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Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies, Application for Renewal of Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Trailways

Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies, Application for Renewal of Exemption

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
March 18, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 52 (Wednesday, March 18, 2015)]
[Pages 14229-14231]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-06176]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0268]

Hours of Service of Drivers: Trailways Companies, Application for 
Renewal of Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of application for renewal of exemption; request for 


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received an application from 
Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways 
(``Trailways'') for a renewal of their exemption from the hours-of-
service (HOS) record of duty status (RODs) provision in 49 CFR 
395.8(c). Trailways currently holds an exemption for the period of May 
31, 2013 to May 31, 2015. FMCSA extended the exemption to

[[Page 14230]]

include all regular-route passenger carriers and their drivers rather 
than limiting it to Trailways' drivers. The renewal of the exemption 
would allow these drivers to perform their daily duties without having 
to record entries in the daily log for breaks in driving time of 10 
minutes or less. Such activity would not be considered a change of duty 
status. FMCSA requests public comment on Trailways' application for 

DATES: If granted, this exemption would be effective during the period 
of May 31, 2015 to May 31, 2017. Comments must be received on or before 
April 17, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2012-0268 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number 
for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without 
change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, 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 online Federal document management system 
is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want 
acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgment 
page that appears after submitting comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 

Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you 
have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.


Trailways' Application for Exemption

    The HOS rule in 49 CFR 395.8(c) requires every commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) driver to record his or her duty status for each 24-hour 
period using methods described in that section. Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 
and 31136(e), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the HOS requirements 
for up to a 2-year period if it finds such exemption would likely 
achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level that would be achieved absent such exemption. The procedures for 
requesting an exemption (including renewals) are prescribed in 49 CFR 
part 381.
    Trailways offers scheduled passenger-carrier service throughout New 
York State and to the nearby Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto. 
Trailways and all other regular route passenger carriers and their 
drivers were granted exemptions for the period May 31, 2013 to May 31, 
2015. Trailways' initial application for relief from the HOS RODs rule 
was submitted in 2012; a copy of the application is in the docket 
identified at the beginning of this notice. The 2012 application 
describes fully the nature of Trailways' operations.
    Trailways' application for a renewal of the exemption is for fixed-
route carriers and their drivers who are often away from the controls 
of the vehicle for less than 10 minutes to assist passengers or make 
passenger pick-ups and drop-offs along the route. Trailways' advised 
that until March 2011 they and other motor carriers had been operating 
in accordance with a 1996 interpretation of 49 CFR 395.8(c) issued by 
the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The 1996 interpretation 
allowed regular-route passenger carrier CMV drivers not to record a 
location entry on the driver's RODS for non-driving periods of less 
than 10 minutes. The RODS simply showed the stop as driving time. In 
March 2011, New York State officials began enforcing the rule 
literally, requiring that a change in duty status be entered on the log 
any time the driver leaves the operating controls of the CMV. Trailways 
was concerned that the violations would have a negative effect on the 
companies' and the drivers' Compliance Safety Accountability ratings, 
as well as schedules and passenger service because of the delays needed 
to make the entries.
    Trailways therefore requested that their drivers with regularly 
scheduled routes be exempted from changing their duty status from 
``driving'' to ``on-duty not driving'' when making stops of less than 
10 minutes.
    Trailways noted that the exemption would reduce the amount of total 
time a driver can drive in a duty period. Without the exemption, the 
times drivers spend at stops to load passengers, freight, etc. would be 
logged as on-duty/not driving, increasing the driving time available, 
but creating an additional administrative distraction every time the 
driver leaves the controls, regardless of the reason or the limited 
amount of time away from the vehicle controls. Trailways further 
advised that its carriers provide flag stops and that having to update 
the log at each flag stop increases the length of time the motorcoach 
may delay traffic while waiting for the pick-up and/or discharge of 
passengers and luggage, and then waiting for the driver to update the 
log. According to Trailways, in many instances the large number of 
brief stops will not fit on the log if the driver makes all of the 
required entries.
    Trailways noted that the maximum possible driving time would be 
reduced and that traffic congestion could be reduced. FMCSA believes 
this would ensure that operations under the exemption would be at least 
as safe as operations that comply with the requirements on change of 
duty status.
    As in 2013, FMCSA would apply the exemption, if granted, to all 
regular-route for-hire passenger-carrier drivers because they 
presumably operate in much the same manner as Trailways. Including all 
such drivers in the exemption will preclude the need for other carries 
to file identical exemption requests, and will provide for consistent 
enforcement because the same provisions would be applied to all similar 
scenarios involving brief stops by drivers of these carriers during 
their regular-route operations.
    A copy of Trailways' exemption application is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment on the Trailways' application for an exemption 
from certain

[[Page 14231]]

provisions of the driver's record of duty status rules in 49 CFR part 
395. The Agency will consider all comments received by close of 
business on April 17, 2015. Comments will be available for examination 
in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of 
this notice. The Agency will consider to the extent practicable 
comments received in the public docket after the closing date of the 
comment period.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption would be restricted to drivers employed by Trailways 
and other regular-route for-hire passenger-carrier drivers. Instead of 
complying with the provisions in 49 CFR 395.8(c), these drivers would 
be exempted from changing their duty status from ``driving'' to ``on-
duty not driving'' when making stops of less than 10 minutes. These 
drivers must comply with all other applicable provisions of the Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350-399).

Terms of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

    The limited exemption from the HOS RODs requirements of 49 CFR 
395.8(c) is proposed to be effective from 12:01 a.m. on May 31, 2015, 
through 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2017.


    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), during the period this 
exemption would be in effect, no State may enforce any law or 
regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the exemption 
with respect to a firm or person operating under the exemption.

Notification to FMCSA

    Trailways and other regular-route for-hire passenger-carriers would 
be required to 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. 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 


    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 11, 2015.
 Larry W. Minor,
 Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-06176 Filed 3-17-15; 8:45 am]

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