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Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Granting of Renewal of Exemption

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Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); Granting of Renewal of Exemption

T. F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
October 7, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 194 (Wednesday, October 7, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60740-60741]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-25520]



[[Page 60740]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0275]


Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); 
Granting of 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 renew the exemption from the 
minimum 30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service 
(HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers working 
under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) Military 
Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC). The exemption will 
enable SDDC's contract motor carriers and their employee-drivers 
engaged in the transportation of weapons, munitions, and sensitive/
classified cargo to have the same regulatory flexibility that 49 CFR 
395.1(q) provides for drivers transporting explosives. The exempted 
drivers will be allowed to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to 
meet the HOS rest break requirements, providing they do not perform any 
other work during the break.

DATES: This exemption is effective from 12:01 a.m., October 22, 2015, 
through 11:59 p.m., October 21, 2017.

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.
    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.
    SDDC's initial exemption application for relief from the HOS rest 
break requirement was submitted in 2013; a copy of the application is 
in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. That 2013 
application describes fully the nature of the operations of SDDC's 
contracted drivers. The exemption was granted on October 28, 2013 (78 
FR 64265). That exemption expires on October 21, 2015.
    Certain motor carriers under contract to the SDDC provide 
protective services while transporting weapons, munitions, and 
sensitive/classified cargo. SDDC requested renewal of the rest-break 
exemption to allow its contract drivers to be treated the same as 
drivers transporting explosives. 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.

 Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    SDDC stated that it requires continuous attendance and surveillance 
of such shipments until they reach their final destination. SDDC also 
stated that it has instituted several technical and administrative 
controls to ensure the efficient transportation of cargo requiring 
protective services, controls that would remain in effect under the 
requested exemption. They include the following:
     Conducting review of carrier compliance requirements and 
procedures for moving hazardous cargo.
     Evaluating carrier authority to operate on U.S. roadways.
     Evaluating carrier compliance with FMCSA's Compliance 
Safety Accountability program and Safety Measurement System standards.
     Providing over-the-road vehicle surveillance.
     Inspecting carrier facilities and corporate headquarters 
for compliance with DOD and DOT standards.
    Further details regarding SDDC's safety controls can be found in 
its application for exemption. The application can be accessed in the 
docket identified at the beginning of this notice. SDDC asserted that 
renewing the exemption would allow driver teams to manage their en 
route rest periods efficiently and also perform mandated shipment 
security surveillance, resulting in both safe driving performance and 
greater security of cargo during long-distance trips.
    SDDC anticipates no safety impacts from this exemption and believes 
that its contract employee drivers should be allowed to follow the 
requirements in Sec.  395.1(q) when transporting shipments of sensitive 
DOD cargo. SDDC believes that shipments made under the requested 
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).
    SDDC indicated that approximately 1,942 power units and 3,000 
drivers would currently be eligible for the exemption, if renewed. The 
exemption would be effective for 2 years, the maximum period allowed by 
Sec.  381.300. SDDC reported two crashes in 2014 in which drivers were 
cited. Neither crash was connected to fatigue that was related to the 
30 minute break.

Public Comments

    On April 16, 2015, FMCSA published notice of this application, and 
asked for public comment (80 FR 20556). No comments were submitted to 
the public docket.

[[Page 60741]]

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated SDDC's application for renewal of the 
exemption. The Agency believes that SDDC 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)]. The exempted 
drivers will receive 30 minutes or more of rest when required since 
they will be free of all duties other than ``attending'' the vehicle 
during the break periods. The safety objectives of the break 
requirement will be met; the only subject of the exemption is the duty 
status of the driver while attending the vehicle during a required rest 
break. Therefore, the Agency grants the exemption request subject to 
the terms and conditions in this Federal Register notice.

Terms of the Exemption

    1. Drivers authorized by SDDC to utilize this exemption must have a 
copy of this exemption document in their possession while operating 
under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must be 
presented to law enforcement officials upon request.
    2. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have a 
``Satisfactory'' safety rating with FMCSA, or be ``unrated;'' motor 
carriers with ``Conditional'' or ``Unsatisfactory'' FMCSA safety 
ratings are prohibited from using this exemption.
    3. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have 
Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores below FMCSA's intervention 
thresholds, as displayed at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/.

Period of the Exemption

    This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) is 
granted for the period from 12:01 a.m., October 22, 2015, through 11:59 
p.m., October 21, 2017.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is restricted to SDDC's contract driver-employees 
transporting security-sensitive materials. This exemption is limited to 
the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) to allow contract driver-
employees transporting security-sensitive 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), as implemented by 49 CFR 
381.600, during the period this exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation applicable to interstate commerce that 
conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a 
firm or person operating under the exemption. States may, but are not 
required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to SDDC contract 
operators in intrastate commerce.

Notification to FMCSA

    The SDDC 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: ``SDDC,''
    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: September 25, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
 Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-25520 Filed 10-6-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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