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Commercial Driver's License Standards; Waiver for States To Facilitate the Issuance of Licensing Documents to Former Residents of Puerto Rico


American Government Trucking

Commercial Driver's License Standards; Waiver for States To Facilitate the Issuance of Licensing Documents to Former Residents of Puerto Rico

Cathy F. Gautreaux
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
20 February 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 34 (Tuesday, February 20, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7289-7290]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03362]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Commercial Driver's License Standards; Waiver for States To 
Facilitate the Issuance of Licensing Documents to Former Residents of 
Puerto Rico

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

ACTION: Notice; grant of waiver.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA grants a limited 90-day waiver from certain requirements 
concerning proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence and 
domicile to enable State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to accept 
commercial learner's permit (CLP) and commercial driver's license (CDL) 
applications from individuals relocating from Puerto Rico as a result 
of hurricanes Irma and Maria. This action is being taken in response to 
a request from the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) to 
assist residents of Puerto Rico relocating from the U.S. territory to 
any of the States in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. 
Through this waiver, the SDLAs may follow the Department of Homeland 
Security's exception process for persons who, for reasons beyond their 
control, are unable to present proof of legal permanent residency or 
U.S. citizenship. Further, this waiver provides a procedure under which 
persons who intend to domicile in the State of application may receive 
additional time to provide proof establishing that the State of 
application is the State of domicile. A CLP document issued under this 
waiver may not be valid for more than 90 days and must require the 
applicant to be actively enrolled in a CDL training school within that 
State. A CDL document issued under this waiver may not be valid for 
more than six months, by which time the individual is required to 
provide proof as required under existing regulations that the State 
that issued the CDL is his/her State of domicile. All other CLP and CDL 
licensing requirements must be satisfied upon initial issuance of the 
CLP or CDL. The Agency has determined that the waiver is within the 
public interest and would likely achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by 
complying with the regulation, based on the terms and conditions 
imposed.

DATES: This waiver is applicable February 20, 2018 and expires on May 
21, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nikki McDavid, Chief of the 
Commercial Driver's License Division, Office of Safety Programs, 202-
366-0831, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Legal Basis

    The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (Pub. 
L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998) provides the Secretary of 
Transportation (the Secretary) the authority to grant waivers from any 
of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) issued under 
Chapter 313 of Title 49 of the United States Code or 49 U.S.C. 31136, 
to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief. 49 U.S.C. 31315(a). The 
Secretary must make a determination that the waiver is in the public 
interest, and that it 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 waiver. Individual waivers may only be 
granted for a specific unique, non-emergency event, for a period up to 
three months. TEA-21 authorizes the Secretary to grant waivers without 
requesting public comment, and without providing public notice.
    The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated authority under 49 
CFR 1.73(g) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary by 49 
U.S.C. chapter 311, subchapters I and III, relating to commercial motor 
vehicle programs and safety regulation.

Background

    The FMCSA received an application for both a waiver and an 
exemption from the CVTA. The CVTA requested relief from FMCSA's CDL 
requirements concerning proof of U.S. citizenship and domicile in the 
State that issues the CLP or CDL to enable citizens of Puerto Rico to 
seek training at commercial driving schools in any of the 50 States or 
the District of Columbia. Elsewhere in today's issue of the Federal 
Register FMCSA seeks public comment on CVTA's exemption application.
    Currently, FMCSA requires individuals seeking a CLP or CDL to 
provide the State of application proof of citizenship or legal 
permanent residency. The FMCSRs include a list of

[[Page 7290]]

acceptable documents States may accept as proof of citizenship or legal 
permanent residency (see Table 1 to 49 CFR 383.71). FMCSA also requires 
each person to provide proof that the State to which the CLP or CDL 
application is submitted is his/her State of domicile. The State must 
require compliance with the standards for establishing proof of 
citizenship or legal permanent residency, and domicile.
    In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, a number of 
residents of Puerto Rico have or will soon relocate from the U.S. 
Territory to one of the States. Some of these residents may wish to 
pursue a career as a commercial motor vehicle driver upon arrival in 
any of the States. However, because of the hurricanes, these 
individuals may not possess certain documents otherwise necessary to 
establish U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency under the CLP 
and CDL regulations. Similarly, the former residents impacted by the 
hurricanes may not be immediately capable of providing documentation 
establishing domicile within the application State under the CLP and 
CDL regulations.

CVTA's Request

    The CVTA requests that FMCSA provide a limited 90-day waiver 
allowing the SDLAs the same flexibility that the DHS provides in its 
Real ID rules (see 6 CFR 37.11(h)), when, for reasons beyond their 
control, an applicant for a Real ID is unable to present necessary 
documents and must rely on alternate methods to establish identity. The 
CVTA also asks FMCSA to issue a waiver allowing CLP candidates to 
provide a temporary address for the purposes of obtaining the CLP and 
CDL. The organization suggests that States limit the duration of the 
CDL document to 6 months before it must be renewed and require a long-
term or permanent address at that time. CVTA argues that the 
limitations of the waiver would achieve the requisite level of safety 
by preventing individuals from maintaining a CDL with no known 
permanent address.

