Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; C.R. England, Inc.
Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; C.R. England, Inc.
T.F. Scott Darling III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 11, 2015
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 112 (Thursday, June 11, 2015)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-14276]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0406]
Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption;
C.R. England, Inc.
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant C.R. England, Inc. (C.R.
England) an exemption from the provisions in 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that
require a commercial learner's permit (CLP) holder to be accompanied by
a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder with the proper CDL class
and endorsements, seated in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP
holder performs behind-the-wheel training on public roads or highways.
Under the terms and conditions of this exemption, a CLP holder who has
documentation of passing the CDL skills test may drive a commercial
motor vehicle for C.R. England without being accompanied by a CDL
holder in the front seat. The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as
part of a team and have the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 383
provides for C.R. England's team drivers with CDLs. C.R. England
believes that the exemption will allow these drivers to operate in a
way that benefits the driver, the carrier, and the economy as a whole
without any detriment to safety.
DATES: The exemption is effective from 12:01 a.m., June 11, 2015
through 11:59 p.m., June 12, 2017.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver
and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments submitted to the notice requesting public comments on the
exemption application, 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 Federal document
management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.
The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.
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 2 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
C.R. England is a carrier that transports temperature-sensitive
freight. It provides CDL training for its drivers in partnership with
Premier Truck Driving Schools in five locations (Burns Harbor, IN;
Dallas, TX; Fontana, CA; Richmond, IN; and Salt Lake City, UT). C.R.
England seeks an exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that would allow
CLP holders who have successfully passed a CDL skills test and are thus
eligible to receive a CDL, to drive a truck without a CDL holder being
present in the front seat. This would allow a CLP holder to participate
in a revenue-producing trip back to his or her State of domicile to
obtain the CDL document, as the CDL can only be issued by the State of
domicile in accordance with Part 383.
C.R. England advised that FMCSA is aware of the trucking industry's
need for qualified and well-trained drivers to meet increasing shipping
demands. C.R. England believes that 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) limits its
ability to efficiently recruit, train, and employ new entrants to the
industry. Prior to the implementation of section 385.25(a)(1), States
routinely issued temporary CDLs to drivers who passed the CDL skills
test. The temporary CDL allowed C.R. England time to route the new
driver to his or her State of domicile to obtain the permanent CDL and
place the new driver into an on-the-job training position with a
driver-trainer. The driver-trainer supervised and observed the new
driver, but was not required to be on-duty and in the front seat at all
times. Thus, the new driver became productive immediately, allowing
more freight movement for C.R. England and compensation for the new
C.R. England contends that compliance with the CDL rule prevents it
from implementing more efficient operations. The rule places C.R.
England in the untenable position of either sending the CLP holder home
without having hired him or her (because the person does not yet have a
CDL) with no assurance that the driver will remain with C. R. England
after obtaining the CDL; or, hiring the CLP holder and sending him or
her home in an unproductive non-driving capacity. Granting the
exemption would allow the CLP holder to drive as part of a team on that
trip, resulting in reduced costs and increased productivity.
C.R. England asserts that the exemption would be consistent with
the Agency's comments in the preamble to the final rule adopting Sec.
383.25 that ``FMCSA does not believe that it is safe to permit
inexperienced drivers who have not passed the CDL skills test to drive
unaccompanied.'' (76 FR 26854, 26861 May 9, 2011). The exemption sought
would apply only to those C.R. England drivers who have passed the CDL
skills test and hold a CLP. C.R. England believes that the exemption
would result in a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than
the level of safety provided under the rule. The only difference
between a CLP holder who has passed the CDL skills test and a CDL
holder is that the latter has received the actual CDL from a State
Driver Licensing Agency.
On November 28, 2014, FMCSA published notice of this application
and requested public comment (79 FR 70916). The Agency received 274
comments representing various transportation interests in response to
the proposed exemption. Eleven comments received in support of the
exemption were from AAA School of Trucking; American Trucking
Associations (ATA); C.R. England; Katlaw Truck Driving Schools; U.S.
Truck Driver Training School, Inc.; Utah Trucking Association; an
anonymous truck driver training school; and four individuals. Among the
respondents opposing the exemption were Advocates for Highway and Auto
Safety (Advocates); American Association of Motor Vehicle
Administrators (AAMVA); Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA);
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA); Apex CDL
Institute; and individual drivers and driver trainees. The Commercial
Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) and the California Trucking
Association (CTA) were among 6 respondents who did not indicate
opposition or support for the exemption. CVTA commented that before
considering C.R. England's exemption, the FMCSA must first clarify its
regulations regarding issuance of a CDL. The CTA submitted a petition
for an exemption to allow States the option to waive the domicile
requirements in 49 CFR 383.25(a)(2), 383.71(a)(2)(vi), and 384.212.
AAA School of Trucking commented that ``As a licensing center, we
see graduates all the time waiting for the plastic license to be
issued, when they are ready to drive. The extensiveness of the
training, which in our case is thorough regardless of licensing
concerns, still is irrelevant to the issue at hand.''
The ATA commented that ``Because such drivers have already
successfully passed both knowledge and skills tests, they could be
presumed to have demonstrated safety performance equally as safe as a
driver holding a CDL. Only formalities in the drivers' state of
domicile prevent the driver from already holding such a credential.
Therefore, ATA encourages FMCSA to grant the proposed exemption.''
C.R. England commented that ``The exemption is not seeking a
reprieve from any testing or training standards, but instead is seeking
to allow qualified drivers to begin providing for their families rather
than having to cut through unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.
Additionally, if the FMCSA believes that this exemption is more easily
and consistently enforced if the exemption applies to all similarly
situated drivers, C.R. England would support broadening the exemption
Katlaw Truck Driving Schools commented that ``All they are asking
is that an out of state candidate who passes the skills test is allowed
to go to work immediately as a licensed driver in the same way that an
in state candidate can.''
