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Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for Exemption Renewal

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Trailways

Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for Exemption Renewal

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 4, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 107 (Thursday, June 4, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31961-31962]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-13653]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0268]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for 
Exemption Renewal

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Adirondack Trailways, 
Pine Hill Trailways, New York Trailways (``Trailways'') and all other 
regular-route passenger carriers and their drivers a renewal of their 
exemption from the hours-of-service (HOS) record of duty status (RODS) 
requirement to enter a change in duty status on the daily log for 
breaks in driving time of 10 minutes or less, for the limited purpose 
of picking up or dropping off passengers, baggage, or small express 
packages. FMCSA extended the exemption to all regular-route passenger 
carriers and their drivers rather than limiting it to Trailways' 
drivers. The renewal of the exemption will allow these drivers to 
perform their daily duties without having to record entries in the 
daily log for breaks in driving time of 10 minutes or less. Such 
activity will not be considered a change of duty status for the 
purposes of 49 CFR 395.8(c).

DATES: This exemption is effective from May 31, 2015 through May 31, 
2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver 
and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325, Email: MCPSD@dot.gov, 
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments submitted to the notice requesting public comments on the 
exemption application, 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 on-line Federal document 
management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. 
The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Trailways Application for Exemption

    The HOS rule in 49 CFR 395.8 requires every commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) driver to record his or her duty status for each 24-hour 
period using methods described in that section. Section 395.8(c) 
describes the manner in which each change of duty status must be 
recorded. Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA may grant an 
exemption from the HOS requirements for up to 2 years if it finds such 
exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, 
or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such 
exemption. The procedures for requesting an exemption (including 
renewals) are prescribed in 49 CFR part 381.
    Trailways' initial application for relief from the HOS RODs rule 
was submitted in 2012; a copy of the application is in the docket 
identified at the beginning of this notice. The 2012 application 
describes fully the nature of Trailways' operations. On May 31, 2013, 
FMCSA granted the exemption to Trailways and all other regular route 
passenger carriers and their drivers for the period from May 31, 2013, 
through May 31, 2015 (78 FR 32701).
    Trailways' application for a renewal of the exemption is for fixed-
route carriers and their drivers who are often away from the controls 
of the vehicle for less than 10 minutes to assist passengers or make 
passenger pick-ups and drop-offs along the route. Trailways' advised 
that, until March 2011, they and other motor carriers had been 
operating in accordance with a 1996 interpretation of 49 CFR 395.8(c) 
issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The 1996 
interpretation allowed regular-route passenger carrier CMV drivers not 
to record a location entry on the driver's RODS for non-driving periods 
of less than 10 minutes. The RODS simply showed the stop as driving 
time. In March 2011, New York State officials began enforcing the rule 
literally, requiring that a change in duty status be entered on the log 
any time the driver leaves the operating controls of the CMV. Trailways 
was concerned that the violations would have a negative effect on the 
companies' and the drivers' Compliance Safety Accountability ratings, 
as well as schedules and passenger service because of the delays needed 
to make the entries.
    Trailways requested that their drivers with regularly scheduled 
routes be exempted from changing their duty status from ``driving'' to 
``on-duty not driving'' when making stops of less than 10 minutes.
    Trailways noted that the exemption would reduce the amount of total 
time a driver can drive in a duty period. Without the exemption, the 
times drivers spend at stops to load passengers, freight, etc. would be 
logged as on-duty/not driving, increasing the driving time available, 
but creating an additional administrative distraction every time the 
driver leaves the controls, regardless of the reason or the limited 
amount of time away from the vehicle controls. Trailways further 
advised that its carriers provide flag stops and that having to update 
the log at each flag stop increases the length of time the motorcoach 
may delay traffic while waiting for the pick-up and/or discharge of 
passengers and luggage, and then waiting for the driver to update the 
log. According to Trailways, in many instances the large number of 
brief stops will not fit on the log if the driver makes all of the 
required entries.

[[Page 31962]]

    Trailways noted that the maximum possible driving time would be 
reduced and that traffic congestion could be reduced. FMCSA believes 
this will ensure that operations under the exemption will be at least 
as safe as operations that comply with the requirements on change of 
duty status.
    As in 2013, FMCSA extends the renewed exemption to all regular-
route for-hire passenger-carrier drivers because they presumably 
operate in much the same manner as Trailways. Including all such 
drivers in the exemption will preclude the need for other carriers to 
file identical exemption requests, and will provide for consistent 
enforcement because the same provisions would be applied to all similar 
scenarios involving brief stops by drivers of these carriers during 
their regular-route operations. Copies of Trailways' original and 
renewal applications are available for review in the docket for this 
notice.

Public Comments

    On March 18, 2015, FMCSA published notice of this application, and 
asked for public comment (80 FR 14229). Only one comment was submitted, 
and it supported the renewal of the exemption. The comment is available 
for review in the docket for this notice.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated Trailways' application for renewal of the 
exemption and the public comment. The Agency believes that Trailways 
will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater 
than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption (49 CFR 
381.305(a)). During the 2-year period of the current exemption, only 
one accident was reported while operating under the exemption, and the 
motorcoach driver was determined to not be at fault.

Terms of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

    The exemption from the HOS record of duty status requirements of 49 
CFR 395.8(c) is granted for the period from 12:01 a.m. on May 31, 2015 
through 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2017.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is restricted to drivers employed by Trailways and 
other regular-route for-hire passenger carriers. Instead of complying 
with the provisions in 49 CFR 395.8(c), these drivers are exempted from 
changing their duty status from ``driving'' to ``on-duty not driving'' 
when making stops of less than 10 minutes. These drivers must comply 
with all other applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350-399).

Preemption

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), during the period this 
exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation 
that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect 
to a firm or person operating under the exemption.

Notification to FMCSA

    Trailways and other regular-route for-hire passenger-carriers 
utilizing this exemption must 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. Name of operating motor carrier and USDOT number,
    b. Date of the accident,
    c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
closest to the accident scene,
    d. Driver's name and license number and State of issuance,
    e. Vehicle number and State license plate number,
    f. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    g. Number of fatalities,
    h. The police-reported cause of the accident,
    i. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws 
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
    j. The driver's total driving time and total on-duty time period 
prior to the accident.
    Reports filed under this provision shall be emailed to 
MCPSD@DOT.GOV.

Termination

    FMCSA does not believe the carriers and drivers covered by this 
exemption 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.

    Issued on: May 27, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-13653 Filed 6-3-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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