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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  CRST

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited

Raymond P. Martinez
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
19 October 2018

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 203 (Friday, October 19, 2018)]
[Pages 53149-53150]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-22836]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0480]

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; 
CRST Expedited

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew CRST Expedited (CRST) 
exemption from the regulation that requires 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 (CMV) 
for CRST without being accompanied by a CDL holder in the front seat of 
the vehicle. The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as part of a 
team with the same regulatory flexibility as CRST team drivers with 
CDLs. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public 
comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms 
and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent 
such exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective September 23, 2018 and expires 
September 24, 2023.

Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: (202) 366-4225. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If 
you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, 
contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.


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-2015-0480, 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., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b) 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 
    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)).

III. Request for Exemption

    CRST's initial exemption application from the provisions of 49 CFR 
383.25(a)(1) was submitted in 2015; a copy is in the docket identified 
at the beginning of this notice. The 2015 application described fully 
the nature of the CRST's operations and CMV drivers. The exemption was 
originally granted on September 23, 2016 (81 FR 65696) for a two-year 
period. CRST now requests a renewal of the exemption.
    The current exemption excuses CRST from the requirement that a 
driver accompanying a CLP holder must be physically present at all 
times in the front seat of a CMV, on the condition that the CLP holder 
has successfully passed an approved CDL skills test. CRST's 2015 
application argued that the existing requirement is inefficient and 
unproductive, as the company must incur added expense to send the 

[[Page 53150]]

to his or her home State to collect a CDL document. Under the rule, the 
driver is not only unable to utilize newly acquired driving skills, but 
must also forego compensation before obtaining a CDL. CRST believes 
that FMCSA should renew the exemption for an additional 5-year period 
because it results in safer drivers. It allows CRST to foster a more 
productive and efficient training environment by allowing CLP holders 
to hone their recently acquired driving skills through on-the job-
training and to begin earning an income right away, producing immediate 
benefits for the driver, the carrier, and the economy as a whole.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    CRST states that the exemption does not negatively affect safety 
outcomes. Instead, the exemption allows drivers trained out-of-State to 
obtain on-the-job experience in CRST's comprehensive training program 
while avoiding significant delays and skill degradation. The exemption 
creates immediate economic and safety benefits for both the CLP holders 
and CRST--drivers earn an income as part of a team operation while 
improving their driver skills and gaining valuable experience.
    CRST indicated in its renewal application that data show that 
drivers utilizing the exemption demonstrated better safety outcomes 
than non-exempt drivers. Through the end of 2017, CRST reported zero 
accidents to FMCSA involving drivers utilizing the exemption.
    In the June 12, 2017, Federal Register, FMCSA granted the renewal 
of a similar exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) to C.R. England, Inc. 
(C.R. England) for a five-year period. Under the terms and conditions 
of that exemption, a CLP holder who has documentation of passing the 
CDL skills test may drive a CMV for C.R. England without being 
accompanied by a CDL holder in the front seat. The Agency believed that 
C.R. England's request for exemption would achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved 
without the exemption (82 FR 26975).

Public Comments

    On August 9, 2018, FMCSA published notice of this application and 
requested public comment (83 FR 39495). The Agency received eight 
comments. Seven individuals posted comments in opposition to renewal of 
the exemption. For example, Mr. Jarrod Hough wrote, ``Why would FMCSA 
even consider this? The roads and traffic is bad enough already. Permit 
holders don't have the experience to operate a commercial vehicle by 
themselves without the trainer sitting upfront and in the passenger 
seat. That is what a trainer is for, to teach and give guidance to the 
student. Not to be in the sleeper berth while the student is left 
alone.'' Mr. Joe Ammons supported the exemption if CRST was required to 
meet certain conditions, such as showing the exemption was not 
continued beyond a reasonable period of time before dispatching a 
permitted driver to his/her home State to complete the licensing 

FMCSA Response and Decision

    FMCSA has evaluated CRST's application for exemption and the public 
comments. The Agency believes that CRST'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 CRST'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. Because these drivers have already met all the 
requirements for a CDL, but have yet to pick up the CDL document from 
their State of domicile, their safety performance is expected to be the 
same as any other newly-credentialed CDL holder.

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 September 23, 2018 through September 24, 

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is contingent upon CRST 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 
part 391.
    This exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) will allow CRST drivers who 
hold a CLP and have successfully passed a CDL skills test, to drive a 
CMV without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the 
vehicle. The CDL holder must remain in the vehicle at all times while 
the CLP holder is driving--just not in the front seat.


    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

    CRST 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. Exemption Identifier: ``CRST''
    b. Date of the accident,
    c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
which is closest to the scene of the accident,
    d. Driver's name and driver's license number,
    e. Vehicle number and State license number,
    f. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    g. Number of fatalities,
    h. The police-reported cause of the accident,
    i. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
    j. 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 
and conditions.

    Issued on: October 12, 2018.
Raymond P. Martinez,
[FR Doc. 2018-22836 Filed 10-18-18; 8:45 am]

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