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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Recreational Vehicles Topics:  Recreation Vehicle Industry Association

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

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
October 1, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 190 (Wednesday, October 1, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59343-59345]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-23434]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0352]


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

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 the Recreation Vehicle Industry 
Association (RVIA) has requested a limited exemption from the Federal 
requirement to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) for 
transporters of certain newly manufactured motorhomes and recreation 
vehicles (RVs) that are individually transported one at a time and are 
always empty. RVIA is requesting the exemption because compliance with 
the CDL requirements prevents its members from implementing more 
efficient and effective operations. The exemption would apply to 
individuals who are employees of U.S. driveaway-towaway companies, RV 
manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs between the 
manufacturing site and dealer location and for movements prior to first 
retail sale. The exemption would apply when transporting RVs with an 
actual vehicle weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination of 
RV trailer/tow vehicle with the actual weight of the towed unit not 
exceeding 10,000 pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 
26,000 pounds. RV units that have a combined GVWR rating exceeding 
26,000 pounds would not be covered by the exemption. RVIA believes that 
such a change would maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level achieved without the exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2014-0352 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., 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 at any time and in the box 
labeled ``SEARCH for'' enter FMCSA-2014-0352 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 a 
Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 
2008, issue of the Federal Register (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 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. 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 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 the safety analyses and the public comments, and

[[Page 59344]]

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 reason for the grant or denial, and, if granted, 
the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and 
the regulatory provision or provisions from which exemption is granted. 
The notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption (up 
to 2 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The 
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption

    The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is the 
national trade association representing recreational vehicle (RV) 
manufacturers and their component parts suppliers who together build 
more than 98 percent of all RVs produced in the United States. An RV is 
a vehicle designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, 
camping, travel and seasonal use. RVs may be motorized (motorhomes) or 
towable (travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, folding camping 
trailers and truck campers).
    The RVIA is requesting an exemption to the CDL requirements under 
49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)-383.91(a)(2) when transporting RVs with an actual 
vehicle weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination of RV 
trailer/tow vehicle with the actual weight of the towed unit not 
exceeding 10,000 pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 
26,000 pounds. RV units that have a ship weight and combined GVWR 
rating exceeding 26,000 pounds would not be covered by the exemption. 
RVIA contends that compliance with the CDL rule prevents its members 
from implementing more efficient and effective operations. RVIA asserts 
that FMCSA should look at the actual weight of the RV when it is 
manifested as empty and should not require a CDL during the short time 
the RV is not loaded, does not carry freight and is transported from 
the factory where they are manufactured, or from a holding area to a 
dealership site.
    In its application, RVIA contends that a shortage of drivers with 
CDLs is having a significant impact on the RV industry, which is just 
recovering from the 2008-2009 economic downturn. A large percentage of 
RV sales occur during the spring buying season. The jump in RV 
shipments trends stronger each month, thereafter increasing 
consistently from February through June. These excess units regularly 
accumulate in RV transporters' yards. It is in this period that there 
is insufficient commercial driver capacity for RV transportation. This 
commercial driver shortage, which is seasonal, creates delays in the 
delivery of product to consumers and potentially reduces the RV sales 
volume and the overall number of drivers employed by the RV industry. 
Consumers who wish to purchase an RV may have to wait weeks or months 
to receive delivery of their purchase because there are not enough 
drivers with CDLs to transport the vehicles from the factory to the 
dealership, especially since each RV must be individually transported. 
While these delays are costly and inconvenient to the RV industry and 
consumers, the greater costs result in potential lost sales from 
consumers who are unwilling to wait for their purchase.
    RVIA states that the exemption would apply to individuals who are 
employees of U.S. driveaway-towaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV 
dealers. RVIA contends that due to the class nature and the number of 
parties that will be affected thereby, it is not feasible or 
practicable to provide the names of individuals or transporters 
responsible for use or operation of these CMVs. RV units that have a 
ship weight and combined GVWR rating exceeding 26,000 pounds would not 
be covered by the exemption. RVIA asserts that exempting delivery for a 
subset of newly manufacturer RVs from the Class A and B CDL 
requirements would likely result in the level of safety equivalent to, 
or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption.
    RVIA asserts that there is compelling evidence that safety records 
for RV transport companies delivering RVs from the manufacturers to 
dealers is and will continue to be better than the cited statistics in 
its application for drivers using RVs for recreational purposes if the 
requested exemption is granted.
    RVIA contends that if the exemption is granted the level of safety 
associated with transportation of RVs from manufacturers to dealers is 
likely to be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety 
obtained by complying with the FMCSA regulation for the following 
reasons:
     On average, drivers employed by RV manufacturers and 
dealers to deliver RVs have substantially more experience operating RVs 
than an average driver operating an RV for recreational purposes.
     A thorough analysis using the FMCSA Safety Measurement 
System revealed that the majority of RV driveaway-towaway companies' 
accident frequency average of 0.234 recordable accidents per million 
miles traveled in 2012, is far less than the national average of 0.747 
recordable accidents per million miles traveled that was used as a 
benchmark by the FMCSA in fiscal years 1994-1996 when developing 
criteria for ``Factor 6, Accident'' of the ``safety rating process.''
     FMCSA established an ``unsatisfactory rating'' threshold 
for all carriers operating outside of a 100 mile air radius with a 
recordable accident rate greater than 1.5 accidents per million miles 
traveled. Accordingly, RV driveaway-towaway accident frequency is 
approximately 640% less than the FMCSA unsatisfactory rating threshold 
for 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.
     Compared to drivers using RVs for recreational purposes, 
RV manufacturers and driveaway-towaway companies have substantially 
greater economic incentive to systematically train, monitor and 
evaluate their RV drivers with respect to safe operation of RVs because 
of substantially greater exposure to liability for any traffic 
accidents.
     As with any motor vehicle, newly manufactured RVs are much 
less likely to present a safety concern on account of mechanical 
failures.
     Travel distances between the manufacturing sites and 
dealer locations are on average much shorter than typical distances 
which RVs travel when in recreational use and the highway presence of 
RVs transported from manufacturers to dealers is negligible even during 
the peak spring delivery season.
    RVIA asserts that without the exemption, one-time deliveries of new 
RVs with a GVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds or a GCWR exceeding 26,000 
inclusive of a towed vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or higher 
will continue to remain subject to CDL requirements and other FMCSA 
regulations even though end users of RVs purchasing them from dealers 
in the same states would not be subject to those requirements and 
regulations. This anomalous situation will continue to materially curb 
the growth of the RV industry without countervailing safety or other 
benefit to the public. In particular, RV manufacturers and dealers will 
continue to experience shortage of CDL operators during the busy spring 
season.
    A copy of RVIA's application for exemption is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

[[Page 59345]]

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA 
requests public comment on RVIA's application for an exemption from the 
CDL requirements of 49 CFR part 383. The Agency will consider all 
comments received by close of business on October 31, 2014. 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 24, 2014.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2014-23434 Filed 9-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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