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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Daimler AG, Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
12 September 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 176 (Monday, September 12, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62790-62792]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-21836]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0032]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; 
Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Daimler Trucks North 
America's (Daimler) application for an exemption renewal for one 
Daimler driver to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in the United 
States without possessing a commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by 
one of the States. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard is the

[[Page 62791]]

head of the Daimler Trucks and Buses Division who will test-drive 
Daimler vehicles on U.S. roads to better understand product 
requirements for these vehicles in ``real world'' environments and 
verify results. He holds a valid German commercial license but lacks 
the U.S. residency necessary to obtain a CDL issued by one of the 
States. FMCSA believes that the process for obtaining a German-issued 
CDL is comparable to or is effective as the U.S. CDL requirements and 
ensures that this driver will likely achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be 
obtained in the absence of the exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective August 29, 2016, and expires August 
28, 2018.

ADDRESSES: 
    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 on-line FDMS is available 24 hours each 
day, 365 days each year.
    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: For information concerning this 
notice, please contact Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier 
Operations Division; Telephone: (614) 942-6477. 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:

I. Public Participation

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2012-0032 in the ``Keyword'' box and click 
``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and choose 
the document to review. If you do not have access to the Internet, you 
may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility 
in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. 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 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 5 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The 
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
    Section 5206(a)(3) of the ``Fixing America's Surface Transportation 
Act,'' (FAST Act), [Pub. L.114-94, 129 Stat.1312, 1537, Dec.4, 2015] 
amended 49 U.S.C. 31315(b) by adding a new paragraph (2) which permits 
exemptions for no longer than 5 years from their dates of inception, 
instead of the previous 2 years. This statutory provision will be 
codified in 49 CFR part 381 in a forthcoming rulemaking.

III. Request for Exemption

    Daimler requests a renewal of its exemption from 49 CFR 383.23, 
which prescribes licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in 
interstate or intrastate commerce, for the next 5 years for the chief 
executive of its Trucks and Buses Division. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, 
holds a valid German commercial license, but is unable to obtain a CDL 
in any of the U.S. States due to residency requirements. A copy of the 
request for renewal, dated February 22 and 23, 2016, is in the docket 
identified at the beginning of this notice.
    FMCSA initially granted an exemption to Dr. Bernhard on August 29, 
2014 (79 FR 51641). This exemption was effective August 29, 2014, and 
expires August 29, 2016. Detailed information about the qualifications 
and experience of Dr. Bernhard was provided by Daimler in its original 
application, a copy of which is in the docket. Renewal of the exemption 
will enable Dr. Bernhard to operate CMVs in interstate or intrastate 
commerce to support Daimler field tests designed to meet future vehicle 
safety and environmental requirements and to promote technological 
advancements in vehicle safety systems and emissions reductions. Dr. 
Bernhard needs to drive Daimler vehicles on public roads to better 
understand ``real world'' environments in the U.S. market. According to 
Daimler, Dr. Bernhard will typically drive for no more than 6 hours per 
day for 2 consecutive days, and that 10 percent of the test driving 
will be on two-lane state highways, while 90 percent will be on 
interstate highways. The driving will consist of no more than 200 miles 
per day, for a total of 400 miles during a two-day period on a 
quarterly basis. He will in all cases be accompanied by a holder of a 
U.S. CDL who is familiar with the routes to be traveled.
    Daimler has explained in prior exemption requests that the German 
knowledge and skills tests and training program ensure that Daimler's 
drivers operating under the exemption will achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety obtained by 
complying with the U.S. requirement for a CDL. Furthermore, according 
to Daimler, Dr. Bernhard is familiar with the operation of CMVs 
worldwide.

IV. Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    FMCSA has previously determined that the process for obtaining a 
German commercial license is comparable to, or as effective as, the 
requirements of part 383, and adequately assesses the driver's ability 
to operate CMVs in the U.S. Since 2012, FMCSA has granted Daimler 
drivers similar exemptions [May 25, 2012 (77 FR 31422); July 22, 2014 
(79 FR 42626); March 27, 2015 (80 FR 16511); October 5, 2015 (80 FR 
60220); December 7, 2015 (80 FR 76059); December 21, 2015 (80 FR 
79410)].

V. Public Comments

    On March 28, 2016, FMCSA published notice of this application and 
requested public comment (81 FR 17242). No comments were submitted.

[[Page 62792]]

VI. FMCSA Decision

    Based upon the merits of this application, including Dr. Bernhard's 
extensive driving experience and safety record, and the fact that he 
has successfully completed the requisite training and testing to obtain 
a German commercial license, FMCSA concluded that the exemption would 
likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than 
the level that would be achieved absent such exemption, in accordance 
with Sec.  381.305(a).

VII. Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    FMCSA grants Daimler and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard an exemption from 
the CDL requirement in 49 CFR 383.23 to allow Dr. Bernhard to drive 
CMVs in this country without a U.S. State-issued CDL, subject to the 
following terms and conditions: (1) The driver and carrier must comply 
with all other applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) (49 CFR parts 350-399); (2) the driver must 
be in possession of the exemption document and a valid German 
commercial license; (3) the driver must be employed by and operate the 
CMV within the scope of his duties for Daimler; (4) at all times while 
operating a CMV under this exemption, the driver must be accompanied by 
a holder of a U.S. CDL who is familiar with the routes traveled; (5) 
Daimler must notify FMCSA in writing within 5 business days of any 
accident, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, involving this driver; and (6) 
Daimler must notify FMCSA in writing if this driver is convicted of a 
disqualifying offense under Sec.  383.51 or Sec.  391.15 of the FMCSRs.
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the exemption will 
be valid for 5 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The exemption 
will be revoked if (1) Dr. Bernhard fails to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption results in a lower level 
of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) 
continuation of the exemption would be inconsistent with the goals and 
objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136.

VIII. Preemption

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

    Issued on: August 31, 2016.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-21836 Filed 9-9-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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