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Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Buses American Government Topics:  Trailways

Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for Exemption

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
October 1, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 190 (Monday, October 1, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60006-60007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24138]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0268]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies Application for 
Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA has received an application from Trailways companies 
identified below (``Trailways'') for an exemption from the hours-of-
service (HOS) record of duty status provision in 49 CFR 395.8(c) that 
requires every commercial motor vehicle driver to record his or her 
duty status for each 24-hour period using methods prescribed in that 
section. FMCSA considers the request to be on behalf of all regular-
route passenger carrier drivers. Trailways requests that these drivers 
be exempted from the requirement to enter a change in duty status on 
the daily log for breaks in driving time of 10 minutes or less, for the 
limited purpose of picking up or setting off passengers, baggage, or 
small express packages. Such time would not be considered a change of 
duty status for the purposes of 49 CFR 395.8(c). FMCSA requests public 
comment on Trailways' application for exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2012-0268 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the exemption process, see the Public 
Participation heading below. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov, and follow the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address 
listed above.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the 
U.S. Department of Transportation's online privacy policy at 
www.dot.gov/privacy or the complete Privacy Act Statement in the 
Federal Register published on December 29, 2010 (75 FR 82133).
    Public Participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is available 
24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the ``help'' section 
of the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site. If you want us to notify 
you that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or postcard, or print the acknowledgement page that 
appears after submitting comments online. Comments received after the 
comment closing date will be included in the docket, and we will 
consider late comments to the extent practicable.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver 
and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Bus and Truck Standards and 
Operations; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of 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 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 and explain 
the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed 
(49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption

    Trailways (Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York 
Trailways) offers scheduled passenger-carrier service throughout New 
York State and to the nearby Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto. 
Trailways states that its exemption application is for fixed-route 
carriers and their drivers who are often away from the controls of the 
vehicle for brief periods of time of less than 10 minutes to assist 
passengers or make one of several passenger pick-ups and drop-offs 
along the route.
    Trailways advises that until March 2011 they and other motor 
carriers had been operating in accordance with a 1996 interpretation of 
49 CFR 395.8(c) issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 
The 1996

[[Page 60007]]

interpretation excluded regular-route passenger carrier CMV drivers 
from having to record a location entry on the driver's record of duty 
status (RODS) for non-driving periods of less than 10 minutes. The RODS 
simply showed the stop as driving time. In March 2011, New York State 
officials began enforcing a literal interpretation of the rule, 
requiring that a change in duty status be entered on the log any time 
the driver leaves the operating controls of the CMV. Trailways is 
concerned that the violations will have a negative effect on the 
companies' and the drivers' Compliance Safety Accountability ratings, 
as well as schedules and passenger service because of the delays needed 
to make the entries.
    Instead of complying with the provisions in 49 CFR 395.8(c), 
Trailways requests that their drivers with regularly scheduled routes 
be exempted from changing their duty status from ``driving'' to ``on-
duty not driving'' when making stops of less than 10 minutes.
    Trailways notes that the 1996 rule interpretation reduces the 
amount of total time a driver can drive in a duty period. Without the 
1996 interpretation, the times drivers spend at stops to load 
passengers, freight, etc. would be logged as on-duty/not driving, 
increasing the driving time available, but creating an additional 
administrative distraction every time the driver leaves the controls 
regardless of the reason or the limited amount of time away from the 
vehicle controls. Trailways further advises that their carriers provide 
flag stops and that having to update the log at each flag stop 
increases the amount of time that the motorcoach may be delaying 
traffic while waiting for the pick-up and/or discharge of passengers 
and luggage, and then waiting for the driver to update the log before 
continuing the route. According to Trailways, in many instances the 
large number of brief stops will not fit on the log if the driver makes 
all of the required entries.
    Trailways notes that the maximum possible driving time would be 
reduced and that traffic congestion could be reduced. FMCSA believes 
this would ensure that operations under the exemption would be at least 
as safe as operations that comply with the requirements on change of 
duty status.
    FMCSA is extending Trailways' request to be on behalf of all 
regular-route for-hire passenger-carrier drivers because the same need 
for the exemption likely applies to them as well as Trailways. 
Including all regular-route for-hire passenger carrier drivers in the 
exemption will preclude the need for other carriers to file identical 
exemption requests, and will provide for consistent enforcement because 
the same provisions would be applied to all similar scenarios involving 
brief stops by drivers of these carriers during their regular-route 
operations.
    A copy of Trailways' exemption application is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment on the Trailways application for an exemption 
from certain provisions of the driver's record of duty status rules in 
49 CFR part 395. The Agency will consider all comments received by 
close of business on October 31, 2012. Comments will be available for 
examination in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice. The Agency will consider to the extent 
practicable comments received in the public docket after the closing 
date of the comment period.

    Issued on: September 21, 2012 .
 Larry W. Minor,
 Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2012-24138 Filed 9-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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