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Hours of Service of Drivers: Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC); Granting of Renewal of Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Hours of Service of Drivers: Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC); Granting of Renewal of Exemption

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 12, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 113 (Friday, June 12, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33584-33585]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-14277]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION [4910-EX-P]

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0283]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Agricultural and Food Transporters 
Conference (AFTC); Granting of Renewal of Exemption

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew an exemption from the 
30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) 
regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers transporting 
livestock. The Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of 
the American Trucking Associations (ATA) requested that the exemption, 
granted on behalf of several associations of agricultural transporters, 
be renewed to enable these drivers to continue to safeguard the health 
of certain livestock during long-haul deliveries by not having to take 
the rest break. The Agency has determined that it is appropriate to 
renew this exemption for a period of two years to ensure the well-being 
of the Nation's livestock during interstate transportation by CMV. The 
exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will likely 
achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level that would be achieved absent such exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective June 12, 2015, through June 12, 
2017. Comments must be received on or before July 13, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2013-0283 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 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Schultz, Driver and Carrier 
Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety 
Standards, FMCSA; Telephone: 202-366-2718. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you 
have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from 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 request.
    The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments, and 
determines whether granting or renewal of 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 reason for the grant or denial, and, if 
granted, the specific person or class of persons receiving the 
exemption, and the regulatory provision or provisions from which 
exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period 
of the exemption (up to 2 years), and explain the terms and conditions 
of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Background

    On December 27, 2011, FMCSA published a final rule amending its HOS 
regulations for drivers of property-carrying CMVs. The final rule 
included a provision requiring drivers to take a rest break during the 
workday under certain circumstances. Drivers may drive a CMV only if a 
period of 8 hours or less has passed since the end of their last off-
duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. FMCSA did not 
specify when drivers must take the minimum 30-minute break, but the 
rule requires that they wait no longer than 8 hours after the last off-
duty or sleeper-berth period of that length or longer to take the 
break. This new requirement, as amended by a subsequent decision of the 
United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit,\1\ is codified at 49 
CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii).
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    \1\ American Trucking Associations, Inc., v. Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration, 724 F.3d 243 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
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Exemption

    On June 19, 2013, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) on 
behalf of itself and 12 trade associations, including ATA's 
Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, requested a limited two-
year exemption from the rest-break requirement for drivers of CMVs 
engaged in the transportation of livestock. A copy of the request is 
included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.
    The NPPC stated that complying with the 30-minute rest break rule 
would cause livestock producers and their drivers irreparable harm, 
place the health and welfare of the livestock at risk, and provide no 
apparent benefit to public safety, while forcing the livestock industry 
and its drivers to choose

[[Page 33585]]

between the humane handling of animals or compliance with the rule.
    FMCSA analyzed the request and on June 11, 2014, granted, subject 
to specific terms and conditions, an exemption from the rest break 
requirement for drivers transporting livestock. The term of the 
exemption ends on June 11, 2015. The exemption period was limited to 
one year in order to gather additional data about the highway safety of 
operations under the exemption. Carriers utilizing the exemption were 
required to report any accidents, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, to FMCSA. 
As of May 1, 2015, no accidents had been reported.

Population of Drivers and Carriers Engaged in Livestock Transportation

    As of May 13, 2015, FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information 
System (MCMIS) listed 65,872 motor carriers that identified livestock 
as a type (though not necessarily the only type) of cargo they 
transport. These carriers operate 220,481 vehicles. The carriers employ 
277,782 drivers, but approximately 145,000 drivers qualify as ``short-
haul'' drivers and thus are exempt from the 30-minute break 
requirement. Therefore, fewer than 135,000 CMV drivers could utilize 
this exemption.
    Data in the docket show that the temperature inside a stopped 
livestock trailer can rise rapidly during hot summer days, and can drop 
rapidly on winter days, especially in windy conditions. Substandard 
transportation of livestock elevates the risk that the food derived 
therefrom may be unsafe for human consumption. Industry guidelines 
describe stops of up to 30 minutes as problematic for many animals, 
even in favorable weather, and encourage drivers of livestock to keep 
the CMV moving ``if at all possible.'' Livestock drivers take breaks, 
but generally of much shorter duration than 30 minutes.
    As noted below, carriers utilizing the exemption are required to 
report any accidents, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, to FMCSA. Since the 
granting of this exemption on June 11, 2014, the FMCSA has not received 
any such reports.

FMCSA Determination

    In consideration of the above, FMCSA has determined that it is 
appropriate to renew this exemption from the 30-minute break 
requirement for a period of two years, subject to the following terms 
and conditions:

Extent of the Exemption

    This exemption is limited to drivers engaged in the interstate 
transportation of livestock by CMV. The exemption from the 30-minute 
rest-break requirement is applicable during the transportation of 
livestock and does not cover the operation of the CMVs after the 
livestock are unloaded from the vehicle.
    This exemption is only available to drivers transporting livestock 
as defined in the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988, as 
amended (the 1988 Act) [7 U.S.C. 1471(2)]. The term ``livestock'' as 
used in this exemption means ``cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, 
deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), 
fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary [of 
Agriculture] that (A) are part of a foundation herd (including dairy 
producing cattle) or offspring; or (B) are purchased as part of a 
normal operation and not to obtain additional benefits under [the 1988 
Act].'' The exemption is further limited to motor carriers that have a 
``satisfactory'' safety rating or are ``unrated''; motor carriers with 
``conditional'' or ``unsatisfactory'' safety ratings are prohibited 
from utilizing this exemption.

Accident Reporting

    Motor carriers must notify FMCSA by email addressed to 
MCPSD@DOT.GOV with 5 business days of any accident (as defined in 49 
CFR 390.5) that occurs while its driver is operating under the terms of 
this exemption. The notification must include:
    a. Name of the 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,
    e. Vehicle number and state license 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, 
motor carrier safety regulations, and
    j. The total driving time and total on-duty time prior to the 
accident.

Period of the Exemption

    This exemption from the 30-minute break requirement [49 CFR 
395.3(a)(3)(ii)] is effective during the period June 12, 2015, through 
June 12, 2017, unless withdrawn or restricted sooner.

Safety Oversight of Carriers Operating Under the Exemption

    FMCSA expects each motor carrier operating under the terms and 
conditions of this exemption to maintain its safety record. However, 
should safety deteriorate or credible and substantial public comment in 
opposition to the exemption be received, FMCSA will, consistent with 
the statutory requirements of 49 U.S.C. 31315, take all steps necessary 
to protect the public interest. Authorization of the exemption is 
discretionary, and FMCSA will immediately revoke the exemption of any 
motor carrier or driver for failure to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the exemption.

Preemption

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State may enforce 
any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this 
exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the 
exemption [49 U.S.C. 31315(d)].

    Issued on: June 4, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-14277 Filed 6-11-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EXP

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