[Federal Register: April 30, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 83)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2003-14652]
Commercial Driver's License Standards; Isuzu Motors America,
Inc.'s Exemption Application
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces receipt of an application from Isuzu
Motors America, Inc. (Isuzu), requesting an exemption from the agency's
requirement of 49 CFR 383.23 for drivers of commercial motor vehicles
(CMVs) to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). Isuzu requested the
exemption for 31 Japanese engineers and technicians who will be test-
driving CMVs for Isuzu. All of the individuals hold a valid Japanese
commercial license and are specially trained in driving CMVs in Japan.
They normally work at Isuzu Motors Limited (IML) in Japan where their
duties involve developing, designing, and/or testing engines for CMVs
that will be manufactured, assembled, sold or primarily used in the
United States. Isuzu states the exemption is necessary in order to
allow the required testing of CMVs in various climatic and
environmental conditions within the United States. Isuzu also states
the written and driving tests and training program that Japanese
drivers must undergo for a Japanese CDL, ensure a level of safety that
is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be
obtained by complying with the regulation. If granted, the exemption
would preempt inconsistent State and local requirements applicable to
both interstate and intrastate commerce.
DATES: Please submit comments by May 30, 2003.
ADDRESSES: Submit comments by mail or messenger service to the U.S.
Department of Transportation, Dockets Management System, 400 Seventh
Street, SW., Room Plaza Level-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001. To
receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, include a
self-addressed, stamped postcard. You may submit comments
electronically to the Dockets Management System (DMS) Web site at
http://dms.dot.gov, and click on comments/submissions; or by fax to
(202) 493-2251. Be sure your comments refer to docket number FMCSA-
All comments and material received from the public, as well as this
notice and the application mentioned in the notice, are available for
review in the public docket. You may inspect or copy documents at the
Dockets Management Facility at the above address between 9 a.m. and 5
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also view
and copy documents through the DMS Web site at http://dms.dot.gov, and
click on simple search.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Teresa Doggett, (202) 366-2990,
Office of Bus and Truck Standards and
Operations (MC-PSP); or Mr. Joseph Solomey, (202) 366-1374, Office of
the Chief Counsel (MC-CC), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
DOT, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are
from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except
Sections 31315 and 31136 of title 49 of the United States Code
(U.S.C.) provide the FMCSA with authority to grant exemptions from
certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
An exemption provides relief to a person or class of persons subject to
the regulations for up to two years, and may be renewed. These
provisions also require the exemption to achieve a level of safety that
is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be
obtained if the applicant complied with the regulations.
On December 8, 1998, FMCSA published an interim final rule
implementing section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st
century (TEA-21) (codified at 49 U.S.C. 31315 (see 63 FR 67600)). The
regulations at 49 CFR part 381 establish the procedures to be followed
to request waivers and to apply for exemptions from the FMCSRs, and the
provisions used to process them.
The agency must publish a notice in the Federal Register for each
exemption requested, explaining that the request has been filed,
providing the public with an opportunity to inspect the safety analysis
and any other relevant information known to the agency; and provide an
opportunity for public comment on the exemption. (See 49 U.S.C.
31315(b) and 49 CFR 381.315).
Before granting a request for an exemption, the agency must publish
a notice in the Federal Register identifying: (1) Who would receive the
exemption, (2) what regulation would be covered by the exemption, (3)
how long the exemption would be in effect, and (4) all terms and
conditions of the exemption. The terms and conditions established by
the FMCSA must ensure that the exemption will likely achieve a level of
safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be
achieved by complying with the regulation.
Isuzu Application for an Exemption
Isuzu Motors America, Inc. (Isuzu) applied for an exemption from
the commercial driver's licensing rules, specifically 49 CFR 383.23,
which provides licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in
interstate commerce. Isuzu is seeking this exemption because the
drivers it employs are citizens and residents of Japan.
FMCSA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the
FMCSRs, including the commercial driver's license requirements. Section
383.23(a)(2) states that no person shall operate a CMV unless such
person possesses a CDL issued by his or her jurisdiction of domicile.
