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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Grant of Exemption for Flatbed Carrier Safety Group

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Grant of Exemption for Flatbed Carrier Safety Group

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Register
April 14, 2011

[Federal Register: April 14, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 72)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 20867-20870]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr14ap11-11]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 393

[Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0177]

 
Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Grant of 
Exemption for Flatbed Carrier Safety Group

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) grants 
an exemption from certain commodity-specific cargo securement rules 
applicable to motor carriers transporting metal coils. The Flatbed 
Carrier Safety Group (FCSG) applied for an exemption to allow motor 
carriers transporting metal coils to secure them in a manner not 
provided for in current regulations, specifically to secure coils 
grouped in rows with eyes crosswise and the coils in contact with each 
other in the longitudinal direction. FCSG requested the exemption so 
all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators will be able to use 
FMCSA's pre-January 1, 2004 cargo

[[Page 20868]]

securement procedures for the transportation of groups of metal coils 
with eyes crosswise. The Agency believes that permitting motor carriers 
to haul metal coils in this manner will maintain a level of safety that 
is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without 
the exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective from April 14, 2011, through April 
14, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, 
MC-PSV, (202) 366-0676, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b) and 31136(e), FMCSA may grant exemptions 
from many of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for 
a two-year period if it finds ``such exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of 
safety that would be achieved absent such exemption'' (49 CFR 
381.305(a)).

FCSG's Request for Exemption

    FCSG applied for an exemption from FMCSA's cargo securement 
requirements specified in 49 CFR 393.120 to allow motor carriers to 
comply with the pre-January 1, 2004, cargo securement regulations (then 
at 49 CFR 393.100(c)) for the transportation of groups of metal coils 
with eyes crosswise. FMCSA published notice of the exemption 
application on June 14, 2010, and asked for public comment (75 FR 
33667).
    On September 27, 2002, FMCSA published a final rule revising the 
regulations concerning protection against shifting and falling cargo 
for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) engaged in interstate commerce (67 
FR 61212). The new rules were based on the North American Cargo 
Securement Standard Model Regulations, the motor carrier industry's 
best practices, and recommendations presented during a series of public 
meetings involving U.S. and Canadian industry experts, Federal, State, 
and Provincial enforcement officials, and other interested parties. 
Motor carriers were required to ensure compliance with the rule by 
January 1, 2004.
    The September 2002 final rule established detailed requirements for 
a number of specific commodities (logs; dressed lumber; metal coils; 
paper rolls; concrete pipe; intermodal containers; automobiles, light 
trucks and vans; heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery; flattened and 
crushed vehicles; roll-on/roll-off containers; and large boulders). 
These commodities were identified in public meetings during the 
development of the model regulations as causing the most disagreement 
between industry and enforcement agencies. The commodity-specific 
requirements for these items supersede the general rules when 
additional requirements are given for a commodity listed in those 
sections. This means all cargo securement systems must meet the general 
requirements, except to the extent that a commodity-specific rule 
imposes additional requirements for the securement method to be used.
    Currently, 49 CFR 393.120 specifies requirements for the securement 
of one or more metal coils which, individually or grouped together, 
weigh 5,000 pounds or more. Metal coils can be transported with eyes 
vertical, lengthwise, or crosswise.
    Unlike the requirements for securing coils with eyes vertical (49 
CFR 393.120(b)) and lengthwise (49 CFR 393.120(d)), the current 
securement requirements for coils with eyes crosswise (49 CFR 
393.120(c)) only speak of individual coils; there are no specific 
requirements for securing rows of coils. As such, a motor carrier 
transporting a row of coils with eyes crosswise must secure each coil 
as an individual coil in accordance with 49 CFR 393.120(c).
    FCSG noted that the regulations in place prior to January 1, 2004 
directly addressed the securement of groups of coils loaded with eyes 
crosswise. Section 393.100(c) read as follows:

