New regs for Monday: Railroads, helicopter air ambulances, auto recalls

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for drug and alcohol tests among railroad employees, auto recalls, water pollution, helicopter air ambulances, and civilian employees of the military.

Here's what is happening:

Railroad safety: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is considering new drug and alcohol regulations for railroad maintenance workers, the agency said Friday.

The FRA has had drug and alcohol regulations in place since 1985 for some employees, but the agency wants to expand the rules to also include maintenance workers, because it says they are critical to the safe operation of railroads.

"(Maintenance workers) directly affect the safety of railroad operations, because they work on or near railroad tracks, operate on-track or fouling equipment, and assist in directing trains through work areas," the agency wrote.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Recall: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is moving froward with new early warning reporting and recall rules for automakers, after several industry groups petitioned the agency for changes.

Water pollution: The Coast Guard is correcting a mistake made in a rule it published earlier this month about ships carrying oil or garbage in navigable waters.

The changes go into effect immediately.

Helicopters: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with new rules for the pilots of helicopter air ambulances, the agency announced Friday.

The new rules would allow the pilots to make a judgement call when deciding whether to depart in bad weather conditions. 

The rule goes into effect on April 22, 2015.

Civilian employees: The Defense Department is making changes to the regulations for civilians employees by updating their rights, benefits, and obligations.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule.