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Hours of Service of Drivers: CRST Expedited Inc., Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  CRST International

Hours of Service of Drivers: CRST Expedited Inc., Application for Exemption

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 20, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 161 (Thursday, August 20, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50712-50713]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-20569]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0261


Hours of Service of Drivers: CRST Expedited Inc., Application for 
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 CRST 
Expedited, Inc. (CRST) for an exemption from certain provisions of the 
Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. CRST proposes that its 
team drivers be granted an exemption from the HOS rules pertaining to 
use of a sleeper berth (SB). Current HOS rules require that all SB rest 
regimens include, in part, the regular use of a SB period for at least 
8 hours--combined with a separate period of at least 2 hours, either in 
the SB, off-duty or some combination of both--to gain the equivalent of 
at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. CRST proposes that its team 
drivers be allowed to take the equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off 
duty by splitting SB time into two periods totaling 10 hours, provided 
neither of the two periods is less than 3 hours. FMCSA requests public 
comment on CRST's application for exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2015-0261 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     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., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number. 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 www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov, and follow the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address 
listed above.
    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 Federal eRulemaking Portal is available 
24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can obtain electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the ``help'' section 
of the Federal

[[Page 50713]]

eRulemaking Portal Web site. If you want us to notify you that we 
received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped 
envelope or postcard, or print the acknowledgement page that appears 
after submitting comments online.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; 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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    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 
request.
    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

    CRST states that it operates one of industry's largest fleet of 
team drivers with 4,000 drivers and 1,931 vehicles. CRST delivers 
products to 48 states from a wide variety of customer locations. The 
company operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drivers are on duty 
an average of 48-52 hours per week. Drivers average between 42 and 44 
hours of driving time. Work normally consists of picking up loaded 
trailers at a customer location, driving to the destination and 
delivering the loaded trailer.
    According to CRST, the average driver team typically travels 
approximately 3,500 miles per week. CRST estimates that 75% of drivers 
obtain at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty while on the road each 
week. CRST operates on two- to three-week work cycles. Drivers report 
for work and are on the road typically 2 to 3 weeks and then return 
home for 4 to 5 days.
    CRST's tractors are equipped with double-bunk sleepers in the event 
both drivers need or want to rest at the same time. Drivers are allowed 
to make their own decisions about when and where to take short rest 
breaks based on their personal needs and preferences in conformance 
with regulatory requirements. CRST asserts that it takes safety, health 
and wellness seriously, and hires well-qualified drivers who go through 
a comprehensive orientation/new-hire training program. CRST's trucks 
are equipped with electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) that include 
electronic logs.
    CRST requests an exemption from the current regulations for its 
delivery shipment operations to eliminate the requirement that SB time 
include a period of at least 8 but less than 10 consecutive hours in 
the SB and a separate period of at least 2 but less than 10 consecutive 
hours either in the SB or off duty, or any combination thereof (49 CFR 
395.1(g)(1)(ii)(A)(1)). CRST proposes that its team drivers be allowed 
to split SB time into two periods totaling at least 10 hours, provided 
neither of the two periods is less than 3 hours in length. The request 
would be limited to drivers in team operations. CRST operates on an 
average day, 1,500 trucks and 3,000 drivers in team operations--two 
drivers taking turns operating the same truck. If granted the exemption 
would apply to this number of trucks and drivers.
    CRST states that many of their team drivers are newcomers to the 
trucking industry. Drivers have told CRST that driving an entire 10-11 
hour driving shift is too long and that they want the opportunity to 
switch with a partner more frequently. According to CRST, having the 
flexibility to switch with a partner allows each driver to take 
advantage of shorter time periods when they may feel fatigued. Further, 
splitting the SB time for both team drivers would allow each driver to 
obtain sleep during critical nighttime hours, which would provide more 
restorative sleep.
    CRST states that it is committed to maintaining its safety record 
by focusing on continuous improvement, promoting technologies to 
enhance safety, and having well-communicated policies in place to 
address both safety and compliance-related topics. CRST identified some 
countermeasures it would take to maintain safe operations if the 
exemption is granted. The safeguards would include, but not be limited 
to:
     Drive time would be reduced from 11 hours to 10 hours. 
Team drivers would be limited to 10 hours of driving prior to 
completing their required 10 hours total SB.
     Drivers use EOBRs to track their duty time and HOS 
compliance;
     All tractors are equipped with speed limiters; Company-
owned trucks are governed at 65 MPH; and
     Trucks brought into service in 2015 are equipped with 
collision-avoidance technology.
    CRST believes that by allowing its team drivers to exercise 
flexibility in their SB requirements, the drivers would experience more 
quality rest. To support its request for the exemption, CRST cited the 
results of an FMCSA-sponsored study entitled ``Investigation of the 
Effects of Split Sleep Schedules on Commercial Vehicle Driver Safety 
and Health'' by Belenky (2012). The report noted ``. . . that when 
consolidated nighttime sleep is not possible, split sleep is preferable 
to consolidated daytime sleep.'' (http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/51000/51200/51254/12-003-Split-Sleep_Investigation-of-the-Effects-of-Split-Sleep-Schedules-on-Commercial-Vehicle-Driver-Safety-and-Health-508.pdf)
    A copy of CRST's application for exemption is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment on CRST's application for an exemption from 
certain provisions of the driver's HOS rules in 49 CFR part 395. The 
Agency will consider all comments received by close of business on 
September 21, 2015. Comments will be available for examination in the 
docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice.

    Issued on: August 13, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-20569 Filed 8-19-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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