    (c)(3)(ii) Coils with eyes crosswise: Each coil or transverse 
row of coils loaded side by side and having approximately the same 
outside diameters must be secured by--
    (a) A tiedown assembly through the eye of each coil, restricting 
against forward motion and making an angle of less than 45[deg] with 
the horizontal when viewed from the side of the vehicle;
    (b) A tiedown assembly through the eye of each coil, restricting 
against rearward motion and making an angle of less than 45[deg] 
with the horizontal when viewed from the side of the vehicle; and
    (c) Timbers, having a nominal cross section of 4 x 4 inches or 
more and a length which is at least 75 percent of the width of the 
coil or row of coils, tightly placed against both the front and rear 
sides of the coil or row of coils and restrained to prevent movement 
of the coil or coils in the forward and rearward directions.
    (d) If coils are loaded to contact each other in the 
longitudinal direction and relative motion between coils, and 
between coils and the vehicle, is prevented by tiedown assemblies 
and timbers--
    (1) Only the foremost and rearmost coils must be secured with 
timbers; and
    (2) A single tiedown assembly, restricting against forward 
motion, may be used to secure any coil except the rearmost one, 
which must be restrained against rearward motion. [Emphasis added]

    FCSG stated that, without a temporary exemption, adherence to the 
existing regulations at 49 CFR 393.120(c)--i.e., treating each coil as 
an individual coil--places a burden on the motor carrier to carry 
significantly more coil bunks and timbers to secure each coil in a 
raised bunk off the deck. FCSG argued that individual securement of 
each coil produces no added safety benefit (but increases securement 
complexity in terms of coil bunks and timbers) compared to the 
``unitized'' securement of multiple coils with eyes crosswise in rows 
in contact each other in the longitudinal direction. FCSG stated that 
securing groups of coils in this manner would allow the load to be 
unitized while still meeting the aggregate working load limit 
requirements of 49 CFR 393.106(d).
    FCSG is working cooperatively with the North American Cargo 
Securement Harmonization Forum to effect these changes in the North 
American Cargo Securement Model Regulation, which both the U.S. and 
Canada have committed to use to update both the FMCSRs and Canada's 
National Safety Code 10. FCSG argued that the ``unitized'' securement 
of adjacent coils with eyes crosswise was deemed safe prior to the 
January 2004 revisions to the cargo securement regulations and should 
be still be considered safe today.
    For the reasons stated above, FCSG requested that motor carriers be 
allowed to comply with the pre-January 2004 cargo securement provisions 
(then 49 CFR 393.100(c)) during the period of the exemption, if 
granted. FCSG believes that utilization of the pre-January 2004 
regulations will allow carriers transporting metal coils to maintain a 
level of safety that is equivalent to the level of safety achieved 
without the exemption. A copy of FCSG's application for exemption is 
available for review in the docket of this notice.

Comments

    FMCSA received two comments to the published exemption notice.
    1. Richard Moskowitz responded on behalf of the American Trucking 
Associations (ATA), a large trade association representing State CMV 
associations. ATA supported the FCSG application for exemption and 
noted that the preamble to the September 2002

[[Page 20869]]

