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Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Application for Renewal of Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Application for Renewal of Exemption

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 22, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 119 (Monday, June 22, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35703-35705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15177]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0370]


Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); 
Application for Renewal of 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 U.S. Department of 
Energy's (DOE) request for a renewal of its exemption from the minimum 
30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) 
regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The exemption 
will enable DOE's contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers 
transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated the 
same as drivers transporting explosives. The exempted drivers will be 
allowed to use 30 minutes or more of on-duty ``attendance time'' to 
meet the HOS rest

[[Page 35704]]

break requirements providing they do not perform any other work during 
the break.

DATES: This exemption is effective from June 30, 2015 through June 30, 
2017.

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.

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

    Under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii), a property-carrying CMV driver is 
prohibited from operating a CMV on a public road if more than eight 
hours have passed since the end of the driver's last off duty or 
sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
    The initial DOE exemption application for relief from the HOS rule 
was submitted in 2012; a copy of that application is in the docket. 
That application fully described the nature of DOE's security-sensitive 
operations. On May 31, 2013, the Agency granted DOE's current exemption 
[78 FR 32700]. That exemption expires on June 30, 2015.
    Certain motor carriers under contract to DOE transport ``security-
sensitive radioactive materials.'' DOE requested a renewal of an 
exemption from the HOS regulation pertaining to rest breaks [49 CFR 
395.3(a)(3)(ii)] to allow contract driver-employees transporting 
security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated the same as 
drivers transporting explosives, as provided in Sec.  395.1(q). Section 
395.1(q) allows drivers of CMVs carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 
explosives who are subject to the requirement for a 30-minute off-duty 
rest break in Sec.  395.3(a)(3)(ii) to use 30 minutes or more of on-
duty ``attendance time'' to meet the requirement for a rest break, 
provided they perform no other work.
    In its exemption request, DOE contended that shipments of security-
sensitive radioactive materials require a team of two drivers and the 
use of a sleeper berth to minimize risk and expedite delivery in a safe 
and secure manner. DOE asserted that granting the exemption would allow 
team drivers to manage their enroute rest periods efficiently and also 
perform mandated shipment security surveillance, resulting in a safe 
and secure driving performance during a long distance trip.
    DOE states that it has instituted several technical and 
administrative controls to ensure the effective use of driver on-duty 
and rest-break time, which would remain in effect under the requested 
exemption. They include the following:
     Real-time tracking and monitoring of transuranic waste and 
security-sensitive shipments using DOE's satellite-based systems.
     Use of electronic on-board recorders on trucks, which is 
contractually required for motor carriers involved in the Waste 
Isolation Pilot Plant to ensure compliance with driver HOS rules.
     Continuous monitoring of the safety performance of DOE-
qualified motor carriers using the FMCSA Compliance Safety 
Accountability Program's Safety Measurement System, and DOE's Motor 
Carrier Evaluation Program.
    Further details regarding DOE's safety controls can be found in its 
application for exemption, which can be accessed in the docket 
identified at the beginning of this notice. DOE contends that these 
controls enable it to achieve a high level of safety and security for 
transportation of security-sensitive radioactive materials.
    DOE anticipates no safety impacts from this exemption and notes 
that in the preamble to the FMCSA final rule on the ``Hours of Service 
of Drivers,'' dated December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81134), the Agency 
addressed concerns from commenters regarding rest breaks for carriers 
of hazardous materials. The Agency cited a recent study showing that 
on-duty breaks reduce the risk of crashes after the break (76 FR 
81154).
    DOE believes that its contract employee drivers should continue to 
be allowed to follow the requirements in Sec.  395.1(q) when 
transporting shipments of security-sensitive radioactive materials. DOE 
believes that shipments made under the exemption would achieve a level 
of safety and security that is at least equivalent to that which would 
be obtained by following the normal break requirement in Sec.  
395.3(a)(3)(ii).
    DOE estimated that 30 power units and 53 drivers would currently be 
eligible for the exemption, if renewed. The exemption will be effective 
from June 30, 2015 through June 30, 2017, the maximum period allowed by 
Sec.  381.300. A copy of DOE's exemption application is available for 
review in the docket for this notice.

Public Comments

    On March 27, 2015, FMCSA published notice of this application, and 
asked for public comment (80 FR 16506). There were no comments 
submitted to the docket.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated DOE's application for renewal of the 
exemption. The Agency believes that DOE's contract carriers 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 of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

    The exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) is 
granted for the period from 12:01 a.m., June 30,

[[Page 35705]]

2015, through 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2017.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is restricted to DOE's contract driver-employees 
transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials. This exemption 
is limited to the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) to allow 
contract driver-employees transporting security-sensitive radioactive 
materials to be treated the same as drivers transporting explosives, as 
provided in Sec.  395.1(q). These drivers must comply with all other 
applicable provisions of the FMCSRs.

Preemption

    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 DOE must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident 
(as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any of the motor carrier's CMVs 
operating under the terms of this exemption. The notification must 
include the following information:
    a. Exemption Identity: ``DOE''
    b. Name of operating motor carrier and USDOT number,
    c. Date of the accident,
    d. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
closest to the accident scene,
    e. Driver's name and driver's license number and State of issuance,
    f. Vehicle number and State license plate number,
    g. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    h. Number of fatalities,
    i. The police-reported cause of the accident,
    j. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws 
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
    k. 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.

Termination

    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: June 8, 2015.
T. F. Scott Darling, III,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-15177 Filed 6-19-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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