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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Daimler AG

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 29, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 168 (Friday, August 29, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51641-51642]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-20636]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0032]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; 
Daimler Trucks North America (Daimler)

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Daimler Trucks North 
America's (Daimler) application for an exemption for a Daimler driver 
to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in the United States without 
possessing a commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by one of the 
States. The driver is Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, head of the Daimler Trucks 
and Bus Division, who will test-drive Daimler vehicles on U.S. roads to 
better understand product requirements for these vehicles in ``real 
world'' environments and verify results. He holds a valid German CDL 
but lacks the U.S. residency necessary to obtain a CDL issued by one of 
the States. FMCSA believes that the process for obtaining a German-
issued CDL is comparable to or is effective as the U.S. CDL 
requirements and ensures that this driver will likely achieve a level 
of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety 
that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective August 29, 2014 and expires August 
29, 2016.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Legal Basis

    The Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) has the authority 
to grant exemptions from any of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) issued under chapter 313 or Sec.  31136 of title 
49, United States Code, to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief (49 
U.S.C. 31136(e), and 31315(b)) as added by Section 4007(a) of the 
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (Pub. L. 105-
178, 112 Stat. 107, 401, June 9, 1998)). Prior to granting an 
exemption, the Secretary must request public comment and make a 
determination that the exemption is likely to achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would 
be obtained in the absence of the exemption. Exemptions may be granted 
for a period of up to 2 years and may be renewed.
    The FMCSA Administrator has been delegated authority under 49 CFR 
1.87(e)(1) and (f) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary 
by 49 U.S.C. chapter 313 and subchapters I and III of chapter 311, 
relating, respectively, to the commercial driver's license program and 
to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) programs and safety regulation.

Background

    In the July 22, 2014, Federal Register (79 FR 42626), FMCSA granted 
Daimler and one of its drivers a similar exemption. Prior to that, in 
the May 25, 2012, Federal Register (77 FR 31422) FMCSA granted a 
similar exemption for two of their other test drivers. These 
individuals each held a valid German CDL but lacked the U.S. residency 
necessary to obtain a CDL in the United States. FMCSA concluded that 
the process for obtaining a German CDL is comparable to or as effective 
as the U.S. CDL requirements and ensures that these drivers will likely 
achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that 
would be obtained in the absence of the exemption. These three drivers 
were not reported to be involved in any crashes or other safety-related 
incidents.

Daimler Application for Exemption

    Daimler applied for an exemption for Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard from 49 
CFR 383.23, requiring drivers operating CMVs to have a CDL issued by 
one of the States. Notice of the application was published on July 2, 
2014 (79 FR 37839). Five comments were received which were mixed in 
support or opposition to the application for exemption for Dr. 
Bernhard, however no substantive comments were received. A copy of the 
Daimler request is in the docket identified at the beginning of this 
notice. The exemption allows Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard to operate CMVs to 
support Daimler field tests to meet future vehicle safety and 
environmental requirements and to promote the development of technology 
and advancements in vehicle safety systems and emissions reductions. He 
will typically drive for no more than 6 hours per day for 2 consecutive 
days, and 10 percent of the test driving will be on two-lane state 
highways, while 90 percent will be on interstate highways. The driving 
will consist of no more than 200 miles per day, for a total of 400 
miles during a two-day period on a quarterly basis.
    Section 383.21 requires CMV drivers in the United States to have a 
CDL issued by a State. Dr. Bernhard is a citizen and resident of 
Germany. Only residents of a State can apply for a CDL. Without the 
exemption, Dr. Bernhard would not be able to test-drive Daimler 
prototype CMVs on U.S. roads.
    Dr. Bernhard holds a valid German CDL and is an experienced 
operator of CMVs. In the application for exemption, Daimler also 
submitted documentation showing his safe German driving record.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    According to Daimler, the requirements for a German-issued CDL 
ensure that the same level of safety is met or exceeded as if these 
drivers had a CDL issued by one of the States. Dr. Bernhard is familiar 
with the operation of CMVs worldwide and will be accompanied at all 
times by a driver who holds a U.S.-issued CDL and is

[[Page 51642]]

familiar with the routes to be traveled. FMCSA has determined that the 
process for obtaining a CDL in Germany is comparable to that for 
obtaining a CDL issued by one of the States and adequately assesses the 
driver's ability to safely operate CMVs in the United States.

FMCSA Decision

    Based upon the merits of this application, including Dr. Bernhard's 
extensive driving experience and safety record, and the fact that he 
has successfully completed the requisite training and testing to obtain 
a German CDL, FMCSA concluded that the exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that 
would be achieved absent such exemption, in accordance with Sec.  
381.305(a).

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    FMCSA grants Daimler and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard an exemption from 
the CDL requirement in 49 CFR 383.23 to allow Dr. Bernhard to drive 
CMVs in this country without a U.S. State-issued CDL, subject to the 
following terms and conditions: (1) The driver and carrier must comply 
with all other applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) (49 CFR parts 350-399), (2) the driver must 
be in possession of the exemption document and a valid German CDL, (3) 
the driver must be employed by and operating the CMV within the scope 
of his duties for Daimler, (4) Daimler must notify FMCSA within 5 
business days in writing of any accident, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, 
involving this driver, and (5) Daimler must notify FMCSA in writing if 
this driver is convicted of a disqualifying offense under Sec.  383.51 
or Sec.  391.15 of the FMCSRs.
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the exemption will 
be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The exemption 
will be revoked if: (1) Dr. Bernhard fails to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption results in a lower level 
of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) 
continuation of the exemption would be inconsistent with the goals and 
objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136.

    Issued on: August 21, 2014.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-20636 Filed 8-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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