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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Recreational Vehicles Topics:  Recreation Vehicle Industry Association

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption

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


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 34 (Tuesday, February 20, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7291-7292]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03367]



[[Page 7291]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0352]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle 
Industry Association Application for Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; renewal of exemption.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA reaffirms its renewal of the Recreation Vehicle Industry 
Association's (RVIA) exemption from the Federal commercial driver's 
license (CDL) requirements for drivers who deliver certain newly 
manufactured motorhomes and recreational vehicles (RV) to dealers or 
trade shows before retail sale (driveaway operations). The FMCSA 
announced its decision to renew RVIA's exemption on April 12, 2017, 
pending a review of any comments received in response to that notice. 
Three comments were submitted, none opposing the renewal. The Agency 
has determined that RVIA's operations may continue in accordance with 
the terms and conditions of the exemption renewal announced in April. 
The Agency believes that drivers who qualify for the exemption will 
maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the CDL 
requirements.

DATES: This renewed exemption expires on April 6, 2022.

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: 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

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-2014-0352 in the ``Keyword'' box and click 
``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and choose 
the document 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., ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. Legal Basis

    The FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to renew 
exemptions for up to 5 years if it finds that ``such exemption would 
likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater 
than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption'' (49 
U.S.C. 31315(b)(1)). The FMCSA evaluated RVIA's application on its 
merits and decided to renew the exemption from 49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)-(2) 
for a 5-year period, as previously announced in the Federal Register on 
April 12, 2017 (82 FR 17734).

III. Application for Renewal Exemption

    The RVIA requested renewal of an exemption from the CDL requirement 
under 49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)-(2) to allow drivers engaged in driveaway 
deliveries of RVs with gross vehicle weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or 
more not be required to have a CDL as long as the empty RVs have gross 
vehicle weights or gross combination weights that do not meet or exceed 
26,001 pounds, and any RV trailers towed by other vehicles weigh 10,000 
pounds or less. The initial exemption was granted on April 6, 2015 (80 
FR 18493) and expired on April 6, 2017.

V. Public Comments

    On April 12, 2017, FMCSA published its decision to grant a 5-year 
renewal (until 2022) of RVIA's original exemption, and asked for public 
comment (82 FR 17734). Three comments supported the exemption renewal; 
none opposed it. There were no opposing comments. Mr. Scott Munson in 
collaboration with Mr. Jack Alexander wrote, ``We believe a change to 
the wording of this regulation could add significant clarity to the 
portion describing required weight ratings.''
    An anonymous commenter stated that ``This exemption should be 
promulgated as an amendment to 49 CFR 383.3.''
    The American Truck Dealers Division of the National Automobile 
Dealers Association (ATD) also commented. The ATD wrote, ``In lieu of 
renewing the existing exemption, ATD petitions the FMCSA to issue a 
direct final rule amending its CDL applicability regulation (49 CFR 
383.3) to codify a permanent exception. In addition, ATD urges the 
FMCSA to expand the exemption/exception to cover all new and empty CMVs 
with actual unloaded (curb) weights or combination weights of less than 
26,000 lbs. As with RVs, an expanded exemption/exception would be 
limited to empty new vehicles, including trucks and tractors 
transported from vehicle manufacturer or importer facilities and 
holding areas to dealerships, and from dealerships to first 
purchasers.''
    All comments are available for review in the docket for this 
notice.

Response to Public Comments and Agency Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated the public comments, and affirms its 
decision to renew the exemption. The RVs covered by the exemption all 
have gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) above the 26,001-pound 
threshold for a CDL, but their actual weights, i.e., their gross 
vehicle weights (GVWs), will remain below that level during the 
driveaway or towaway operation of these vehicles. The Agency has held 
since 1993 that the CDL regulations do not apply to drivers of RVs, 
``if the vehicle is used strictly for non-business purposes'' [Guidance 
to Q. 3 under 49 CFR 383.3, 58 FR 60734, at 60735, Nov. 17, 1993; 
posted on www.fmcsa.dot.gov]. For decades private owners and drivers of 
larger RVs, like those addressed in this exemption, have operated 
without CDLs, often at GVWs well above the 26,001-pound threshold, 
without generating any concern among law enforcement professionals that 
they pose a risk to highway safety. Furthermore, most private RV owners 
almost certainly have less experience behind the wheel of the RV than 
drivers employed specifically to deliver such vehicles to a dealer or 
customer. While RVIA demonstrated that the manufacturers and dealers 
who now employ CDL-holders in driveaway/towaway operations have a 
recordable accident rate far below the level that

[[Page 7292]]

would require an unsatisfactory safety rating, the Agency's experience 
with private RV owners suggests that the absence of a CDL would have no 
discernible effect on safety. That is especially likely because the 
drivers covered by this exemption are required to comply with all other 
applicable safety regulations, including medical standards and hours-
of-service limits. The FMCSA continues to believe that it is 
impracticable for these drivers to obtain a CDL with a representative 
vehicle when the actual vehicle they will operate is an RV.
    With regard to ATD's recommendation to issue a direct final rule to 
make this exception permanent, FMCSA does not believe such an action is 
appropriate at this time.
    The Agency does not believe that drivers covered by this exemption 
will experience any deterioration of their safety record.
    Unless exempt motor carriers fail to maintain the terms and 
conditions specified in the April 12, 2017, decision, the exemption 
will remain in effect through April 6, 2022.

    Issued on: February 6, 2018.
Cathy F. Gautreaux,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-03367 Filed 2-16-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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