP shall describe, specifically, the actions the RTA will take to minimize, control, correct, or eliminate the risks and hazards identified by the CAP, the schedule for taking those actions, and the individuals responsible for taking those actions. The RTA shall periodically report to the SSOA on its progress in carrying out the CAP. The SSOA may monitor the RTA’s progress in carrying out the CAP through unannounced, on-site inspections, or any other means the SSOA deems necessary or appropriate.
(2) In any instance in which a safety event on the RTA’s rail fixed guideway public transportation system is the subject of an investigation by the NTSB, the SSOA shall evaluate whether the findings or recommendations by the NTSB require a CAP by the RTA, and if so, the SSOA shall order the RTA to develop and carry out a CAP.
G. State Safety Oversight Agency annual reporting to FTA
(1) On or before March 15 of each year, the SSOA shall submit the following material to FTA:
(a) The SSO program standard adopted in accordance with 49 CFR §674.27, with an indication of any changes to the SSO program standard during the preceding 12 months;
(b) Evidence that each of its employees and contractors has completed the requirements of the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program, or, if in progress, the anticipated completion date of the training;
(c) A publicly available report that summarizes its oversight activities for the preceding 12 months, describes the causal factors of accidents identified through investigation, and identifies the status of corrective actions, changes to Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans, and the level of effort by the SSOA in carrying out its oversight activities;
(d) A summary of the triennial audits completed during the preceding 12 months, and the RTAs’ progress in carrying out CAPs arising from triennial audits conducted in accordance with 49 CFR §674.31;
(e) Evidence that the SSOA has reviewed and approved any changes to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans during the preceding 12 months; and
(f) A certification that the SSOA follows the requirements of this part.
(2) These materials must be submitted electronically through a reporting system specified by FTA.