There is an exception to this rule which states that CMV drivers
domiciled in other jurisdictions that do not test drivers and issue
licenses in accordance with Federal regulations must obtain a
nonresident CDL from a State which does comply with the Federal testing
and licensing standards.
The drivers working for Isuzu hold current commercial licenses
issued by the Japanese authorities and meet testing and driver
qualification standards, including medical examinations, which are
comparable to those administered by jurisdictions in the United States
to applicants for State-issued CDLs. The Japanese-issued license
indicates that the drivers have the knowledge and skills necessary to
comply with the agency's rules. A copy of the application is in the
docket identified at the beginning of this notice.
The exemption would allow the following drivers to operate tractor
trailer combination vehicles in interstate commerce as part of a team
of drivers who develop, design and/or test engines for CMVs that will
be manufactured, assembled, sold or primarily used in the United
States: Shintaro Moroi, Shigeru Takamatsu, Norio Takeda, Takeshi
Yamagishi, Satoru Amemiya, Toshiya Asari, Yasunori Fujita, Shiro
Fukuda, Tetsuya Hiromatsu, Kazunori Ligo, Masao Inoue, Akihuro
Kashiwakura, Kinya Kitamura, Tsuyoshi Koyama, Takao Kudo, Wataru
Kumakura, Yoshihiko Matsubara, Nobuyuki Miyazaki, Ryo Natsume, Motoki
Nishi, Takuo Nishi, Fumio Oota, Masuru Otsu, Toshimitsu Sato, Kazuyoshi
Shimamura, Masahito Suzuki, Yasuhito Tahara, Hiroyoshi Takahashi,
Takashi Tanabe, Takehito Yaguchi, and Tsutomu Yamazaki.
The vehicles these drivers intend to operate will be tested in
various climates and highway conditions in the states of Arizona,
California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan,
Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming.
These drivers are a team of designers, currently employed by IML in
Japan, who want to drive CMVs in the United States to test and evaluate
production and prototype CMVs in order to design safe and well-tested
vehicles for use on U.S. highways. They are fully qualified CMV
operators with valid Japanese-issued commercial licenses. The company
ensures that the qualifications are maintained and all current Japanese
laws are followed. Due to strict regulations in Japan for drivers
holding Japanese-issued licenses and extensive CMV training and
experience, Isuzu Motors America, Inc. believes that the exemption is
likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to the level of safety
that would be obtained absent the exemption.
Isuzu does not anticipate any adverse safety impacts from this
exemption due to the fact that Japanese authorities adhere to very
strict commercial driver testing and licensing procedures.
Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety
Drivers applying to obtain a Japanese-issued commercial license
must take both a knowledge test and skills test before a license to
operate CMVs is issued. Prior to taking the tests, drivers are required
to hold a conventional driver's license for at least three years. The
process for obtaining a Japanese-issued commercial license is very
rigorous and comprehensive, and Isuzu considers it to be comparable to,
or as effective as the requirements of part 383 of the Federal
requirements and adequately assesses the driver's ability to operate
CMVs in the United States.
Once a Japanese driver is granted a commercial license, he/she is
allowed to drive any CMV currently allowed on Japan roads. There are no
limits to types or weights of vehicles that may be operated by the
drivers. The drivers affected by the exemption will be operating
tractor-trailer units. These vehicles will not be used for transporting
merchandise as a commercial activity. It is estimated that each driver
will drive approximately 5,000 miles on U.S. roads.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA
requests public comment from all interested persons on Isuzu's
application for an exemption from the CDL requirement of 49 CFR 383.23.
The agency may grant or deny the application based on the comments
received and any other relevant information that is available to the
agency. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed
in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable,
FMCSA may make its decision at any time after the close of the comment
period. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file,
in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after
the comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine
the public docket for new material.
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73.
Issued on: April 23, 2003.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 03-10571 Filed 4-29-03; 8:45 am]