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Marking of Commercial Motor Vehicles; Application for an Exemption--Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, New York Trailways

Marking of Commercial Motor Vehicles; Application for an Exemption--Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways

James A. Mullen
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1 June 2020


[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 105 (Monday, June 1, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33272-33274]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-11740]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0062]


Marking of Commercial Motor Vehicles; Application for an 
Exemption--Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York 
Trailways

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant Adirondack Transit Lines, Inc. (dba 
Adirondack Trailways), Pine Hill-Kingston Bus Corp. (dba Pine Hill 
Trailways), and Passenger Bus Corp. (dba New York Trailways) an 
exemption from FMCSA's commercial motor vehicle (CMV) marking rules 
under certain circumstances involving the exchange of equipment and/or 
drivers. FMCSA has determined that the terms and conditions of the 
exemption likely ensure a level of safety equivalent to, or greater 
than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective June 1, 2020 and expires May 28, 
2025.

ADDRESSES: 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. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before visiting 
Docket Operations.
    The on-line Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 
hours each day, 365 days each year.
    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 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. La Tonya Mimms, FMCSA Driver and 
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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Public Participation

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2020-0062'' in the ``Keyword'' box and click 
``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and choose 
the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you 
may view the docket by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room 
W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. To be sure someone is 
there to help you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before 
visiting Docket Operations.

II. Legal Basis

    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 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 be likely to 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 granting 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 specify the effective period of 
the exemption (up to 5 years), and explain the terms and conditions of 
the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

III. Request for Exemption

    Under 49 CFR 390.21, commercial motor vehicles must display the 
legal name or single trade name of the motor carrier operating the 
vehicle and the

[[Page 33273]]

USDOT identification number assigned to that motor carrier. For motor 
carriers operating interchanged passenger carrying vehicles, the 
requirements of section 390.21(b)(3) are satisfied if the vehicle is 
marked with a single placard, sign, or other device affixed to the 
right (curb) side of the vehicle on or near the front passenger door. 
The placard, sign, or device must display the legal name or a single 
trade name of the motor carrier operating the CMV and the motor 
carrier's USDOT number, preceded by the words ``Operated by.''
    Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways 
combined operate approximately 130 motorcoaches using about 124 drivers 
in intercity bus service. The three commonly owned passenger services 
interchange buses and drivers frequently each year. Additionally, 
Adirondack Trailways is party to longstanding agreements for through 
service with various carriers and for revenue pooling with Greyhound 
Lines, Inc. The applicants explained that the frequency with which 
motorcoaches are involved in interchange arrangements with the three 
Trailways carriers, Greyhound Lines, and other passenger carriers makes 
it difficult to comply with section 390.21(b)(3). This is especially 
the case when the interchanges happen on short notice and in remote 
locations. Therefore, the companies are seeking an exemption from the 
CMV marking requirements in 49 CFR 390.21(b)(3).

IV. Public Comments

    On January 14, 2020 (85 FR 2229), the Agency published a notice 
requesting public comment on the exemption request from Adirondack 
Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways. The Agency 
received three responses to the notice, with comments from two 
individuals who opposed the exemption application and comments from the 
American Bus Association (ABA) writing in support of the request.
    Mr. Michael Millard said ``[b]ased on the legal issues of three 
carriers sharing one insurance policy and issues regarding drivers 
employed by multiple carriers I suggest the application [should be] 
denied and the three carriers do what they already seem to have done. 
Become one carrier.''
    An anonymous commenter stated: ``In a world where there is great 
concern about chameleon carriers, these carriers are asking for an 
exemption from the one tool that FMCSA has to track who is responsible 
for the safety of the vehicle on the road.''
    The ABA believes ``This action, coupled with the [carriers'] long-
standing safety record and level of service to the passengers in the 
region, persuades ABA to support the petition for exemption.''

