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Lease and Interchange of Vehicles; Motor Carriers of Passengers

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses

Lease and Interchange of Vehicles; Motor Carriers of Passengers

Daphne Y. Jefferson
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
16 June 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 115 (Friday, June 16, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27768-27769]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-12085]



Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 115 / Friday, June 16, 2017 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 27768]]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 390

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0103]
RIN 2126-AC04


Lease and Interchange of Vehicles; Motor Carriers of Passengers

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

ACTION: Proposal in response to petitions for reconsideration; request 
for public comments.

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SUMMARY: In response to petitions for reconsideration of the final rule 
on lease and interchange of passenger-carrying commercial motor 
vehicles (CMVs) published on May 27, 2015 and effective on July 27, 
2015, FMCSA intends to revise the regulations to address ``chartering'' 
(subcontracting) and the 48-hour delay in preparing a lease. FMCSA is 
requesting public comment on the proposed responses to the petitions 
discussed below. In a final rule published elsewhere in this issue of 
the Federal Register, FMCSA extends the compliance date for the 2015 
final rule from January 1, 2018, to January 1, 2019.

DATES: Comments on this document must be received on or before July 31, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Docket Number FMCSA-
2012-0103 using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
     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 or Courier: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Loretta G. Bitner, (202) 385-2428, 
loretta.bitner@dot.gov, Office of Enforcement and Compliance. FMCSA 
office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2012-0103), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. 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 mailing 
address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your 
document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding 
your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
put the docket number, FMCSA-2012-0103, in the keyword box, and click 
``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on the ``Comment Now!'' 
button and type your comment into the text box on 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.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this 
preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Insert the docket number, FMCSA-2012-0103, 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 by visiting the Docket 
Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the 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.

Privacy Act

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) solicits comments from the 
public to better inform its decision-making processes. 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.

Background

    During certain investigations and driver/vehicle inspections, FMCSA 
encounters passenger-carrying vehicles and drivers that are rented, 
loaned, leased, interchanged, assigned, or reassigned with few records 
and little formality, thus obscuring the identity of the party 
responsible for operational safety of these vehicles. To improve the 
safety of the travelling public, FMCSA published a final rule on May 
27, 2015, concerning the lease and interchange of passenger-carrying 
CMVs (80 FR 30164). The purpose of the rule is to identify the motor 
carrier operating a passenger-carrying CMV that is responsible for 
compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) 
and ensure that a lessor surrenders control of the CMV for the full 
term of the lease or temporary exchange of CMV(s) and driver(s). The 
Agency received 37 petitions for reconsideration which have been filed 
in the public docket (Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0103). Upon review of these 
requests, FMCSA concluded that some have merit. FMCSA, therefore, 
extended the compliance date of the final rule from January 1, 2017, to 
January 1, 2018 (82 FR 13998; March 16, 2016) to allow the Agency time 
to complete its analysis and amend the rule where necessary. After 
further review of the petitions, the Agency announced on August 31, 
2016, that it intended to consider changes to four aspects of the final 
rule and denied requests to reconsider other features of the rule (81 
FR 59951). The August 31 notice announced that a public roundtable 
would be held to discuss the four issues to be addressed by rulemaking. 
The roundtable was held on October 31, 2016.
    The petitions for reconsideration generally argued that FMCSA had 
taken a regulatory scheme from the trucking industry and applied it to 
the bus industry, which has an entirely different operating structure 
and liability regime. Moreover, the petitioners contend that 
application of these trucking regulations to the bus industry offers no 
additional protection to the public from illegal or unsafe bus 
operators. Instead, petitioners contend that the final rule simply adds 
administrative costs and reduces operational flexibility for bus 
operators.
    The most significant objection raised at the roundtable and by 
petitioners was that the 2015 final rule treated ``chartering'' 
(subcontracting) as equivalent to leasing. Petitioners contend that 
passenger carriers with FMCSA-issued active passenger carrier 
``operating authority'' registration (as

[[Page 27769]]

defined in 49 CFR 390.5) [hereafter abbreviated simply as ``operating 
authority''] have long subcontracted work to other carriers with 
operating authority to handle demand surges, emergencies, or events 
that require more than their own available capacity. Petitioners 
indicated that subcontractors with their own operating authority have 
traditionally assumed responsibility for their own vehicles and 
drivers. Under the 2015 rule, however, a passenger carrier that 
subcontracted work to a second carrier would be responsible for the 
second carrier's regulatory compliance. Petitioners claimed that making 
a carrier responsible for the subcontractor's vehicles, drivers, and 
liability would make most short-term subcontracts impossible.
    FMCSA believes that less burdensome regulatory requirements should 
be considered. Subjecting passenger carriers with operating authority 
to the full requirements of the leasing rule is not necessary. The 
Agency, therefore, intends to revise subpart F of 49 CFR part 390 to 
exclude ``chartering'' from the leasing requirements of that rule.
    The revisions would also extend the emergency 48-hour delay in 
preparing a lease authorized by 49 CFR 390.303(a)(2) and remove the 
requirement that passengers actually be on board a bus when the 
exemption occurs.
    FMCSA believes the changes mentioned above would enable the Agency 
to enhance its safety oversight of passenger carrier operations while 
implementing a less costly regulatory approach. The changes would be 
consistent with the intent of the 2015 final rule.

    Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: May 17, 
2017.
 Daphne Y. Jefferson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-12085 Filed 6-15-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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