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Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Application for Renewal of Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Application for Renewal of Exemption

Daphne Y. Jefferson
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
20 October 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 202 (Friday, October 20, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48887-48889]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22832]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0275]


Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); 
Application for Renewal of 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 the U.S. Department of 
Defense (DOD) Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 
(SDDC) exemption from the minimum 30-minute rest break provision of the 
Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) drivers contracted by SDDC for special activities. SDDC 
currently holds an exemption valid through October 27, 2018. The 
exemption renewal is for five years and allows SDDC contracted-drivers 
to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS rest break 
requirements, provided they do not perform any other work during the 
break. The terms and conditions of the current exemption remain in 
place for the five-year period.

DATES: The renewed exemption is effective through October 21, 2023. 
Comments must be received on or before November 20, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2013-0275 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     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. 
E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the exemption process, see the Public 
Participation heading below. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any

[[Page 48888]]

personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading 
below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time and in the box 
labeled ``SEARCH for'' enter FMCSA-2013-0275 and click on the tab 
labeled ``SEARCH.''
    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.
    Public Participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is available 
24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the ``help'' section 
of the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site. If you want us to notify 
you that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or postcard, or print the acknowledgement page that 
appears after submitting comments online.

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-2013-0275), 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-2013-0275'' 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 continue this exemption or not based 
on your comments.

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)).

III. Background

    On December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81133), FMCSA published a final rule 
amending its HOS regulations for drivers of property-carrying CMVs. The 
final rule adopted several changes to the HOS regulations including a 
new provision requiring drivers to take a rest break of at least 30 
minutes during the work day under certain circumstances.
    FMCSA did not specify when drivers must take the break, but the 
rule requires that they wait no longer than 8 hours after the last off-
duty period of 30 minutes or more to take it if they want to drive a 
CMV. Drivers who already take shorter breaks during the work day could 
comply with the rule by extending one of those breaks to 30 minutes. 
The new requirement took effect on July 1, 2013.

IV. Application for Renewal Exemption

    The SDDC manages the motor carrier industry contracts for the DOD. 
Certain motor carriers under contract to the SDDC provide protective 
services while transporting weapons, munitions, and sensitive/
classified cargo.
    SDDC's initial exemption application for relief from the HOS rest 
break requirement was submitted in 2013; a copy of the application is 
in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. That 
application describes fully the nature of the operations of SDDC's 
contracted drivers. FMCSA published a notice granting the exemption 
request on October 28, 2013 (effective October 22), and made it valid 
through October 21, 2015 (78 FR 64265). The Agency renewed the 
exemption on October 7, 2015 (80 FR 60740), with an expiration date of 
October 21, 2017. However, section 5206(b)(2)(A) of the Fixing 
America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act extended any HOS exemption 
in effect on the date of enactment of that Act for a period of 5 years 
from the date the exemption was granted. Because section 1003 of the 
FAST Act made the provisions of Division A (which includes section 
5206) retroactively effective to October 1, 2015, the original SDDC 
exemption, valid through October 21, 2015, was extended by operation of 
law for 5 years from the date it was granted, in other words through 
October 21, 2018.
    The SDDC requests renewal of a limited exemption from the HOS 
regulation pertaining to rest breaks [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)] to allow 
SDDC-contracted drivers providing dual driver-protective services to be 
treated the same as drivers transporting explosives. As provided in 
Sec.  395.1(q), operators of CMVs carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 
explosives subject to the requirement for a minimum 30-minute rest 
break in Section 395.3(a)(3)(ii) may use 30 minutes or more of 
``attendance time'' to meet the requirement for a rest break.

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

    SDDC states that it requires continuous attendance and surveillance 
of such shipments until they reach their final destination. SDDC states 
that it has

[[Page 48889]]

instituted several technical and administrative controls to ensure the 
efficient transportation of cargo requiring protective services, 
controls that would remain in effect under the requested exemption. 
They include the following:
     Conducting review of carrier compliance requirements and 
procedures for moving hazardous cargo.
     Evaluating carrier authority to operate on United States 
roadways.
     Evaluating carrier compliance with the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance Safety Accountability 
Program Safety Measurement System standards.
     Providing over-the-road vehicle surveillance.
     Inspecting carrier facilities and corporate headquarters 
for compliance with DOD and DOT standards.
    Further details regarding SDDC's safety controls can be found in 
its initial application for exemption. The application can be accessed 
in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. SDDC asserts 
that granting the exemption would allow driver teams to manage their en 
route rest periods efficiently and also perform mandated shipment 
security surveillance, resulting in both safe driving performance and 
greater security of cargo during long-distance trips.
    SDDC anticipates no safety impacts from this exemption and believes 
that its contract employee drivers should be allowed to follow the 
requirements in Sec.  395.1(q) when transporting shipments of sensitive 
DOD cargo. SDDC believes that shipments made under the requested 
exemption would achieve a level of safety and security that is at least 
equivalent to that which would be obtained by following the normal 
break requirement in Sec.  395.3(a)(3)(ii).
    SDDC indicated that approximately 1,942 power units and 3,000 
drivers would be covered by the exemption. The renewed exemption is 
effective for 5 years, the maximum period allowed by Sec.  381.300.

VI. Terms of the Exemption

    1. Drivers authorized by SDDC to utilize the exemption renewal, 
must have a copy of the exemption document in their possession while 
operating under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must 
be presented to law enforcement officials upon request.
    2. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have a 
``Satisfactory'' safety rating with FMCSA, or be ``unrated;'' motor 
carriers with ``Conditional'' or ``Unsatisfactory'' FMCSA safety 
ratings are prohibited from using this exemption.

Period of the Exemption

    The exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) is 
effective from 12:01 a.m., October 22, 2018, through 11:59 p.m., 
October 21, 2023.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is restricted to SDDC's contract driver-employees 
transporting security-sensitive materials. This exemption is limited to 
the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) and allows contract driver-
employees transporting security-sensitive materials to be treated the 
same as drivers transporting explosives, as provided in Section 
395.1(q). These drivers are required to comply with all other 
applicable provisions of the FMCSRs.

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.

FMCSA Accident Notification

    SDDC must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accidents (as 
defined by 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of its CMVs 
while utilizing this exemption. The notification must be by email to 
MCPSD@DOT.GOV, and include the following information:
    a. Name of the Exemption: ``SDDC'',
    b. Date of the accident,
    c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
which is closest to the scene of the accident,
    d. Driver's name and driver's license State, number, and class,
    e. Co-Driver's name and driver's license State, number, and class,
    f. Vehicle company number and power unit license plate State and 
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, 
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
    k. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV 
driver at the time of the accident.

In addition, if there are any injuries or fatalities, the carrier must 
forward the police accident report to MCPSD@DOT.GOV as soon as 
available.

Termination

    The FMCSA does not believe the drivers covered by this exemption 
will experience any deterioration of their safety record. However, 
should this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the 
public interest, including revocation or restriction of the exemption. 
The FMCSA will immediately revoke or restrict the exemption for failure 
to comply with its terms and conditions.

    Issued on: October 16, 2017.
Daphne Y. Jefferson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-22832 Filed 10-19-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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