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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From TowMate, LLC.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  TowMate

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From TowMate, LLC.

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 6, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 151 (Thursday, August 6, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47031-47032]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-19333]



[[Page 47031]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0238]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application 
for an Exemption From TowMate, LLC.

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

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

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
requests public comment on an application for exemption from TowMate, 
LLC (TowMate) to allow motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless 
temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary 
emergency towing operations in lieu of hard-wired temporary stop, tail, 
and turn signal lighting systems. Rechargeable wireless temporary 
emergency stop, turn, and tail lighting systems do not meet the power 
supply requirements for lamps in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSR) which require all required lamps, with the 
exception of battery-powered lamps used on projecting loads, to be 
powered by the electrical system of the motor vehicle. Based on 
improvements in light-emitting diode (LED) technology, coupled with 
advancements in battery technologies, TowMate believes that 
rechargeable wireless tow lighting systems will maintain a level of 
safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety 
achieved without the exemption. TowMate is requesting the temporary 
exemption in advance of petitioning FMCSA to conduct a rulemaking to 
amend 49 CFR 393.23.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 8, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2015-0238 using any of the 
following methods:
     Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket 
site.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Ground Floor, Room W12-140, DOT Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 
e.t., Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number for this notice. For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the exemption process, see the 
``Public Participation'' heading below. Note that all comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided. Please see the ``Privacy Act'' 
heading for further information.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to Room W12-140, 
DOT Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    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.
    Public participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is 
generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You may find 
electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the 
``help'' section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site as well as 
the DOT's http://docketsinfo.dot.gov Web site. If you would like 
notification that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgment 
page that appears after submitting comments online.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke Loy, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC-
PSV, (202) 366-0676, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA- 21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). On August 20, 
2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 
4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must 
provide the public with 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 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)). If the Agency denies the request, it must 
state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the 
exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons 
receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from 
which an exemption is granted. The notice must 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 
381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

TowMate's Application for Exemption

    TowMate has applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.23 to allow 
motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, 
and tail lighting systems during temporary emergency towing operations. 
Such systems do not comply with the requirement that all required 
lamps, with the exception of battery powered lamps used on projecting 
loads, must be powered by the electrical system of the motor vehicle. A 
copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the 
beginning of this notice.
    Section 393.23 of the FMCSRs, ``Power Supply for lamps,'' provides 
``All required lamps must be powered by the electrical system of the 
motor vehicle with the exception of battery powered lamps used on 
projecting loads.''
    In its application, TowMate states:

    TowMate is making this request because the use of conventional 
hard wired temporary stop, turn, and tail lights has many drawbacks 
that wireless tow lights solve. These include broken connections, 
frayed wires, burnt out incandescent bulbs, and the potential to be 
snagged or pulled from the tow light receptacle due to improper 
running of wires, and road hazards, along with the safety hazard of 
increasing the amount of time spent on the roadside or the scene of 
an accident by stringing wired lighting systems between vehicles and 
securing the wires.

[[Page 47032]]

With the advent of LED technology coupled with advancements in 
battery technologies, wireless tow lights are more reliable and 
better equipped for the rigors of daily temporary use.
    Temporary wireless stop, turn, tail lighting systems can operate 
for 10+ hours of continuous use on a full charge, and in-cab wire-
less monitoring systems give the driver constant information on the 
functioning of the system, displaying state of charge of the battery 
inside the unit, displaying the functioning of the system during 
operation, and warning the driver if the unit is no longer 
functioning. In this sense, wireless tow lights provide a level of 
safety and redundancy that is not currently required on wired 
temporary lighting systems. In an emergency situation with a drained 
battery, power can be directly connected to the temporary wireless 
stop, turn, and tail lighting system from a standard 4 pin or 7 pin 
electrical connection.
    Without the proposed temporary exemption, tow and haul away 
operators will be forced to continue to use cumbersome wired 
temporary towing light systems, placing an unnecessary burden on 
their daily operations. The current temporary lighting requirements 
for stop, tail, and turn lamps require that the lamps receive their 
power from a direct wired connection to the towing vehicle with no 
ascertainable benefit from doing such. Wireless tow lights afford 
benefits that wired systems are unable to, such as redundancies like 
monitoring the status of the unit in real time, thus assuring their 
proper operation at all times.

    The exemption would apply to all motor carriers using rechargeable 
wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems. TowMate 
believes that use of rechargeable wireless tow lighting systems will 
maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety achieved without the exemption.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on TowMate's application for 
an exemption from 49 CFR 393.23. All comments received before the close 
of business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of 
this notice will be considered and will be available for examination in 
the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed 
in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. 
In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the 
public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the 
comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine the 
public docket for new material.

    Issued on: July 24, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-19333 Filed 8-5-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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