final rule did not explain why the previous provision governing the 
transportation of unitized coils with eyes crosswise was being omitted. 
ATA agreed with FCSG's assertion that there is no additional safety 
benefit from securing rows of metal coils with eyes crosswise and in 
contact each other as individual coils under the current 49 CFR 
393.120(c).
    2. Gerald A. Donaldson, Ph.D., commented on behalf of the Advocates 
for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) in opposition to the FCSG 
application, arguing that the exemption would (1) undermine the current 
cargo securement regulation, and (2) place the traveling public in an 
increased risk of catastrophic events involving the ejection or 
dislodgement of heavy metal coils weighing up to 40,000 pounds. 
Advocates stated that FCSG does not cite any independently gathered, 
credible evidence to support the claim that a ``unitized'' carriage of 
coils as described by the applicant is just as safe as separate, 
independent securement of these coils through the use of tiedowns in 
conjunction with bunks, chocks, or cradles. Advocates commented that 
granting the application for temporary exemption would essentially 
reject the recommendations produced by the deliberations of leading 
cargo securement experts from the U.S. and Canada that led to the 
development of the North American Cargo Securement Model Regulation.
    Advocates noted that FMCSA relied on two research studies ``in 
proposing and adopting new cargo securement regulations that 
specifically addressed, in considerable detail, the need to ensure the 
independent securement of each transverse coil in the `suicide 
arrangement' of multiple rows of such coils.'' Advocates stated that 
both the 1995 Illinois Transportation Research Center report entitled 
``Analysis of Rules and Regulations for Steel Coil Truck Transport: 
Final Report'' and the 1997 Canadian Council of Motor Transport 
Administrators (CCMTA) report entitled ``Tests On Methods of Securement 
for Metal Coils'' ``explicitly evaluate the need for intervening 
blocks, chocks, or cradles for each transverse coil so that excessive 
forces are not generated during vehicle and cargo acceleration (which 
is non-linear as acceleration force increases) that place excessive 
demands on tiedowns.'' Advocates stated that the cargo securement 
requirements for metal coils are ``based on both static and dynamic 
tests and are of record.''
    FMCSA Response:
    As a result of rulemaking petitions submitted by various parties, 
FMCSA published a final rule on June 22, 2006, amending its September 
2002 final rule concerning protection against shifting and falling 
cargo (71 FR 35819). Among other things, this rule amended the 
definition of metal coil to read ``an article of cargo comprised of 
elements, mixtures, compounds, or alloys commonly known as metal, 
stamped metal, metal wire, metal rod, or metal chain that are packaged 
as a roll, coil, spool, wind, or wrap, including plastic or rubber 
coated electrical wire and communications cable.'' This revised 
definition meant that the commodity-specific rules for securing metal 
coils would apply to a wider variety of coils. Some of these products 
are substantially lighter than coils of flat sheet metal and can 
therefore be transported in groups on a single vehicle without causing 
violations of interstate truck (or axle) weight limits designed to 
protect pavements and bridges from damage and excessive wear and 
tear.\1\
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    \1\ Congress enacted the Bridge Formula in 1975 to limit the 
weight-to-length ratio of a vehicle crossing a bridge. This is 
accomplished either by spreading weight over additional axles or by 
increasing the distance between axles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While the two reports cited by Advocates examined various aspects 
of metal coil securement, it is important to note that neither of these 
studies discussed or evaluated--either analytically or through actual 
testing--the securement of rows of coils grouped together with eyes 
crosswise. Instead, each of the reports cited by Advocates evaluated 
only the securement of single coils with eyes vertical, crosswise, or 
lengthwise.
     The 1995 Illinois Transportation Research Center report on 
steel coil transport consists of (1) a 1994 field survey at seven 
Illinois vehicle scale locations, and (2) engineering analyses of metal 
coil securement through rigid body dynamics analysis, scaled model 
testing, and finite element analysis. At the time of that report, there 
was no specific definition of metal coils in the FMCSRs. Further, the 
term ``suicide arrangement'' in the Illinois Transportation Research 
Center report was used as an anecdotal reference only, and was not 
supported by crash or fatality data that showed CMV drivers to be at a 
higher risk in the event of a crash in which rows of metal coils 
grouped together with eyes crosswise were transported and secured 
according to the pre-2004 rules. While the report recommended a number 
of amendments to the cargo securement regulations for metal coils, none 
of these recommendations questioned the then-existing securement 
requirements for groups of coils with eyes crosswise, or identified 
specific changes necessary to improve the securement of groups of coils 
with eyes crosswise.
     The metal coils tested as part of the 1997 CCMTA report 
weighed individually 18,220 lbs, 23,200 lbs, and 44,400 lbs. These 
coils could not be tested in groups, since any substantial grouping 
would push the trailer over the 34,000-pound tandem axle weight allowed 
on the Interstate System. Like the Illinois Transportation Research 
Center report, the CCMTA report provided a number of recommendations 
for the securement of metal coils. Similarly, none of these 
recommendations questioned the then-existing securement requirements 
for groups of coils with eyes crosswise, or addressed specific changes 
necessary to improve the securement of groups of coils with eyes 
crosswise.
    Advocates stated that ``Granting the exemption would * * * 
essentially reject the recommendations produced by the deliberations of 
leading cargo securement experts from the U.S. and Canada conducted 
over several years that supported strengthening securement requirements 
in numerous respects.'' Representatives of both FMCSA and CCMTA who 
served on the North American Cargo Securement Harmonization Committee, 
including the Chairman for the subcommittee on metal coil securement, 
have been contacted regarding this issue. Each of these representatives 
has confirmed that the lack of specific securement methods for rows of 
coils grouped together with eyes crosswise appears to have been an 
inadvertent omission when the Model Regulation was developed. 
Subsequently, given that no such requirements exist in the Model 
Regulation, no requirements for this loading pattern were included in 
the 2002 revisions to the FMCSRs. This omission has been brought to the 
attention of the North American Cargo Securement Harmonization Public 
Forum for consideration.
    FMCSA acknowledges that FCSG did not present specific studies or 
data concerning the safety impact of granting this exemption. However, 
for the reasons discussed above, the Agency believes that granting the 
temporary exemption to allow securement of rows of metal coils loaded 
to contact each other in the longitudinal direction, with relative 
motion between coils and between coils and the vehicle prevented by 
tiedown assemblies and timbers, provides a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption.

