Peter DeFazio introduces bill to protect workers, passengers from harm on transit

Published: November 1, 2021

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced the Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act (H.R. 5706) Oct. 25, legislation to help protect passengers and personnel from sexual assault and harassment in different modes of transportation that includes the creation of new civil penalties that would apply to physical assaults or threats against Amtrak employees and other covered transportation workers.

“When it comes to the transportation of people, safety must always come first, and that includes protecting people from sexual harassment and assault,” Chair DeFazio said. “With this legislation, we can make important strides toward adequately training personnel, establishing formal policies against sexual assault and harassment, and facilitating the reporting of these incidents. In addition, my bill would help the public understand the scope of this problem by establishing the first-ever federal clearinghouse for transportation-related sexual assault and harassment data. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation signed into law so we can help stop sexual violence and abuse on our roads, on our waters, on our trains, and in our skies.”

This legislation will help prevent sexual assaults and sexual harassment on airplanes, buses, passenger vessels, commuter and intercity passenger railroads, taxis and ride-sharing vehicles. Specifically, it would require covered companies to establish formal policies against sexual assault and harassment, facilitate the reporting of sexual assault and harassment incidents, establish civil penalties for individuals who physically or sexually assault—or threaten to assault—transportation personnel, and require the Department of Transportation to collect and publicly share data on the number of sexual assault or harassment incidents reported by transportation companies covered under the bill. The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (AFL-CIO TTD), of which the SMART Transportation Division is a member, is among the entities that have issued endorsements of the bill.

Last Congress, Chair DeFazio introduced similar legislation that unanimously passed the House of Representatives.

Original co-sponsors of H.R. 5706 include:

  • Julia Brownley (D-CA)
  • Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
  • Andre Carson (D-IN)
  • Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
  • Jared Huffman (D-CA)
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
  • Rick Larsen (D-WA)
  • Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
  • Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
  • Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
  • Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ)
  • Albio Sires (D-NJ)
  • Dina Titus (D-NV)

Read the bill’s text.
A fact sheet about the legislation.