Utah Trucking Association commented that ``The exemption is merely
seeking to eliminate red tape and inefficiency.''
An anonymous respondent commented by stating ``I do not see a
reason why this exemption would not only be granted to C.R. England,
but to any other individual or carrier that is similarly situated.''
Mr. Matthew Crawford commented that ``I support the exemption
providing the company has a strong documentation in safety and
Advocates, AAMVA, APEX CDL Institute, CVSA, and OOIDA opposed the
exemption. The remaining 252 comments in opposition were from truck
drivers, truck driver-trainers, and individuals. These respondents do
not believe that it is safe for a CLP holder to operate a CMV without
the supervision of a CDL driver-trainer in the front seat of the truck.
Advocates commented that ``When a CDL holder is not in the front
seat of the truck observing the actions of the CLP holder, the driver
cannot provide the supervision as required by the federal regulation.
When not present in the front seat of the vehicle, the CDL holder is
not focused on the task of driving and cannot give the CLP holder
critical insight and advice specific to situations encountered by the
CLP holder during the trip. This type of unique guidance is invaluable
in teaching and training novice drivers, forming good driving habits
and can help prevent a crash.''
APEX CDL Institute commented that ``It has nothing to do with CRE's
shortage of drivers . . . it has everything to do with their running a
driver program consisting of indentured servants and their desire to
maintain control over them.''
AAMVA recommended that ``FMCSA not grant this exemption under the
determination that such an exemption would not achieve a level of
safety equivalent to the level that would be achieved by current
FMCSRs.'' ``AAMVA feels that any additional documentation requirements
would contribute to substantial cost being borne by the states,
additional administrative burden in issuing documentation to satisfy
the return trip to the State of domicile, and open the commercial
transportation network up to additional instances of document fraud.''
CVSA summarized its opposition to the exemption by stating that
``granting yet another regulatory exception only serves to confound law
enforcement and industry's understanding of the rules. Every exception
and change to regulations requires additional training for inspectors,
resulting in the potential for a higher level of confusion surrounding
the applicability of the regulations.''
OOIDA stated that ``OOIDA, as a general policy, does not believe
FMCSA should exempt large motor carriers from the agency's CDL
training-related regulations.'' OOIDA further stated that ``Given the
open nature of FMCSA's driver training rulemaking, it is certainly
conceivable that the issues raised by CRE in its exemption request
could be considered under that process, along with the broad scope of
issues covered under the process by which a new driver obtains a CDL.''
Mr. Roy Moore wrote that ``I think this proposal would be a grave
mistake. As a 27+ year driver I'd say putting someone with No practical
experience on the road without a trainer is a terrible mistake.''
Mr. Brian Riker, a former CDL examiner argued that ``It is not
advisable to allow a CDL permit holder to operate a vehicle without
direct, front seat supervision. This is a basic design function
incorporated since the inception of the CDL program. When you reduce
this to the most basic level, CR England wishes to have their
``trainer'' on their break in the sleeper berth, sleeping, so they may
be ready to drive when the student has run their hours out. How can
that be construed as training if the instructor is sleeping or
otherwise occupied and not directly observing and correcting the
students behavior?'' All comments are available for review in the
docket for this notice.
FMCSA Response and Decision
The premise of respondents opposing the exemption is that CLP
holders lack experience and are safer drivers when observed by a CDL
driver-trainer who is on duty and in the front seat of the vehicle. The
fact is that CLP holders who have passed the CDL skills test are
qualified and eligible to obtain a CDL. If these CLP holders had
obtained their training and CLPs in their State of domicile, they could
immediately obtain their CDL at the State driver licensing agency and
begin driving a CMV without any on-board supervision. There is no
quantitative data or other information that having a CDL holder
accompany a CLP holder who has passed the skills test improves safety.
Because these drivers have passed the CDL skills test, the only thing
necessary to obtain the CDL is to apply at the Department of Motor
Vehicles in their State of domicile.
FMCSA has evaluated C.R. England's application for exemption and
the public comments. The Agency believes that C.R. England's overall
safety performance as reflected in its
``satisfactory'' safety rating, will enable it to achieve a level of
safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety
achieved without the exemption (49 CFR 381.305(a)). The exemption is
restricted to C.R. England's CLP holders who have documentation that
they have passed the CDL skills test. The exemption will enable these
drivers to operate a CMV as a team driver without requiring the
accompanying CDL holder be on duty and in the front seat while the
vehicle is moving.
Terms and Conditions of the Exemption
Period of the Exemption
This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) is
effective during the period of June 11, 2015 through June 12, 2017. The
exemption will expire on June 12, 2017, 11:59 p.m. local time, unless
Extent of the Exemption
The exemption is contingent upon C.R. England maintaining USDOT
registration, minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not
being subject to any ``imminent hazard'' or other out-of-service (OOS)
order issued by FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must
maintain a valid driver's license and CLP with the required
endorsements, not be subject to any OOS order or suspension of driving
privileges, and meet all physical qualifications required by 49 CFR
During the period this exemption is in effect, no State may enforce
any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the
exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the
exemption (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)).
FMCSA Accident Notification
C.R. England 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. Date of the accident,
b. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or
which is closest to the scene of the accident,
c. Driver's name and driver's license number,
d. Vehicle number and State license number,
e. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
f. Number of fatalities,
g. The police-reported cause of the accident,
h. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws,
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
i. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV
driver at the time of the accident.
The FMCSA does not believe the CLP-holders covered by the 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 of the exemption. The FMCSA will
immediately revoke the exemption for failure to comply with its terms
Issued on: June 3, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
[FR Doc. 2015-14276 Filed 6-10-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
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