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Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; David Muresan

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government Topics:  David Muresan

Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; David Muresan

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
December 17, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 242 (Tuesday, December 17, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76392-76394]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29959]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0047]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; David 
Muresan

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that David Muresan has applied for an 
exemption from the Agency's hours of service (HOS) rules. Mr. Muresan 
is a long-haul truck driver who teams with a second driver in operating 
a sleeper berth-equipped vehicle. Mr. Muresan believes

[[Page 76393]]

that the Agency's HOS rules do not properly consider the unique nature 
of team operations. Mr. Muresan proposes that he and his co-driver be 
permitted to operate under HOS rules that he has designed. He believes 
that his commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations under the substitute 
HOS rules are likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or 
greater than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence 
of the exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2013-0047 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: 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., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, DOT Hq Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590-0001, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 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 section 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 section below.
     Docket: For access to the docket to read background 
documents or comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time 
and in the box labeled ``SEARCH for'' enter FMCSA-2013-0047 and click 
on the tab labeled ``SEARCH.''
     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 January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316).
     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 by clicking on the word 
``Help'' at the top of the Portal home page. 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.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs). The Agency is required to publish a notice of 
each exemption request in the Federal Register [49 CFR 381.315(a)]. 
FMCSA 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.
    FMCSA reviews safety analyses and public comments, and determines 
whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be 
obtained in the absence of the exemption (49 CFR 381.305). The decision 
of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register 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 provisions from which the exemption is granted [49 CFR 
381.315(b) and (c)]. The notice must specify the effective period of 
the exemption, and its terms or conditions. The exemption may be 
renewed [49 CFR 381.300(b)].

Hours of Service (HOS) Rules

    Part 395 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, ``Hours of 
Service of Drivers,'' prescribes various HOS limits. Mr. Muresan is 
asking for exemption from the HOS rules governing property-carrying 
CMVs. One of the primary HOS rules is the ``14-hour rule'' found at 49 
CFR 395.3(a)(2).
    In response to new research on fatigue, FMCSA in 2003 lengthened 
from 8 hours to 10 hours the minimum off-duty period between shifts 
required for drivers of property-carrying CMVs (68 FR 22456; April 28, 
2003). However, drivers of property-carrying CMVs equipped with a 
sleeper berth have the option of obtaining ``the equivalent of 10 
consecutive hours off duty,'' defined as follows: 49 CFR Once the 
maximum of 60 (or 70) hours of on-duty time is reached in any period of 
7 (or 8) consecutive days, the driver can reset this ``on-duty clock'' 
to zero by obtaining a period of at least 34-consecutive hours off duty 
that includes two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. home terminal 
time. A driver at the maximum of 60 hours in 7 days (or 70 hours in 8 
days) can also go off duty until the passage of time reduces the number 
of on-duty hours he or she has accumulated in the most recent 7 (or 8) 
days.
    Section 392.3 of the FMCSRs provides the following:

Application for Exemption

    Mr. Muresan and another driver operate as a team on ``long-haul'' 
operations. Team drivers typically operate a property-carrying CMV 
equipped with a sleeper berth, and alternate between driving the 
vehicle and occupying the sleeper berth. Compared to a solo driver, a 
team can substantially reduce the time required to complete a long 
trip.
    A copy of Mr. Muresan' s application for exemption is in Docket 
FMCSA-2013-0047. He asks to be exempt, along with his co-driver, from 
the HOS rules of part 395, including section 395.2, ``Definitions.'' 
That section defines numerous terms, such as ``on duty,'' which are 
critical to effective compliance with and enforcement of the HOS rules. 
Mr. Muresan employs terms in his exemption application that he does not 
define (and which the HOS rules do not employ), including ``rest'' and 
``sleep.''
    Mr. Muresan believes that the Agency's HOS rules do not properly 
consider the unique nature of team operations. Mr. Muresan proposes 
that he be permitted to operate under HOS rules that he has designed. 
He believes that his HOS rules would better accommodate team operations 
without compromising safety. For instance, under his proposal, he would 
be exempt from the 14-hour rule without limitation, so that it would be 
legal for him to drive a CMV at any time without regard to the 14-hour 
window. Mr. Muresan states that CMV operations under his proposed HOS 
rules would be likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or 
greater than the level of safety as would be obtained in the absence of 
the exemption.

[[Page 76394]]

    Mr. Muresan proposes ``Exemption Rules'' and promises to observe 
them. Under the exemption, he (and his co-driver, if operating as a 
team) would limit his driving time to 11 hours in a 24-hour period. If 
the exemption is granted, he would ``. . . drive between 3 to 11 hours 
followed by 2 to 10 hours of rest/sleep'' and would be required to ``. 
. . sleep at least 8 hours during 24 hours of service.'' Mr. Muresan 
also proposes the following:

    ``. . . the driver who is at rest/sleep has full authority to 
accept or not to drive again and has authority to decide if he is 
restored enough to drive again. The driver on duty cannot force the 
driver at rest/sleep to drive again if he/she does not want.''

    Mr. Muresan explains that the periods of 2 to 10 hours of rest/
sleep ``allow a driver to go to sleep when [he or she] is tired.'' He 
also explains that the authority granted the driver who is ``resting/
sleeping'' to decide when to drive again:

    ``. . . [a]llows the driver to drive again when [he or she] is 
restored and not hours after that. I mention that a driver cannot 
sleep 10 hours and after 6 hours is awaked and may soon become bored 
and will be sleepy about when will be the time to drive again.''

    Mr. Muresan also requests that the exemption permit him to employ 
paper records of duty status (RODS), or logs, even if his employer has 
equipped the CMV with the capability to record the RODS electronically.
    Mr. Muresan requests that the exemption cover a two-year period, 
the maximum period of time for which FMCSA can grant an exemption. 
Applicants may apply for renewal of their exemption every two years.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA 
requests public comment on Mr. Muresan's application for an exemption 
from the HOS requirements of 49 CFR part 395. The Agency will consider 
all comments received by the close of business on January 16, 2014. 
Comments will be available for examination in the docket as explained 
in the ADDRESSES section of this notice under the heading ``Docket.'' 
The Agency will consider to the extent practicable comments received in 
the public docket after the closing date of the comment period.

    Issued on: December 9, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-29959 Filed 12-16-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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