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Commercial Driver's License Standards; Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Passenger Endorsement Requirements

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Commercial Driver's License Standards; Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Passenger Endorsement Requirements

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
May 27, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 27, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30163-30164]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12641]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 383


Commercial Driver's License Standards; Regulatory Guidance 
Concerning the Passenger Endorsement Requirements

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

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA responds to a question whether a commercial driver's 
license (CDL) passenger endorsement is required for drivers of certain 
custom motorcoaches designed or used to transport fewer than 16 
passengers, including the driver. The guidance explains that a 
passenger endorsement is required because the vehicle is intended to 
transport passengers rather than cargo.

DATES: This guidance is effective May 27, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Selden Fritschner, Chief, 
Commercial Driver's License Division, Office of Safety Programs, 
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Telephone (202) 366-0677 or 
Selden.Fritschner@dot.gov. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have 
questions on the docket, call Ms. Barbara Hairston, Docket Operations, 
telephone 202-366-3024.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Legal Basis

    The CDL program was established by the Commercial Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA) (49 U.S.C. chapter 313). The CMVSA 
authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to set minimum standards for 
the CDL. The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated the authority to 
carry out the functions vested in the Secretary by the CMVSA (49 Code 
of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1.87(e)(1)).
    Parts 383 and 384 of Title 49, CFR, implement the CMVSA 
requirements. Part 383 prohibits any person who does not hold a valid 
CDL or commercial learner's permit (CLP) issued by his/her State of 
domicile from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that requires 
a driver with a CDL. This regulatory guidance is based on that 
authority and is intended to ensure that CDL holders obtain the proper 
endorsements before operating a CMV.

II. Background

    The American Bus Association (ABA) asked if drivers of certain 
custom motorcoaches require passenger endorsements. These motorcoaches 
are used primarily to transport entertainers to performance venues 
throughout the United States. Because these vehicles have gross vehicle 
weights (GVWs) and gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) greater than 
26,000 pounds, the driver must have a CDL. However, the vehicles are 
not designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers. Each vehicle 
begins as a motorcoach chassis and body shell which is then customized 
by a second-stage manufacturer that installs beds, couches, sinks, 
kitchen cabinets, and other furnishings. ABA notes that the maximum 
passenger capacity of these vehicles is approximately 10-12 persons, 
plus the driver. The ABA asked whether the drivers must have passenger 
endorsements on their CDLs. ABA estimates that approximately 1,000 
entertainer motorcoaches are currently in operation.

III. Applicable Regulations

    The CDL rules in 49 CFR 383.23(a) require individuals to pass 
written and driving tests for a CLP or CDL to operate commercial motor 
vehicles (CMVs). Section 383.5 defines a CMV.
    The customized motorcoaches described by the ABA are Group B Heavy 
Straight Vehicles, within the CMV definition under Sec.  383.5 and 
under Sec.  383.91 concerning endorsements. They are used in commerce 
to transport passengers, and have GVWRs and GVWs of 26,001 pounds or 
more. Section 383.93(b)(2) requires CDL holders who operate or expect 
to operate ``passenger vehicles'' to obtain a passenger endorsement 
requiring a knowledge and skills test (Sec.  383.93(c)(2)). Neither 
these sections nor the passenger endorsement provisions in Sec.  
383.117 specifies a minimum number of passengers needed to trigger the 
endorsement requirement. Drivers of the customized motorcoaches used by 
the entertainment industry, which are designed or used to transport 
between 10 and 12 passengers, including the driver, are therefore 
required to have a CDL with a passenger endorsement.
    It should be noted that FMCSA and its predecessor agency, the 
Federal Highway Administration, have held for more than 20 years that 
drivers of recreational vehicles used strictly for non-commercial 
purposes are not required to obtain a CDL [Question 3 under Sec.  
383.3, 58 FR 60734, 60735, November 17, 1993; available on the Agency's 
Web site: www.fmcsa.dot.gov]. Such vehicles are not ``used in 
commerce'' in the sense intended by the definition of ``commercial 
motor vehicle'' in 49 U.S.C. 31301(4) and 49 CFR 383.5. Today's 
regulatory guidance is therefore limited to the issue of the passenger 
endorsement for individuals who are already required to possess a CDL.

IV. FMCSA Decision

    In consideration of the above, FMCSA has determined that the 
requirements under 49 CFR part 383 require CDL-holders to have a 
passenger endorsement when operating a vehicle that exceeds the 26,000-
pound threshold, and is designed to transport passengers rather than 
property. FMCSA

[[Page 30164]]

therefore includes the following as new Guidance to 49 CFR 383.93:

Commercial Driver's License Standards, Endorsements; Regulatory 
Guidance for 49 CFR 383.93

    Question 15: Is a person who operates a custom motorcoach in 
commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight 
greater than 26,001 pounds required to have a passenger endorsement for 
his or her CDL if the vehicle is designed or used to transport less 
than 16 passengers, including the driver?
    Guidance: Yes. The motorcoach is a Heavy Straight Vehicle (Group B) 
under 49 CFR 383.91 that is designed to transport passengers in 
commerce. The driver is, therefore, required by Sec.  383.93(b)(2) to 
have a passenger endorsement.

    Issued on: May 18, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
 Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-12641 Filed 5-26-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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