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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Recreational Vehicles Topics:  Recreation Vehicle Industry Association

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption

Daphne Y. Jefferson
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
12 April 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 69 (Wednesday, April 12, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17734-17736]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07315]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0352]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle 
Industry Association Application for 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 a 2015 exemption from 
the Federal commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements for drivers 
who deliver certain newly manufactured motorhomes and recreational 
vehicles (RVs) to dealers or trade shows before retail sale (driveaway 
operations). The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) 
requested that the exemption be renewed because compliance with the CDL 
requirements prevents its members from implementing more efficient 
operations due to a shortage of CDL drivers. The exemption renewal is 
for five years and covers employees of all U.S. driveaway companies, RV 
manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs between manufacturing 
sites and dealer locations and for movements prior to first retail 
sale. Drivers engaged in driveaway deliveries of RVs with gross vehicle 
weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more will not be required to have a 
CDL as long as the empty RVs have gross vehicle weights or gross 
combination weights that do not meet or exceed 26,001 pounds, and any 
RV trailers towed by other vehicles weigh 10,000 pounds or less. RV 
units that have a combined gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds 
are not covered by the exemption.

DATES: This renewed exemption is effective April 6, 2017 and expires on 
April 6, 2022. Comments must be received on or before April 27, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2014-0352 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online 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-

[[Page 17735]]

140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 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 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: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver 
and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; 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 and Request for Comments

    FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and 
related materials.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2014-0352), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which the comment applies, and provide a reason for 
suggestions or recommendations. You may submit your comments and 
material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only 
one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a 
mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of 
your document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions 
regarding your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to www.regulations.gov and put 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2014-0352'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and 
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment 
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following 
screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual 
or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your 
comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no 
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they 
reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard 
or envelope. FMCSA will review all comments received and determine 
whether the renewal of the exemption is consistent with the 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e). Comments received after 
the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be 
considered to the extent practicable.

II. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from the certain portions 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 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 the 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)).

Application for Renewal Exemption

    The RVIA's initial exemption application from the provisions of 49 
CFR 383.91(a)(1)-(2) was submitted in 2014; a copy of the application 
is in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. The 2014 
application describes fully the nature of the RV deliveries by 
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The exemption was originally 
granted on April 6, 2015 (80 FR 18493).
    The RVIA requests renewal of an exemption from the requirement 
under 49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)-(2) to hold a CDL when transporting RVs with 
an actual vehicle weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination 
of RV trailer/tow vehicle with the actual weight of the towed unit not 
exceeding 10,000 pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 
26,000 pounds. In other words, RVIA requested that CDLs not be required 
for driveaway operations of single or combination vehicles with a gross 
vehicle weight rating at or above 26,001 pounds, as long as the actual 
weight of the vehicle or combination is below 26,001 pounds. RV units 
that have a ship weight and combined gross vehicle weight exceeding 
26,000 pounds would not be covered by the exemption. RVIA contends that 
compliance with the CDL rule prevents its members from implementing 
more efficient operations due to a shortage of drivers who hold a CDL. 
RVIA asserts that FMCSA should look at the actual weight of the RV when 
it is manifested as empty and should not require a CDL during the short 
time the RV is not loaded, does not carry freight, and is transported 
from the factory where it is manufactured, or from a holding area, to a 
dealership site.
    In its initial application, RVIA contended that a shortage of 
drivers with CDLs had a significant impact on the RV industry, which 
was just recovering from the 2008-2009 economic downturn. A large 
percentage of RV sales occur during the spring buying season. The jump 
in RV shipments trends stronger each month, increasing consistently 
from February through June. These excess units regularly accumulate in 
RV transporters' yards. It is in this period that there is insufficient 
commercial driver capacity for RV transportation. The seasonal 
commercial driver shortage creates delays in the delivery of product to 
consumers and potentially reduces the RV sales. Consumers who wish to 
purchase an RV may have to wait weeks or months to receive delivery of 
their purchase because there are not enough drivers with CDLs to 
transport the vehicles from the factory to the dealership, especially 
since each RV must be individually transported. While these delays are 
costly and inconvenient to the RV industry and consumers, the greater 
costs result in potential lost sales to consumers who are unwilling to 
wait for their purchase.
    RVIA states that the exemption would apply to all individuals who 
are

