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Safety Appliance Act

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SAFETY APPLIANCE ACT. The act of Congress of March 2, 1893, provides that aft er January 1, 1898, it shall be unlawful for common carriers in interstate commerce by railroad to use locomotive engines not equip ped with power driving-wheel brakes and ap pliances for operating the train brake sys tem, or to run a train that has not a suffi cient number of cars in it so equipped that the engineer on the locomotive can control its speed without requiring hand brakes; and to haul or use on its line any car in in terstate traffic "not equipped with couplers coupling automatically by impact, and which can be uncoupled without the necessity of men going between the ends of the cars." Section 3 provides that a carrier may re fuse to receive from connecting lines or ship pers any ears not sufficiently equipped.

Section 4 provides that it shall be unlaw ful for any railroad to use any car in such traffic which shall not have grab irons in the ends and sides of each car.

Section 5 provides that the Interstate Com merce Commission shall fix a standard for all such carriers as to the height of drawbars for freight cars, and that no cars, loaded or unloaded, shall be used in such traffic, which have not complied with the standard.

Section 8 provides that any employee who may be injured by any locomotive, etc., in use contrary to the act, shall not be deemed to have assumed the risk thereby occasioned, al though continuing in the employment after the unlawful use, etc., had been brought to his knowledge.

An amendment (April 14, 1910) provides that cars subject to the act must be equipped with secure sill steps and sufficient hand brakes, to be designated by the Interstate Commerce Commission, with the provision that if a car properly equipped shall have become defective while In use, it may be haul ed from the place where the defect was first discovered to the nearest repair point with out liability to a penalty, if such repairs can not be made except at such point, but such hauling is at the sole risk of the carrier ; and in such case defective cars cannot he hauled by chains in revenue trains or in association with other cars that are commercially used, unless such defective cars contain livestock or perishable freight.

In St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Taylor, 210 U. S. 281, 28 Sup. Ct. 616, 52 L. Ed. 1061, it was held that legislative power is not un constitutionally delegated by the section of the act which provides that the American Railway Association shall designate to the Interstate Commerce Commission the stand ard height of drawbars.

The act extends to a yard company whose tracks are exclusively on its own prem ises, but which, with Its own locomotives, hauls loaded cars to the transfer tracks of connecting interstate commerce lines ; Wil liamsburgh City Fire Ins. Co. v. Willard, 164 Fed. 404, 90 C. C. A. 392, 21 L. R. A. (N. S.) 103 ; and to a terminal company which transfers cars from the lines of one interstate carrier to those of another ; U. S. v. Terminal Co., 144 Fed. 861; also to a railroad the tracks of which are wholly within a county but which shifts between trunk lines cars en route from one state to another ; Belt R. Co. of Chicago v. U. S., 168 Fed. 542, 93 C. C. A. 666, 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 582.

Locomotive engines are covered by "any car" as used in the act; and are required to have automatic couplers ; Johnson v. South ern Pac. Co., 196 U. S. 1, 25 Sup. Ct. 158, 49 L. Ed. 363; and (under the amendment of 1903) standard height of drawbars ; South ern Ry. Co. v. Crockett, 234 U. S. 725, 34 Sup. Ct. 897, 58 L. Ed. -; a steam shovel car is within the act ; Schlemmer v. Ry. Co., 205 U. S. 1, 27 Sup. Ct. 407, 51 L. Ed. 681; so is the tender of a switch engine plac ing cars in interstate commerce in a yard siding; Philadelphia & R. Ry. Co. v. Winkler, 4 Pennewill (Del.) 387, 56 Atl. 112; and a dining car which is in constant use while waiting for the making up of a train for its next interstate trip ; Johnson v. Southern Pac. Co., 196 U. S. 1, 25 Sup. Ct. 158, 49 L. Ed. 363.

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