Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption
Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Application for Exemption
T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
April 6, 2015
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 65 (Monday, April 6, 2015)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07811]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0352]
Commercial Driver's License Standards: Recreation Vehicle
Industry Association Application for Exemption
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant an exemption from the
Federal commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements for drivers who
deliver certain newly manufactured motorhomes and recreational vehicles
(RVs) to dealers or trade shows before retail sale (driveaway
operations). The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)
requested the exemption because compliance with the CDL requirements
prevents its members from implementing more efficient operations due to
a shortage of CDL drivers. The exemption covers employees of all U.S.
driveaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV dealers transporting RVs
between manufacturing sites and dealer locations and for movements
prior to first retail sale. Drivers engaged in driveaway deliveries of
RVs with gross vehicle weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more will not
be required to have a CDL as long as the empty RVs have gross vehicle
weights or gross combination weights that do not meet or exceed 26,001
pounds, and any RV trailers towed by other vehicles weigh 10,000 pounds
or less. RV units that have a combined gross vehicle weight exceeding
26,000 pounds are not covered by the exemption.
DATES: This exemption is effective April 6, 2015 and expires on April
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Pearlie Robinson, Driver and
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325, Email: MCPSD@dot.gov,
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue
SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments submitted to notice requesting public comments on the
exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit
Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey
Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document
management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.
The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.
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
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)).
Application for Exemption
The RVIA is the national trade association representing 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 requested an exemption from 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. In other words, RVIA requested that CDLs not be required
for driveaway operations of single or combination vehicles with a gross
vehicle weight rating at or above 26,001 pounds, as long as the actual
weight of the vehicle or combination is below 26,001 pounds. RV units
that have a ship weight and combined gross vehicle weight exceeding
26,000 pounds would not be covered by the exemption. RVIA contended
that compliance with the CDL rule prevents its members from
implementing more efficient operations due to a shortage of CDL
drivers. RVIA asserted 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 it is manufactured, or from a
holding area, to a dealership site.
In its application, RVIA contended 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, 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. The seasonal
commercial driver shortage creates delays in the delivery of product to
consumers and potentially reduces the RV sales. 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 to consumers who are unwilling to
wait for their purchase.
RVIA stated that the exemption would apply to all individuals who
are employees of driveaway-towaway companies, RV manufacturers, and RV
dealers. RVIA contended that, due to the class nature and the number of
parties that will be affected by the exemption, it is not feasible or
practicable to provide the names of individuals or transporters
responsible for use or operation of these CMVs. RVIA asserted that
exempting drivers delivering a subset of newly manufactured 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 noted that a CDL is not required to operate these RVs
when they are in personal use.
Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety
RVIA contended that, if the exemption were granted, the level of
safety associated with transportation of RVs from manufacturers to
dealers would likely be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of
safety obtained by complying with the CDL requirements for the
On average, drivers employed by RV manufacturers and
dealers to deliver RVs have substantially more experience operating RVs
than a typical driver operating an RV for recreational purposes.
A thorough analysis using the FMCSA Safety Measurement
System revealed that the RV driveaway-towaway companies' record 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 air-mile radius with a
recordable accident rate greater than 1.5 accidents per million miles
traveled. Accordingly RVIA claims that the, 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. [In fact, RVIA's data shows that the accident
frequency of RVs in 2012 (.234 per million miles) was only 15.6% of
FMCSA's threshold for an unsatisfactory rating (1.5 accidents per
million miles) (.23 / 1.5-15.6%)]
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
As with any new motor vehicle, newly manufactured RVs are
much less likely to present a safety concern due to mechanical
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 asserted that without the exemption, drivers making one-time
deliveries of new RVs with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a gross combination weight rating exceeding
26,000 inclusive of a towed vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or
higher, will remain subject to CDL requirements 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
would 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 would continue to experience a shortage of
CDL operators during the busy spring season.
On October 1, 2014, FMCSA published notice of this application, and
asked for public comment (79 FR 59343). Twelve comments were received
to the public docket.
One respondent, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
(Advocates), recommended that the exemption not be granted. The
Advocates concluded that ``the RVIA application does not meet the
statutory and regulatory requirements for the exemption. Advocates
argue that the application fails to consider practical alternatives,
justify the need for the exemption, provide information on the specific
countermeasures to be undertaken to ensure that the exemption will
achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved
absent the exemption.''