[[Page 17736]]

employees of driveaway-towaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV 
dealers. RVIA contends that, due to the class nature and the number of 
parties that would be affected by the exemption, it is not feasible or 
practicable to provide the names of individuals or transporters 
responsible for use or operation of these CMVs.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    RVIA contends that if the exemption were granted, the level of 
safety associated with transportation of RVs from manufacturers to 
dealers would likely be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of 
safety obtained by complying with the CDL requirements for the 
following reasons:
     On average, drivers employed by RV manufacturers and 
dealers to deliver RVs have substantially more experience operating RVs 
than a typical driver operating an RV for recreational purposes. RVIA 
noted that owners of these RVs are not required to hold a CDL when 
operating them for non-business purposes.
     According to RVIA, an analysis using the FMCSA Safety 
Measurement System revealed that the majority of RV driveaway-towaway 
companies' accident frequency average is far less than the national 
benchmark average. Further details are provided in the RVIA exemption 
application, which is contained in the docket for this notice.
     Compared to drivers using RVs for recreational purposes, 
RV manufacturers and driveaway-towaway companies have substantially 
greater economic incentive to systematically train, monitor and 
evaluate their RV drivers with respect to safe operation of RVs because 
of the substantially greater number of miles they run, and the 
corresponding exposure to liability for any traffic accidents.
     As with any new motor vehicle, newly manufactured RVs are 
much less likely to present a safety concern due to mechanical 
failures.
     Travel distances between the manufacturing sites and 
dealer locations are on average much shorter than typical distances 
which RVs travel when in recreational use, and the highway presence of 
RVs transported from manufacturers to dealers is negligible even during 
the peak spring delivery season.
    RVIA asserts that without the exemption, drivers making deliveries 
of new RVs with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 26,000 
pounds, or a gross combination weight rating exceeding 26,000 inclusive 
of a towed vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or higher, will remain 
subject to CDL requirements even though end-users of RVs purchasing 
them from dealers in the same States would not be subject to those 
requirements and regulations. This anomalous situation would continue 
to materially curb the growth of the RV industry without a 
countervailing safety or other benefit to the public. In particular, RV 
manufacturers and dealers would continue to experience a shortage of 
CDL operators during the busy spring season.

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption
    This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)-(2) is 
effective April 6, 2017 through April 6, 2022, 11:59 p.m. local time, 
unless renewed.
Extent of the Exemption
    The exemption is restricted to employees of driveaway-towaway 
companies, RV manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs between 
the manufacturing site and dealer location and for movements prior to 
first retail sale. Drivers covered by the exemption will not be 
required to hold a CDL when transporting RVs with a gross vehicle 
weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination of RV trailer/tow 
vehicle with the gross weight of the towed unit not exceeding 10,000 
pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds. These 
drivers must comply with all other applicable provisions of the Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
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
    Exempt motor carriers must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of 
any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any of its CMVs 
operating under the terms of this exemption. The notification must 
include the following information:
    (a) Name of the exemption: ``RVIA''
    (b) Name of the operating motor carrier,
    (c) Date of the accident,
    (d) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
closest to the accident scene,
    (e) Driver's name and license number,
    (f) Vehicle number and State license number,
    (g) Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    (h) Number of fatalities,
    (i) The police-reported cause of the accident,
    (j) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
motor carrier safety regulations, and
    (k) 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 drivers covered by this exemption will 
experience any deterioration of their safety record.
    Interested parties or organizations possessing information that 
would otherwise show that any or all of these motor carriers are not 
achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately 
notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any information submitted and, 
if safety is being compromised or if the continuation of the exemption 
is inconsistent with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA will 
immediately take steps to revoke the exemption of the company or 
companies and drivers in question.

    Issued on: April 5, 2017.
Daphne Y. Jefferson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-07315 Filed 4-11-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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