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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Daimler AG, Michael Seitter

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
December 7, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 234 (Monday, December 7, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76059-76061]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30804]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0032]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; 
Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Daimler Trucks North 
America's (Daimler) application for an exemption to allow a Daimler 
employee to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in the United States 
without having a commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by one of the 
States. The driver, Michael Seitter, will test-drive Daimler vehicles 
on U.S. roads to better understand product requirements for these 
vehicles in ``real world'' environments and verify results. He holds a 
valid German commercial license but lacks the U.S. residency necessary 
to obtain a CDL issued by one of the States. FMCSA believes that the 
process for obtaining a German commercial license is comparable to or 
as effective as the U.S. CDL requirements and ensures that this driver 
will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater 
than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the 
exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective December 7, 2015 and expires 
December 7, 2017.

ADDRESSES: 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: Mrs. Pearlie Robinson, Driver and 
Carrier

[[Page 76060]]

Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety 
Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325, Email: MCPSD@dot.gov, Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590-0001. If you have questions on viewing material in the docket, 
contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2012-0032 in the ``Keyword'' box and click 
``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' button and choose the 
document listed to review. If you do not have access to the Internet, 
you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management 
Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT 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.

II. Background

    Since 2012, FMCSA has granted five Daimler drivers similar 
exemptions [May 25, 2012 (77 FR 31422); July 22, 2014 (79 FR 42626); 
August 29, 2014 (79 FR 516910); March 27, 2015 (80 FR 16511)]. Each of 
these drivers held a valid German commercial license but lacked the 
U.S. residency required to obtain a CDL. FMCSA has concluded that the 
process for obtaining a German commercial license is comparable to or 
as effective as the U.S. CDL requirements and ensures that these 
drivers will likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater 
than the level that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.

III. Legal Basis

    The Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) has the authority 
to grant exemptions from any of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) issued under chapter 313 or Sec.  31136 of title 
49, United States Code, to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief (49 
U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)). Prior to granting an exemption, the 
Secretary must request public comment and make a determination that the 
exemption is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, 
or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the 
absence of the exemption. Exemptions may be granted for a period of up 
to 2 years and may be renewed.
    The FMCSA Administrator has been delegated authority under 49 CFR 
1.87(e)(1) and (f) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary 
by 49 U.S.C. chapter 313 and subchapters I and III of chapter 311, 
relating, respectively, to the CDL program and to CMV programs and 
safety regulation.

IV. Daimler Application for Exemption

    Daimler applied for the same CDL exemption for Michael Seitter as 
for the previous five German drivers. Notice of the application was 
published on September 10, 2015 (80 FR 54655). Only one comment was 
received to the docket and the commenter neither opposed nor supported 
the exemption for Mr. Seitter. A copy of the Daimler request is in the 
docket identified at the beginning of this notice. The exemption allows 
Mr. Seitter to operate CMVs to support Daimler field tests to meet 
future vehicle safety and environmental requirements and to promote the 
development of technology and advancements in vehicle safety systems 
and emissions reductions. He will typically drive for no more than 6 
hours per day for 2 consecutive days, and 10 percent of the test 
driving will be on two-lane state highways, while 90 percent will be on 
interstate highways. The driving will consist of no more than 200 miles 
per day, for a total of 400 miles during a two-day period on a 
quarterly basis.
    Section 383.21 requires CMV drivers in the United States to have a 
CDL issued by a State. Mr. Seitter is a citizen and resident of 
Germany. Only residents of a State can apply for a CDL. Without the 
exemption, Mr. Seitter would not be able to test-drive prototype CMVs 
on U.S. roads.
    Mr. Seitter holds a valid German commercial license and is an 
experienced operator of CMVs. In the application for exemption, Daimler 
also submitted documentation showing his safe German driving record.

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

    According to Daimler, the requirements for a German-issued 
commercial license ensure that drivers meet or exceed the same level of 
safety as if these drivers had obtained a U.S. CDL. Mr. Seitter is 
familiar with the operation of CMVs worldwide and will be accompanied 
at all times by a driver who holds a U.S. CDL and is familiar with the 
routes to be traveled. FMCSA has determined that the process for 
obtaining a commercial license in Germany is comparable to that for 
obtaining a CDL issued by one of the States and adequately assesses the 
driver's ability to operate CMVs safely in the United States.

VI. FMCSA Decision

    Based upon the merits of this application, including Mr. Seitter's 
extensive driving experience and safety record, and the fact that he 
has successfully completed the requisite training and testing to obtain 
a German commercial license, FMCSA concluded that the exemption would 
likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than 
the level that would be achieved absent such exemption, in accordance 
with Sec.  381.305(a).

VII. Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    FMCSA grants Daimler and Mr. Michael Seitter an exemption from the 
CDL requirement in 49 CFR 383.23 to allow Mr. Seitter to drive CMVs in 
this country without a U.S. State-issued CDL, subject to the following 
terms and conditions: (1) The driver and carrier must comply with all 
other applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) (49 CFR parts 350-399); (2) the driver must be in 
possession of the exemption document and a valid German commercial 
license; (3) the driver must be employed by and operate the CMV within 
the scope of his duties for Daimler; (4) at all times while operating a 
CMV under this exemption, the driver must be accompanied by a holder of 
a U.S. CDL who is familiar with the routes traveled; (5) Daimler must 
notify FMCSA in writing within 5 business days of any accident, as 
defined in 49 CFR 390.5, involving this driver; and (6) Daimler must 
notify FMCSA in writing if this driver is convicted of a disqualifying 
offense under Sec.  383.51 or Sec.  391.15 of the FMCSRs.
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the exemption will 
be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The exemption 
will be revoked if (1) Mr. Seitter fails to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption results in a lower level 
of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) 
continuation of the exemption would be inconsistent with the goals and 
objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136.

VIII. Preemption

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(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 or intrastate 
commerce that conflicts with or is inconsistent with

[[Page 76061]]

this exemption with respect to a firm or person operating under the 
exemption.

    Issued on: November 25, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-30804 Filed 12-4-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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