FMCSA Decision

    FMCSA has reviewed the CVTA request and DHS' exception process in 6 
CFR 37.11(h)) and concluded that the waiver is needed to address the 
unique, non-emergency situation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. 
The aftermath of those hurricanes resulted in a significant number of 
citizens of Puerto Rico relocating to various States. While FMCSA's 
rules under 49 CFR part 383 do not include an exception process for 
proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence for individuals 
seeking a CLP or CDL, the Agency believes the DHS exception process in 
6 CFR 37.11(h) provides a proven alternative for use in dealing with 
individuals who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to 
present the required documents and must rely on alternate methods to 
establish U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence. Because the 
exception process has been proven effective by DHS and the States, 
FMCSA believes the waiver would achieve the requisite level of safety 
provided by complying with 383.71(a)(2)(v), 49 CFR 383.71(b)(9), 49 CFR 
383.73(a)(2)(vi), and 49 CFR 383.73(b)(6) concerning proof of U.S. 
citizenship or legal permanent residence.
    Because the initial relocation from Puerto Rico would take place 
shortly before the drivers begin the training necessary to obtain a 
CLP, these individuals likely will be unable to provide the 
documentation necessary to establish a ``State of domicile'' as defined 
in 49 CFR 383.5 prior to the completion of the CDL training program and 
the acceptance of a job driving commercial motor vehicles. The CVTA's 
request suggests a 6-month period for those individuals obtaining a CDL 
to provide proof of permanent domicile within a State, subsequently 
updating the CDL record with a permanent address and thereby satisfying 
the domicile requirements. FMCSA believes the 6-month limitation, the 
States' use of the DHS exceptions for these CDL applicants to provide 
legal permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, and the other conditions 
stated below would achieve the requisite level of safety that would 
otherwise be provided by requiring proof of domicile at the time of 
application under 49 CFR 383.71(a)(2)(vi), 49 CFR 383.71(b)(10), 49 CFR 
383.73(a)(2)(vi), and 49 CFR 383.73(b)(6).

Terms and Conditions of the Waiver

    FMCSA grants former residents of Puerto Rico relocating as a result 
of hurricanes Irma and Maria a limited 90-day waiver from 49 CFR 
383.71(a)(2)(v) and 383.71(b)(9) concerning proof of U.S. citizenship 
or legal permanent residence. FMCSA also grants SDLA's a limited 90-day 
waiver from 49 CFR 383.73(a)(2)(vi) and 383.73(b)(6) concerning proof 
of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence. SDLAs choosing to 
assist Puerto Rican citizens under this waiver must follow DHS's 
exception process.
    FMCSA grants former residents of Puerto Rico relocating as a result 
of hurricanes Irma and Maria, a limited 90-day waiver from the 
requirement to provide proof of domicile at the time of application 
under 49 CFR 383.71(a)(2)(vi) and 383.71(b)(10). FMCSA also grants 
SDLAs a limited 90-day waiver from 49 CFR 383.73(a)(vi), 383.73(b)(6) 
and authorizes them to extend the time within which an applicant must 
provide proof of domicile and issue a CLP or CDL under the limitations 
set forth in this waiver. Under this waiver, at the time of 
application, the CLP applicant must be actively enrolled in a CDL 
training school within the State of application and provide proof of 
that enrollment. A CLP document issued under this waiver may not be 
valid for more than 90 days. The CLP must include all other CLP 
regulatory requirements. Should any individual with a CLP granted under 
this waiver leave the training program for any reason prior to earning 
a CDL, the CLP shall be cancelled by the SDLA immediately. The SDLA 
shall be responsible for implementing any procedures within the State 
to ensure compliance with this requirement.
    A CDL issued under this waiver is limited to six months validity 
and may not be renewed unless the State complies with 383.73(b)(6) and 
requires the individual to comply with 49 CFR 383.71(a)(2)(vi) by 
providing proof that the State to which the application is made is the 
applicant's State of domicile as defined by 383.5. The SDLA must submit 
to MCPSD@dot.gov a list of all individuals who are issued CLPs or CDLs 
under the terms and conditions of this waiver, on a monthly basis. The 
SDLA must comply with all other requirements of parts 383.71 and 
383.73.
    This waiver is applicable February 20, 2018 through May 21, 2018.

Safety Considerations

    Considering the limited period of this waiver, the fact that it 
does not alter any of the knowledge and skills testing requirements for 
obtaining a CDL, and the conditions set forth above, the Agency has 
determined that the waiver is likely achieve a level of safety 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by 
complying with the current regulations.

    Issued on: February 9, 2018.
Cathy F. Gautreaux,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-03362 Filed 2-16-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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