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Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Application for Renewal of Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Application for Renewal of Exemption

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
April 16, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 73 (Thursday, April 16, 2015)]
[Pages 20556-20558]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08724]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0275]

Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); 
Application for Renewal of Exemption

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received an application from the 
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and 
Distribution Command (SDDC) for a renewal of its exemption from the 
minimum 30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service 
(HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. SDDC 
currently holds an exemption for the period October 22, 2013, through 
October 21, 2015. The exemption renewal would allow these drivers to 
use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break 
requirements, provided they do not perform any other work during the 
break. FMCSA requests public comment on SDDC's application for renewal 
of the exemption.

DATES: If granted, this exemption would be effective from October 22, 
2015, through October 21, 2017. Comments must be received on or before 
May 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2013-0275 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number 
for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without 
change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The online FDMS is available 24 hours each 
day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received 
your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
postcard or print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting 
comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning this notice 
contact Ms. Pearlie Robinson, Driver and Carrier Operations Division; 
Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards, FMCSA; 
Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you have questions on 
viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, 
telephone (202) 366-9826.


[[Page 20557]]


    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in 
the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the 
public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the 
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 
and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application 
and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving 
the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is 
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period and explain 
the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed 
(49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption Renewal

    On December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81133), FMCSA published a final rule 
amending its HOS regulations for drivers of property-carrying CMVs. The 
final rule adopted several changes to the HOS regulations including a 
new provision requiring drivers to take a rest break of at least 30 
minutes during the work day under certain circumstances.
    FMCSA did not specify when drivers must take the break, but the 
rule requires that they wait no longer than 8 hours after the last off-
duty period of 30 minutes or more to take it if they want to drive a 
CMV. Drivers who already take shorter breaks during the work day could 
comply with the rule by extending one of those breaks to 30 minutes. 
The new requirement took effect on July 1, 2013.
    The SDDC manages the motor carrier industry contracts for the DOD. 
Certain motor carriers under contract to the SDDC provide protective 
services while transporting weapons, munitions, and sensitive/
classified cargo.
    SDDC's initial exemption application for relief from the HOS rest 
break requirement was submitted in 2013; a copy of the application is 
in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. That 2013 
application describes fully the nature of the operations of SDDC's 
contracted drivers. The exemption was granted on October 28, 2013 (78 
FR 64265).
    SDDC requests a renewal of its limited exemption from the HOS 
regulation pertaining to rest breaks [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)] to allow 
SDDC-contracted drivers providing dual driver-protective services to be 
treated the same as drivers transporting explosives. As provided in 
Sec.  395.1(q), operators of CMVs carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 
explosives subject to the requirement for a minimum 30-minute rest 
break in Sec.  395.3(a)(3)(ii) may use 30 minutes or more of 
``attendance time'' to meet the requirement for a rest break. SDDC 
believes that shipments moved under the requested exemption would 
achieve a level of safety and security that is at least equivalent to 
what would be obtained by following the normal break requirements in 
Sec.  395.3(a)(3)(ii).

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    SDDC states that it requires continuous attendance and surveillance 
of such shipments until they reach their final destination. SDDC states 
that it has instituted several technical and administrative controls to 
ensure the efficient transportation of cargo requiring protective 
services, controls that would remain in effect under the requested 
exemption. They include the following:
     Conducting review of carrier compliance requirements and 
procedures for moving hazardous cargo.
     Evaluating carrier authority to operate on United States 
     Evaluating carrier compliance with the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance Safety Accountability 
program Safety Measurement System standards.
     Providing over-the-road vehicle surveillance.
     Inspecting carrier facilities and corporate headquarters 
for compliance with DOD and DOT standards.
    Further details regarding SDDC's safety controls can be found in 
its application for exemption. The application can be accessed in the 
docket identified at the beginning of this notice. SDDC asserts that 
granting the exemption would allow driver teams to manage their enroute 
rest periods efficiently and also perform mandated shipment security 
surveillance, resulting in both safe driving performance and greater 
security of cargo during long-distance trips.
    SDDC anticipates no safety impacts from this exemption and believes 
that its contract employee drivers should be allowed to follow the 
requirements in Sec.  395.1(q) when transporting shipments of sensitive 
DOD cargo. SDDC believes that shipments made under the requested 
exemption would achieve a level of safety and security that is at least 
equivalent to that which would be obtained by following the normal 
break requirement in Sec.  395.3(a)(3)(ii).
    SDDC indicated that approximately 1,942 power units and 3,000 
drivers would be covered by the exemption. The proposed exemption would 
be effective for 2 years, the maximum period allowed by Sec.  381.300. 
SDDC reported two crashes in 2014 in which drivers were cited. Neither 
crash was connected to fatigue that was related to the 30 minute break.

Terms of the Exemption

    1. Drivers authorized by SDDC to utilize the exemption, if granted, 
must have a copy of the exemption document in their possession while 
operating under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must 
be presented to law enforcement officials upon request.
    2. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have a 
``Satisfactory'' safety rating with FMCSA, or be ``unrated;'' motor 
carriers with ``Conditional'' or ``Unsatisfactory'' FMCSA safety 
ratings are prohibited from using this exemption.
    3. Motor carriers operating under this exemption must have Safety 
Measurement System (SMS) scores that are all below FMCSA's intervention 
thresholds, as displayed at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/.

Period of the Exemption

    The requested exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 
395.3(a)(3)(ii) would be effective from 12:01 a.m., October 22, 2015, 
through 11:59 p.m., October 21, 2017.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption would be restricted to SDDC's contract driver-
employees transporting security-sensitive materials. This exemption 
would be limited to the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) to allow 
contract driver-employees transporting security-sensitive materials to 
be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives, as provided in 
Sec.  395.1(q). These drivers would be required to comply with all 
other applicable provisions of the FMCSRs.


    During the periods this exemption would be in effect, no State 
shall enforce any law or regulation that

[[Page 20558]]

conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a 
firm or person operating under the exemption.

Notification to FMCSA

    The SDDC would be required to notify FMCSA within 5 business days 
of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any of the 
motor carrier's CMVs operating under the terms of this exemption. The 
notification must include the following information:
    a. Date of the accident,
    b. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
closest to the accident scene,
    c. Driver's name and driver's license number and State of issuance
    d. Vehicle number and State license plate number,
    e. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    f. Number of fatalities,
    g. The police-reported cause of the accident,
    h. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws 
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
    i. The driver's total driving time and total on-duty time period 
prior to the accident.
Reports filed under this provision would be emailed to MCPSD@DOT.GOV.


    The FMCSA does not believe the drivers covered by this exemption, 
if granted, will experience any deterioration of their safety record. 
However, should this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to 
protect the public interest, including revocation or restriction of the 
exemption. The FMCSA will immediately revoke or restrict the exemption 
for failure to comply with its terms and conditions.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment on the SDDC's application for an exemption from 
certain provisions of the HOS rules in 49 CFR part 395. The Agency will 
consider all comments received by close of business on May 18, 2015. 
Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the 
location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency 
will consider to the extent practicable comments received in the public 
docket after the closing date of the comment period.

    Issued on: April 10, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-08724 Filed 4-15-15; 8:45 am]

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