[[Page 20870]]

    FMCSA has decided to grant FCSG's exemption application. FMCSA 
encourages any party having information that motor carriers utilizing 
this exemption are not achieving the requisite level of safety 
immediately to notify the Agency. If safety is being compromised, or if 
the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 
31315(b) and 31136(e), FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the 
exemption.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    Based on its evaluation of the application for an exemption, FMCSA 
has decided to grant FCSG's exemption application. The Agency believes 
that the level of safety that will be achieved using the pre-2004 cargo 
securement regulations to secure of rows of metal coils with eyes 
crosswise during the 2-year exemption period will likely be equivalent 
to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption.
    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a two-year period, 
beginning April 12, 2011, and ending April 12, 2013.
    During the temporary exemption period, motor carriers must meet the 
following requirements while still meeting the aggregate working load 
limit requirements of 49 CFR 393.106(d).

    Coils with eyes crosswise: If coils are loaded to contact each 
other in the longitudinal direction, and relative motion between 
coils, and between coils and the vehicle, is prevented by tiedown 
assemblies and timbers:
    (1) Only the foremost and rearmost coils must be secured with 
timbers having a nominal cross section of 4 x 4 inches or more and a 
length which is at least 75 percent of the width of the coil or row 
of coils, tightly placed against both the front and rear sides of 
the row of coils and restrained to prevent movement of the coils in 
the forward and rearward directions; and
    (2) The first and last coils in a row of coils must be secured 
with a tiedown assembly restricting against forward and rearward 
motion, respectively. Each additional coil in the row of coils must 
be secured to the trailer using a tiedown assembly.

    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that motor carriers using the cargo securement exemption for rows of 
metal coils with eyes crosswise are not achieving the requisite 
statutory level of safety should provide that information to the 
Agency, which will place it in Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0177. We will 
evaluate any such information, and, if safety is being compromised or 
if the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 
31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), will take immediate steps to revoke this 
exemption.

Preemption

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent 
with this exemption to allow the securement of metal coils loaded with 
eyes crosswise, grouped in rows, in which the coils are loaded to 
contact each other in the longitudinal direction with respect to a 
person operating under the exemption.

    Issued on: April 5, 2011.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-8563 Filed 4-13-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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