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Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Rail Delivery Services (RDS)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Rail Delivery Services (RDS)

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
7 July 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 129 (Friday, July 7, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31680-31682]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-14273]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0175]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Rail 
Delivery Services (RDS)

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

ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received an application from Rail 
Delivery Services (RDS) for an exemption to spare its drivers who stay 
within a 100 air-mile radius of their

[[Page 31681]]

normal work-reporting location but may occasionally return to that 
location more than 12 hours later, from the requirement to complete a 
record of duty status (RODS) for that day. RDS states that its fleet of 
commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are all equipped with a Global 
Positioning System (GPS) vehicle tracking device, which they believe 
justifies their request for this exemption and provides an equivalent 
or greater level of safety than would be obtained by complying with the 
regulations. FMCSA requests public comment on the RDS application for 
exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 7, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Number FMCSA-2017-0715 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. See the 
Public Participation and Request for Comments section below for further 
information.
     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.
     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: For information concerning this 
notice, contact Mr. Tom 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-2017-0175), 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 comments online, go to www.regulations.gov and put 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2017-0175'' 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 consider all comments and material received 
during the comment period and may grant or not grant this application 
based on your comments.

II. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions for up to 5 years from certain parts of the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). 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)).

III. Request for Exemption

    RDS is, according to its Web site at www.raildelivery.com, a 
``California-based intermodal trucking company moving freight, trailers 
and containers between railroads, ports, consignees and shippers, 
reliably and efficiently throughout California and adjacent states.'' 
RDS believes that all of its drivers--approximately 100-120--would 
operate under the terms of the requested exemption from the 12-hour 
limitation in the log-book exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1). On a weekly 
basis, RDS expects that about 15% of its drivers will return to their 
work reporting location more than 12 hours after coming on duty, due to 
waiting times at rail yards and shipper locations, while still 
operating within the required 100 air-mile radius. The drivers who 
occasionally exceed the 12-hour limitation nearly always return to the 
terminal within 14 hours.
    On average, less than .02% of RDS drivers exceed the daily 14-hour 
limit. A detailed report of hours worked is generated each morning, 
which is reviewed daily by dispatchers and the Safety Department. If a 
CMV is operated beyond the 14th hour, the departments work diligently 
to determine whether the truck was over the hours-of-service (HOS) 
limits, or utilized for personal conveyance. In virtually all of these 
cases, owner-operators are using their vehicles for personal 
conveyance, which is allowed by the HOS rules.
    According to RDS, at the present time, virtually all of its drivers 
operate within a 70- to 80-mile radius of their home terminal. They are 
home every day and for the most part meet the exemption requirements of 
the 100 air-mile radius

[[Page 31682]]

driver. Some of these drivers record their hours worked on an 
``exempt'' log. Other drivers complete a grid log, even though they 
meet the 100 air-mile radius exemption. Both types of paper logs are 
time consuming for the drivers and the Safety Department. For this 
reason, RDS has embarked on the use of a vehicle recording device, 
which has helped increase the company's safety performance. It 
accurately records all of the drivers' activities including on-duty 
time, driving time, and total hours for the day. RDS is using the 
Geotab 7 system, a global positioning system (GPS) that tracks the 
location of the vehicle.
    This electronic system allows for accuracy and ``real-time'' follow 
up. RDS believes that with this system it is improving the safety of 
the motoring public by ensuring that the drivers do not falsify their 
log books or operate when they are tired. Additionally, proactive 
measures have been implemented by RDS to improve highway safety. RDS 
states that the use of a daily log book or an ``exempt'' log does not 
enable the carrier to monitor and respond to these events in ``real-
time.'' Violations are discovered 12 to 24 hours later. However, with 
the electronic tracking system all departments see the events in 
``real-time'' and can respond immediately. This GPS system has allowed 
the Safety Department to reduce the time spent auditing log books after 
the fact.
    RDS believes that the use of the Geotab 7 system, along with their 
increased focus on driver training and education, goes beyond 
compliance with the Federal regulations. The system has allowed them to 
provide ``real time'' oversight of the company's safety program. Every 
time a driver exceeds posted speed limits an email alert is sent to the 
Safety Department, dispatchers, and terminal management. Drivers are 
notified via email and phone when safe to do so, advising them of the 
need to slow down. Drivers also receive email notifications, letters, 
and phone calls for instances of harsh cornering and hard braking. When 
notified of these critical events, RDS's drivers receive critical 
information on why and how to improve vehicle handling to avoid 
rollovers, and how to better judge following distance and other issues 
to avoid hard braking.
    RDS states that its procedures are designed to ensure that it 
leases only the highest caliber of drivers with a proven record of safe 
driving. RDS is committed to ensuring that its drivers operate in a way 
that protects the motoring public.

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

    If this exemption is granted, RDS proposes to implement the 
following conditions on its use of this exemption:
     Allow FMCSA and the State enforcement partners access to 
its data as both a monitoring and training tool. This would be provided 
to the Agency and State partners by granting them access at any time 
through RDS's web portal.
     RDS will maintain a Satisfactory safety rating.
     RDS drivers will carry a copy of the exemption with them 
when operating the CMV.
     RDS will conduct a minimum of four safety meetings per 
year.
     RDS will continue their ongoing immediate notification and 
training for any drivers who exceed a speed limit.
     RDS will continue its ongoing immediate notification and 
training for any drivers who exceed the HOS limits.
    A copy of the RDS application for exemption is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

    Issued on: June 27, 2017.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-14273 Filed 7-6-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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