V. FMCSA Decision and Safety Analysis

    FMCSA believes it is appropriate to grant the applicants an 
exemption from 49 CFR 390.21 concerning the CMV marking requirements 
for interchanged passenger-carrying equipment. The frequency with which 
vehicles are interchanged between the commonly owned and controlled 
motor carries of passengers, Greyhound Lines and other authorized motor 
carriers of passengers creates significant challenges for achieving 
compliance with 49 CFR 390.21(b)(3). The Agency has determined, as 
required by 49 U.S.C. 31315(b) and the implementing regulations under 
49 CFR part 381, that the exemption is likely to achieve a level of 
safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that 
would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.
    The Agency acknowledges the commenters' concerns. However, the 
exemption does not provide relief from a rule that could impact the 
safety performance of the commonly owned companies. The only question 
is whether the agency should provide an exemption to address the 
marking requirements when the interchanges between carriers happen 
frequently, especially on short notice and in remote locations. These 
carriers still bear full responsibility for compliance with the 
applicable safety regulations. Furthermore, the granting of the 
exemption does not leave Federal and State safety enforcement personnel 
without a means of identifying the carrier responsible for the 
operation of a vehicle on a given trip, or a means of conducting 
compliance assurance activities.
    From a safety equivalency perspective, each of the passenger 
carriers providing transportation services would continue to be subject 
to all regulations concerning on-road safety performance (e.g., driver 
licensing and qualifications, controlled substances and alcohol 
testing, inspection, repair, and maintenance, hours of service, etc.). 
Each passenger carrier would also continue to meet the financial 
responsibility requirements and maintain operating authority. The 
Agency's information technology system provides a means for immediate 
notification by the insurance carrier if the insurance policy is 
cancelled, or there is a change in operating authority status.
    In addition, each vehicle would display the name and USDOT number 
assigned to the owner/lessee of the passenger-carrying vehicle, with 
information about the responsible motor carrier readily available from 
the driver.
    FMCSA does not believe the exemption will compromise safety because 
the public can easily identify one of the FMCSA-authorized carriers 
involved in the transportation, while Federal or State enforcement 
personnel would have immediate access to the identity of the 
responsible carrier, if the name and USDOT number displayed on the side 
of the passenger-carrying vehicle is not the operating carrier for the 
specific trip.

VI. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

    This exemption from 49 CFR 390.21(b)(3) is issued to Adirondack 
Transit Lines, Inc. (dba Adirondack Trailways), Pine Hill-Kingston Bus 
Corp. (dba Pine Hill Trailways), and Passenger Bus Corp. (dba New York 
Trailways). The conditions of this exemption are as follows:
    1. Passenger-carrying commercial vehicles display the name and 
USDOT number of the owner/lessee;
    2. A document is signed by at least one of the authorized carriers 
involved in the movement of the vehicle that provides (in electronic or 
paper format):
    a. The registered name of each party to the agreement;
    b. The USDOT number for each party to the agreement;
    3. The passenger carrier named on the driver's record of duty 
status is the responsible motor carrier;
    4. The owner/lessee and the responsible motor carrier cooperate 
with all Federal, State and local enforcement officials to provide the 
identity of the operators of the passenger carrying vehicle.
    The carrier and drivers must comply with all other requirements of 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350-399) and 
Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 105-180).

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 adopt the same 
exemption with respect to operations in intrastate commerce.

[[Page 33274]]

FMCSA Notification

    Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, and New York Trailways 
must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident (as defined by 
49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of their CMVs while under 
this exemption. The notification must be emailed to MCPSD@DOT.GOV and 
include the following information:
    a. Name of the Exemption: ``Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill 
Trailways, and New York Trailways'';
    b. The USDOT number of the operating carrier;
    c. Date of the accident;
    d. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
which is closest to the scene of the accident;
    e. Driver's name and driver's license State, number, and class;
    f. Co-Driver's name and driver's license State, number, and class;
    g. Vehicle company number and power unit license plate State and 
number;
    h. Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
    i. Number of fatalities;
    j. The police-reported cause of the accident;
    k. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
or motor carrier safety regulations; and
    l. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV 
driver at the time of the accident.
    In addition, if there are any injuries or fatalities, the carrier 
must forward the police accident report to MCPSD@DOT.GOV as soon as 
available.

Termination

    The FMCSA does not believe the carriers 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 revoking the exemption. The FMCSA will 
revoke the exemption immediately for failure to comply with its terms 
and conditions.

James A. Mullen,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2020-11740 Filed 5-29-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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