Ten respondents supported the exemption: Campers Inn; Class
Transport, Inc.; Florida RV Trade Association; Horizon Transport, Inc.;
Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association; Quality Drive-
Away Inc.; Foremost Transport, Inc.; Recreation Vehicle Indiana
Council; National RV Dealers Association; and Star Fleet Trucking, Inc.
The American Truck Dealers Division of the National Automobile
Dealers Association (NADD) also supported the exemption and urged FMCSA
to expand the requested exemption so that it applies to all new motor
vehicles with an actual vehicle weight (or combination weight) below
All comments are available for review in the docket for this
Response to Public Comments and Agency Decision
The FMCSA has evaluated RVIA's application for exemption and the
public comments, and has decided to grant the exemption. The RVs
covered by the exemption all have gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs)
above the 26,001-pound threshold for a CDL, but their actual weights,
i.e., their gross vehicle weights (GVWs), will remain below that level
during the driveaway or towaway operation of these vehicles. The Agency
has held since 1993 that the CDL regulations do not apply to drivers of
RVs, ``if the vehicle is used strictly for non-business purposes''
[Guidance to Q. 3 under 49 CFR 383.3, 58 FR 60734, at 60735, Nov. 17,
1993; posted on www.fmcsa.dot.gov]. For decades private owners and
drivers of larger RVs, like those addressed in this exemption, have
operated without CDLs, often at GVWs well above the 26,001-pound
threshold, without generating any concern among law enforcement
professionals that they pose a risk to highway safety. Furthermore,
most private RV owners almost certainly have less experience behind the
wheel of the RV than drivers
employed specifically to deliver such vehicles to a dealer or customer.
While RVIA demonstrated that the manufacturers and dealers who now
employ CDL-holders in driveaway/towaway operations have a recordable
accident rate far below the level that would require an unsatisfactory
safety rating, the Agency's experience with private RV owners suggests
that the absence of a CDL would have no discernible effect on safety.
That is especially likely because the drivers covered by this exemption
are required to comply with all other applicable safety regulation,
including medical standards and hours-of-service limits. FMCSA believes
that it is impracticable for these drivers to obtain a CDL with a
representative vehicle when the actual vehicle they will operate is an
RV. With regard to NADD's comment to expand the exemption, FMCSA is
unable to consider expanding the exemption because the issue was not in
the original request for public comment. The Agency believes that the
exemption sought by RVIA will likely achieve a level of safety that is
equivalent to or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the
exemption [49 CFR 381.305(a)].
Terms and Conditions of the Exemption
Period of the Exemption
This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 383.91(a)(1)--
383.91(a)(2) is effective during the period of April 6, 2015 through
April 6, 2017. The exemption will expire on April 6, 2017, 11:59 p.m.
local time, unless renewed.
Extent of the Exemption
The exemption is restricted to employees of 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. Drivers covered by the exemption will not be
required to hold a CDL when transporting RVs with a gross vehicle
weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds, or a combination of RV trailer/tow
vehicle with the gross weight of the towed unit not exceeding 10,000
pounds and the gross combined weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds. These
drivers must comply with all other applicable provisions of the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), during the period this
exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation
that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect
to a firm or person operating under the exemption.
Notification to FMCSA
The RVIA must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident
(as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any of the motor carriers' CMVs
operating under the terms of this exemption. The notification must
include the following information:
a. Date of the accident,
b. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or
closest to the accident scene,
c. Driver's name and driver's license number and State of issuance,
d. Vehicle number and State license plate number,
e. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
f. Number of fatalities,
g. The police-reported cause of the accident,
h. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
i. The driver's total driving time and total on-duty time period
prior to the accident.
Reports filed under this provision shall be emailed to MCPSD@DOT.GOV.
FMCSA does not believe the drivers covered by this exemption will
experience any deterioration of their safety record. However, should
this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public
interest, including revocation or restriction of the exemption. The
FMCSA will immediately revoke or restrict the exemption for failure to
comply with its terms and conditions.
Issued on: March 31, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
[FR Doc. 2015-07811 Filed 4-3-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
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