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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From the International Institute of Towing and Recovery (IITR)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  International Institute of Towing and Recovery

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From the International Institute of Towing and Recovery (IITR)

Daphne Y. Jefferson
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
15 May 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 92 (Monday, May 15, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22372-22374]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-09738]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0111]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application 
for an Exemption From the International Institute of Towing and 
Recovery (IITR)

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant the International Institute of Towing 
and Recovery's (IITR's) application for a limited 5-year exemption to 
allow commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators to secure automobiles, 
light trucks, and vans using a total of four tiedowns--two fixed and 
two adjustable--instead of using a minimum of two tiedowns, both of 
which need to be adjustable. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) require each tiedown, or its associated

[[Page 22373]]

connectors or its attachment mechanisms to be adjustable, the Agency 
has determined that the use of four tiedowns to secure light vehicles, 
only two of which are adjustable, will (1) prevent lateral, forward, 
rearward, and vertical movement of the load when in transit, and (2) 
provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety provided by the regulation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Amina Fisher, Vehicle and 
Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle 
Safety, MC-PSV, (202) 366-2782, 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 5 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)).

IITR's Application for Exemption

    IITR applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.112 to allow CMV 
operators to secure automobiles, light trucks, and vans using a total 
of four tiedowns--two fixed and two adjustable--instead of using a 
minimum of two tiedowns, both of which are required to be adjustable. A 
copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the 
beginning of this notice.
    Section 393.112 of the FMCSRs, ``Must a tiedown be adjustable?,'' 
states ``Each tiedown, or its associated connectors, or its attachment 
mechanisms must be designed, constructed, and maintained so the driver 
of an in-transit commercial motor vehicle can tighten them. However, 
this requirement does not apply to the use of steel strapping.''
    Section 393.128 of the FMCSRs, ``What are the rules for securing 
automobiles, light trucks and vans?,'' states in paragraph (b)(1) that 
``Automobiles, light trucks, and vans must be restrained at both the 
front and rear to prevent lateral, forward, rearward, and vertical 
movement using a minimum of two tiedowns.''
    In its application, IITR states that the towing industry has 
adopted a securement method for light vehicles whereby two non-
adjustable tiedowns are attached to the rear of disabled vehicle, and 
then ``snugged up or adjusted by using the winch to remove any slack in 
the chains.'' Two adjustable chains are used to secure the front of the 
disabled vehicle to the transport vehicle, and ``as the front binder or 
ratchet is tightened up, it not only tightens up the front tiedown 
chain but the rear tiedown chain as well.'' IITR states that this 
securement system will prevent any lateral, forward, rearward, and 
vertical movement of the disabled vehicle, and that the four-point 
tiedown system exceeds the minimum tiedown requirements specified in 
the FMCSRs. Additional information is provided in the IITR application 
included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Public Comments

    On September 28, 2016, FMCSA published notice of the IITR 
application and requested public comment (81 FR 66728). The Agency 
received six comments, all in support of IITR's application. All 
commenters believe that the use of a four-tiedown system provides 
greater assurance that the transported vehicle will be properly secured 
to prevent lateral, forward, rearward, and vertical movement when 
compared to the minimally required two tiedowns permitted by the 
regulations. Mr. Peter O'Connell, commenting on behalf of the Towing 
and Recovery Association of America, the Conference of North-Eastern 
Towing Associations, and the Empire State Towing and Recovery 
Association, stated that ``A non-adjustable chain is also stronger than 
one with a ratcheting device, which is the weakest point of the 
securement--a factor to be considered in a head on collision with a 
heavy vehicle, such as a small truck or SUV on board.''

Discussion

    The FMCSRs, as currently written, do not prohibit the use of a 
four-tiedown system to restrain automobiles, light trucks and vans. 
Instead, the regulations require a minimum of two tiedowns, both of 
which must be adjustable. However, the Agency agrees with the 
commenters that the use of a four-point tiedown system consisting of 
two fixed tiedowns and two adjustable tiedowns will provide a level of 
safety that is equivalent to or greater than a system that uses two 
adjustable tiedowns. In the configuration described in the application, 
tensioning of the adjustable tiedowns on one end of the load via 
binders, ratchets, a winch, or the tilt of the vehicle bed will in turn 
provide a controlled tensioning of the other, fixed tiedowns. The use 
of four tiedowns in this manner will provide restraint of the 
transported vehicle in the lateral, longitudinal, and vertical 
direction as required by section 393.128(b)(1) of the FMCSRs. In 
addition, FMCSA notes that the use of a four-tiedown system wherein all 
four tiedowns are adjustable (as opposed to just two as suggested in 
the IITR exemption application) will provide proper securement.
    FMCSA notes that in addition to the cargo securement requirements 
of part 393, section 392.9(b)(2) of the FMCSRs requires every driver to 
inspect the cargo and the devices used to secure the cargo within the 
first 50 miles after beginning a trip and make adjustments to the cargo 
or load securement devices as necessary--including adding more 
securement devices--to ensure that the cargo cannot shift on or within 
or fall from the CMV. Further, section 392.9(b)(3) of the FMCSRs 
requires every driver to reexamine the cargo and its load securement 
devices during the course of transportation and make any necessary 
adjustment whenever (1) the driver makes a change of duty status, (2) 
the CMV has been driven for 3 hours, or (3) the CMV has been driven for 
150 miles, whichever occurs first.

FMCSA Decision

    FMCSA has evaluated the comments received in support of IITR's 
application. The Agency agrees that allowing the use of four tiedowns, 
at

[[Page 22374]]

least two of which are adjustable, to secure automobiles, light trucks 
and vans will prevent against lateral, forward, rearward, and vertical 
motion as required in 49 CFR 393.128. The Agency believes that this 
configuration will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a 5-year period, 
beginning May 15, 2017 and ending May 16, 2022. During the temporary 
exemption period, motor carriers will be allowed to use a four-tiedown 
system, at least two of which must be adjustable, to secure 
automobiles, light trucks and vans under 49 CFR 393.128. The exemption 
will be valid for 5 years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The 
exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Motor carriers and/or commercial 
motor vehicles fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the 
exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety 
than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the 
exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 
U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b).
    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that motor carriers who use two non-adjustable tiedowns in addition to 
the two required adjustable tiedowns are not achieving the requisite 
statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency 
will evaluate any such information and, if safety is being compromised 
or if the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 
U.S.C. 31136(e) and 311315(b), will take immediate steps to revoke the 
exemption.

Preemption

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31313(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 commerce that 
conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a 
firm or person operating under the exemption. States may, but are not 
required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in 
intrastate commerce.

    Issued on: May 8, 2017.
Daphne Y. Jefferson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-09738 Filed 5-12-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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