Department of Transportation

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More Passengers Complain to Government About Air Travel

Filings about airlines hit post-pandemic high, though cancellations fell last year

(Newser) - Air travel got more miserable last year, if the number of consumer complaints filed with the federal government is any measure. The Transportation Department said Friday that it received nearly 97,000 complaints in 2023, up from about 86,000 the year before. The department said there were so many...

Airline Passengers Get Good News From the DOT

New guidelines require airlines to spell out all fees, quickly issue cash refunds for canceled flights

(Newser) - Airline passengers will soon see some relief when it comes to refunds and so-called junk fees. Per new rules set out by the Biden administration on Wednesday, airlines must now show the full price of travel when passengers are booking their trip, reports NPR . That means that airlines have to...

New Federal Rule Requires 2-Person Railroad Crews

'As trains ... have grown longer, crews should not be getting smaller'

(Newser) - Major freight railroads will have to maintain two-person crews on most routes under a new federal rule that was finalized Tuesday in a milestone in organized labor's long fight to preserve the practice. The Transportation Department's Federal Railroad Administration released the details of the rule Tuesday morning after...

Feds Unamused by Highway Sign Puns
Feds Unamused by
Highway Sign Puns

Feds Unamused by Highway Sign Puns

New guidance is winding down clever safety messages within the next 2 years

(Newser) - If you enjoy the occasional wild highway sign urging you to "Camp in the woods, not the left lane," sadly, you'll have to get your dad jokes elsewhere. The Federal Highway Administration (part of the Department of Transportation) has weighed in on whether electronic safety billboards on...

It's Looking Like a Record Year for US Airline Complaints

Consumer complaints doubled in first 5 months of 2023 compared to same period in 2022

(Newser) - Early data suggests this could be another record year for consumer complaints against US airlines. A report from the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), based on data from the Department of Transportation, finds complaints against US airlines more than doubled in the first five months of 2023 compared with...

Southwest Takes Big Hit From DOT for 2022 Holiday Fiasco

Agency levies $140M fine; airline says it's 'grateful to have reached a consumer-friendly settlement'

(Newser) - If you were caught up in Southwest's holiday chaos last year and found yourself at any point muttering, "Someone's got to pay for this," your wish has been granted. The Department of Transportation on Monday announced it's hitting the airline with a $140 million fine,...

White House Is Cracking Down on Airline Cancellations

Airlines would have to reimburse customers for delays that were within their control

(Newser) - The Biden administration is proposing new regulations that would require airlines to compensate passengers and cover their meals and hotels if they are stranded for reasons within the airline's control. As the AP reports, President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were unveiling the plan on Monday. It continues...

In a DOT Salt Pile, a 'Most Bizarre' Find

Worker stumbles upon hardened human heart at Tennessee facility

(Newser) - Authorities are investigating the discovery of a human heart in a salt pile at a Tennessee Department of Transportation facility. Workers at the facility in McEwen were making preparations for inclement weather Thursday when they came across something unusual that was later confirmed to be a human heart, Humphreys County...

DOT in 'Crisis' Mode Over New Stats on Road Fatalities

They've hit a 15-year high, with more than 20K dead in US during first half of 2021

(Newser) - With more people back in schools and offices, that means there are more people on the road. But time stuck at home apparently hasn't done any favors for our driving skills, based on new stats from the Department of Transportation that show the highest number of traffic fatalities in...

Feds Clear Path for New Northeast Tunnel

It will replace the existing Hudson River tunnel connecting NY and NJ

(Newser) - A planned $11 billion rail tunnel key to train travel up and down the northeastern US received a boost Friday with long sought federal environmental approval. The decision by the Department of Transportation means the project to build a new Hudson River tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey can...

Buttigieg's New Job Makes 'Perfect Sense'
Buttigieg's New Job
Makes 'Perfect Sense'

Buttigieg's New Job Makes 'Perfect Sense'

He'll have ample opportunity to shine as transportation secretary, writes Chris Cillizza

(Newser) - It's official: President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary. "I trust Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision," Biden said Tuesday, per USA Today . But does Buttigieg really want to lead the Transportation Department? "Isn't...

Feds Say Airlines Can Ban Emotional Support Animals

Agency tightens definition of service animals

(Newser) - The government has decided that when it comes to air travel, only dogs can be service animals, and companions used for emotional support don't count. The Transportation Department issued a final rule Wednesday that aims to settle years of tension between airlines and passengers who bring their pets on...

Driver 'Trusted in What the Limo Company Said': Widow

Kim Lisinicchia says fatal crash 'still would've happened' despite husband lacking permit

(Newser) - The widow of limousine driver Scott Lisinicchia, one of 20 to die in Saturday's crash in upstate New York, says Prestige Limousine "should have been more responsible." Kim Lisinicchia describes multiple safety violations by company vehicles as "unacceptable" for "a company where you have people'...

Feds Roll Out Self-Driving Car Guidelines

They're not going to leave it up to the states

(Newser) - Obama administration officials have rolled out a plan they say will enable automakers to get self-driving cars onto the road without compromising safety. In drawing up 112 pages of guidelines, the government tried to be vague enough to allow innovation while at the same time making sure that automakers, tech...

Your Pilot May Not Remember How to Fly a Plane

Feds warn about skills fading away as automation takes over

(Newser) - Where's Ted Striker when you need him? Probably not at the helm of a commercial flight, according to a new Department of Transportation report . It finds that automation has driven manual flying mostly out of the cockpit, leading to concerns that pilots may not be getting enough training to...

New Rule: No E-Cigs in Checked Bags

FAA, DOT say they're a fire hazard

(Newser) - The DOT Monday announced what calls an "air safety twist": letting airline passengers carry their e-cigarettes into the cabin in their carry-on bags or on their person, but banning the devices in checked luggage. The agency's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in conjunction with the...

Changed Tune: Guitars Now OK as Carry-Ons

Small instruments to be treated as any suitcase aboard US airlines

(Newser) - In technical terms, Section 403 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012 is now in full effect. What that means for travelers: As of Dec. 30, 2014, small musical instruments now qualify as a "carry-on" on any US airline. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shares the American Federation of Musicians'...

Feds Fine Airline $500K for Crash Response—a First

Asiana accused of leaving families in the lurch

(Newser) - Asiana Airlines has been penalized $500,000 for failing to assist family members of passengers on a flight that crashed last year at San Francisco airport. The fine announced by the US Department of Transportation was a first: No airline has broken US laws that require prompt and generous assistance...

FCC Chair Doesn't Want Phones in Air Either, But...

'...we are not the Federal Courtesy Commission' he explains

(Newser) - A bit of advice for the Federal Communications Commission: Nobody seems to want you to lift your ban on in-flight cell phone use. The Department of Transportation is firmly against the move, as are airlines, flight attendants, and, according to polls, the majority of passengers, the Wall Street Journal finds....

Obama to Name Charlotte Mayor DOT Secretary

First minority pick among second-term appointees

(Newser) - Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx—an up-and-coming Democrat who grabbed attention as host of last year's Democratic National Convention—will be President Obama's pick to replace Ray LaHood as Transportation secretary, reports Politico , citing White House sources. Foxx would be Obama's first minority pick among second-term appointees, adds...

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