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Hours of Service of Drivers: National Tank Truck Carriers; Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  National Tank Truck Carriers

Hours of Service of Drivers: National Tank Truck Carriers; Application for Exemption

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
26 September 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 185 (Tuesday, September 26, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44871-44873]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-20525]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0270]


Hours of Service of Drivers: National Tank Truck Carriers; 
Application for Exemption

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 the 
National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc. (NTTC) requesting exemption from the 
requirement that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) obtain a 
30-minute rest break. The exemption would enable drivers engaged in the 
transportation of petroleum-based fuels to use 30 minutes of time 
attending the load to satisfy the 30-minute rest break requirement. 
FMCSA requests public comment on NTTC's application for exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 26, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2017-0270 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. ET, 
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. DOT posts all comments received without change to 
www.regulations.gov. This includes any personal information contained 
in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or

[[Page 44872]]

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, please contact Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier 
Operations Division; 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:

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-2017-0270), 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-2017-0270'' 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.

Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain 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 (up to 5 
years) and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The 
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Background

    The HOS rules require most interstate drivers to maintain a record 
of duty status (RODS) on board the CMV at all times. This record, or 
log, must reflect the driver's duty status on that date and for the 
preceding 7 (or in some cases, 8) days. However, the HOS rules provide 
an exception to this rule--the 100 air-mile radius exception (49 CFR 
395.1(e)(1)). This provision relieves CMV drivers of the duty to 
maintain a log if they remain within a 100 air-mile radius of the 
normal work reporting location during the duty day and return to the 
work-reporting location and quit work within 12 hours. The motor 
carrier must maintain at the principal place of business a record of 
the time the driver came on duty, the time the driver was released from 
duty, and the total number of hours the driver was on duty. The HOS 
rules include a requirement that drivers of property-carrying CMVs take 
a rest break of at least 30 minutes if 8 hours have passed since the 
end of the driver's last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 
30 minutes. However, the requirement to take a minimm 30 minute rest 
break does not apply to drivers operating within the 100 air-mile 
radius ``short haul'' exemption area.

Request for Exemption

    Applicant NTTC seeks exemption from the 30-minute rest break 
provision on behalf of motor carriers and drivers engaged in the 
transportation of petroleum-based products. While it estimates that 
38,000 tractors perform these operations daily, the number that would 
require the exemption would be much smaller. NTTC explains that most 
drivers engaged in the transportation of petroleum products by CMV 
qualify for the 100 air-mile exception and thus are not required to 
observe a 30-minute break. However, on rare occasions, a driver does 
not qualify for the 100 air-mile exception, usually because unexpected 
interruptions to the workday stretch the driver's duty day beyond the 
12-hour limit of that exception. When this occurs, the driver is 
required to go off duty for at least 30 minutes. However, even if the 
driver parks the CMV, he or she must attend it because it is an HM 
load, and a driver who is attending a load is not considered off duty. 
NTTC seeks exemption for these drivers to allow them to proceed without 
observing a 30-minute off-duty break. It asks that these drivers be 
able to designate a period of on-duty waiting time of at least 30 
minutes duration to satisfy the rest-break requirement, provided the 
only work performed during that time is attending the HM load. NTTC 
indicates that the typical workday of these drivers consists of loading 
petroleum fuel at one location and then delivering it to 3 or 4 service 
stations. Some, if not all, of these stops exceed 30 minutes, during 
which the driver is often only attending the load. NTTC describes this 
waiting time as restful because the driver is otherwise free to engage 
in activities such as eating and making personal phone calls.
    NTTC asserts that exemption for these drivers will result in a 
level of safety that is equivalent to that achieved without the 
exemption. It asserts that considerable time is required to locate a 
suitably secure location for parking an HM load so that the driver can 
go off duty. NTTC believes that the considerable, additional movement 
of the CMV for this purpose increases the risk of a crash. It also 
asserts that the safest approach is to keep the CMV moving toward its 
destination and cites two authorities for its position. It first

[[Page 44873]]

cites the Transportation Security Administration's warning to truckers 
that vehicles transporting HM are ``targets of choice'' for terrorists 
and thus should not be parked en route. Second, NTTC cites a regulation 
of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (US DOT) 
stating that ``[a]ll shipments of hazardous materials must be 
transported without unnecessary delay, from and including the time of 
commencement of the loading of the hazardous material until its final 
unloading at destination'' (49 CFR 177.800(d)). For these reasons, NTTC 
believes that its drivers should not be required to take a rest break 
when they discover that they are no longer eligible for the short-haul 
exemption.
    NTTC seeks exemption for the maximum period of 5 years. A copy of 
NTTC's application for exemption is available in the docket of this 
matter.

    Issued on: September 18, 2017
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-20525 Filed 9-25-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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