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Commercial Driver's License: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Motor Vehicles; Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Commercial Driver's License: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Motor Vehicles; Application for Exemption

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
July 8, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 130 (Tuesday, July 8, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38645-38646]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15957]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0096]


Commercial Driver's License: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department 
of Motor Vehicles; Application for Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant the Commonwealth of 
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (Virginia DMV) and all other 
State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) a limited exemption from the 
commercial driver's license (CDL) regulation. The exemption will allow 
SDLAs to extend to one year the 90-day timeline specified in 49 CFR 
383.77(b)(1), thus enabling them to waive the CDL skills test described 
in 49 CFR 383.113 for up to a year after separation from military 
service for veterans regularly or previously employed in a military 
position requiring operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

DATES: This exemption is effective from July 8, 2014 to July 8, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Pearlie Robinson, 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. 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

    Virginia DMV requested an exemption from 49 CFR 383.77(b)(1), which 
allows States to waive the skills test described in section 383.113 for 
applicants regularly employed or previously

[[Page 38646]]

employed within the last 90 days in a military position requiring 
operation of a CMV. Virginia DMV proposed that it be allowed to extend 
the 90-day timeline to one year following the driver's separation from 
military service. A copy of the application for exemption is available 
for review in the docket for this notice. A notice of the application 
was published on April 7, 2014 (79 FR 19170).
    Virginia DMV has a comprehensive Troops-to-Trucks' program that 
assists service members in obtaining a Virginia CDL and civilian 
employment in the motor carrier industry. Feedback from the Troops-to-
Trucks' military partners has identified the 90-day limit as an 
obstacle to service members transitioning to civilian life.
    Virginia DMV contends that the 90-day timeframe is too short for 
many of the qualified veterans to utilize while reentering civilian 
life.
    According to Virginia DMV, since July 2012, 183 service members 
have utilized the 90-day waiver through the Virginia Troops-to-Trucks' 
program. It anticipates that an exemption would allow an additional 60 
to 100 recent veterans to participate in the program per year. The one-
year timeframe is consistent with FMCSA's November 2013 Report to 
Congress regarding a program to assist veterans to acquire CDLs. The 
American Trucking Associations has estimated that the motor carrier 
industry needs about 96,000 new drivers every year. Providing 
additional flexibility in section 383.77(b)(1) will help to expedite 
the transition of fully trained military truck drivers to civilian 
employment.
    Virginia DMV believes this goal is in the Nation's best interest. A 
more accessible waiver period would greatly benefit returning veterans. 
This is consistent with FMCSA's belief that the skills test waiver 
serves an important function for military personnel returning to the 
civilian workforce, as stated in the May 9, 2011, Federal Register 
notice that created the 90-day waiver (76 FR 26853).
    In addition, because the issues concerning the Virginia DMV request 
could be applicable in each of the States, FMCSA requested public 
comment on whether the exemption, if granted, should cover all State 
Driver's Licensing Agencies (SDLAs).

Public Comments

    Five comments on the application were received. All supported the 
application. Mr. Patrick Crandall commented, ``Our brave veterans 
deserve all of the support that our community can provide. Extending 
the 90-day waiver to qualified veterans is the right call.'' The Auto 
Haulers Association of America said, ``The proposal by the Commonwealth 
of Virginia would not adversely affect the safe operation of commercial 
motor vehicles on the nation's roadways because applicants with a 
military CDL have been trained and certified to levels of competency 
which match those required of new applicants.'' Additionally, the 
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Trucking 
Associations and New York State DMV all supported Virginia DMV's 
application for the exemption and extending the exemption to all SDLAs. 
All comments are available for review in the docket for this notice.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated Virginia DMV's application on its merits 
following full consideration of the comments submitted to the docket, 
and has decided to grant the exemption from 49 CFR 383.77(b)(1) for a 
period of 2 years. The exemption covers all SDLAs. FMCSA does not 
believe that the veterans' driving skills would decrease during the 
additional 9 months in which this exemption allows them to apply for a 
waiver of the CDL skills test. This exemption only extends the period 
during which application for the skills test waiver may be made, and 
does not revise any other provisions of the regulations. FMCSA 
determined that the exemption would maintain a level of safety 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the 
exemption (49 CFR 381.305(a)).

    Dated: June 30, 2014.
Anne S. Ferro,
 Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-15957 Filed 7-7-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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