The Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Federico Pena and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator David Hinson announced that they are making the most comprehensive changes ever in aviation rule making. The article does not specify were the changes come from but I believe it's the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) part 121. The new Commuter Safety Initiative rules sets the same safety standards for passengers on scheduled flights regardless of size. Commuter airlines will be required to comply with the same rules as major airlines to include: operational, equipment, and performance safety standards.
Under the old system there were two sets of rules, one for aircraft with 10 to 30 seats and one with 31 or more seats. Commuter aircraft now must have the same or equivalent safety standards as major airlines. President Clinton said, "A universal high level of safety for all commercial airplanes is a bold step forward in the interest of passengers, and demonstrates how commonsense government can make a real difference in the lives of all Americans.
The new commuter rule also includes more comprehensive training standards dealing with Crew Resource Management(CRM). The CRM standards put into motion the FAA's efforts to address "human factor problems dealing with flight crew and dispatchers. The new rules will provide the tools to meet extensive growth in commuter aviation.
There is an impressive move forward by government, labor, and industry towards the mutual goal of zero accidents, said Pena.
A major focus of the new commuter rule is for all commercial operators to have a safety officer, improve their deicing programs, upgrade operations and air-crew manuals, implement a carry-on-baggage program. It also requires duty limits for aircraft maintenance workers and additional medical kits and fire protection devices.