[Federal Register: June 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 109)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[DOT Docket No. FMCSA-2005-21338]
Hours of Service of Drivers; Xora, Inc. Application for an
Exemption From the Design Requirements for Automatic On-Board Recording
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
requests public comment on Xora, Inc.'s (Xora) application for an
exemption from the requirement that AOBRs for monitoring drivers' hours
of service be integrally synchronized with the specific operations of
the vehicle on which it is installed. Xora, a software development
company, working in conjunction with Nextel Communications, a wireless
communications service provider, has developed an hours of service
(HOS) OBR software application for use with Global Positioning System
(GPS)--enabled wireless telephones and its computer system to document
drivers' hours of service. Xora's system performs all of the functions
required of AOBRs currently allowed by FMCSA's regulations with the
exception of the requirement for integral synchronization with specific
operations of the commercial motor vehicle on which it is installed.
Xora believes the use of their hours-of-service monitoring system by
motor carriers would achieve a level of safety equivalent to what would
be provided by AOBRs which are integrally synchronized with specific
operations of the CMV.
DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 8, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number
FMCSA-2005-21338 by any of the following methods:
Web site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401,
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting.
Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and
docket number for this notice. Note that all comments received will be
posted without change to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov including any personal
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading for further
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov.and/or Room PL-401 on the
plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments
received into any of DOT's dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, or other
entity). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the
Federal Register (65 FR 19477, Apr. 11, 2000). This statement is also
available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Schultz, Driver and Carrier
Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations,
MC-PSD, (202) 366-4009, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998) amended 49 U.S.C. 31315
and 31136(e) to provide FMCSA with authority to grant exemptions from
its safety regulations. On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a Final
Rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 4007 (63 FR 67600). Under the
rule FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption application in the
Federal Register (49 CFR part 381). FMCSA must provide the public with
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.
FMCSA must then examine the safety analyses and the public comments
and determine whether the exemption would achieve a level of safety
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by
complying with the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The Agency's
decision must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)).
If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason for doing
so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice must specify
the person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the
regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is being
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the
exemption (up to two years), and explain the terms and conditions of
the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Xora's Application for an Exemption
Xora requested an exemption from the requirement that AOBRs be
integrally synchronized with specific operations of the vehicle on
which they are installed. Section 395.15 of the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations (49 CFR 395.15) allows the use of AOBRs, as defined
in 395.2, instead of handwritten records of duty status required by
395.8. Section 395.2 defines AOBR as follows:
Automatic on-board recording device means an electric,
electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of
recording driver's duty status information accurately and
automatically, as required by 49 CFR Part 395.15. The device must be
integrally synchronized with specific operation of the commercial
motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device
must record engine use, road speeds, miles driven, the date and time
Xora requested the exemption to enable its motor carrier clients to
use its HOS management system as an alternative to AOBRs that are
integrally synchronized with specific vehicle operations. A copy of the
exemption application is in the docket for this notice.
Xora believes its Global Positioning System (GPS)--enabled,
handheld HOS monitoring system provides several advantages when
compared to handwritten records of duty status and AOBRs that are
integrally synchronized with functions of the vehicle. The advantages
1) Low cost;
(2) Real-time system for alerting drivers and managers about HOS
limits and violations;
(3) Complete driver HOS history stored and available for review and
(4) Enhanced HOS management reports;
(5) Tamper resistance;
(6) Ease of law enforcement review;
(7) Familiar wireless telephone handset, ease of training;
(8) Multi-purpose handset, voice, message, data, multi-media;
(9) Safety (driver may communicate in and away from the vehicle);
(10) Inexpensive mounting option;
(11) Ease of transfer from one vehicle to another;
(12) Ease of integration (allows for enhanced dispatch and
logistics, including HOS availability);
(13) All activity digitally stored, secured and time stamped; and
(14) Ease of repair and replacement.
Xora requested that motor carriers covered by the exemption be
allowed to use a GPS-enabled wireless telephone which can record
vehicle speed, detect small changes in motion and identify stop/start
events. The system can change the driver's duty status based upon GPS
readings. Xora's system calculates vehicle speed and distance traveled
based upon GPS satellite data. Xora believes this approach would result
in an accurate recording of HOS and monitoring of drivers' duty status.
The interval for signals between the GPS-enabled telephone and the
satellite may be adjusted to once every minute to ensure accurate
estimates of vehicle speed and distance traveled. The capability of the
GPS-enabled wireless telephone would eliminate the necessity of having
the unit tethered to the engine.
Xora argues that denial of the exemption would cause the motor
carrier industry to lose an opportunity to replace handwritten records
of duty status with a low cost alternative. Without this special
consideration, the Xora system and other GPS-enabled handset-based HOS
monitoring systems will not be able to enter the market in the
foreseeable future. Xora believes the time taken for a regulatory
change would result in vendors losing enthusiasm for the potential
market. The company estimates that the total number of drivers
operating under the terms of the exemption would be ``upwards of ten
thousand after the first year.'' In addition, many motor carriers
currently make extensive use of wireless telephone service and
technology for basic communications, scheduling, and logistics. These
motor carrier operations
would have the ability to consolidate costs into one system that
provides the features and benefits of wireless telephones and a
paperless means of complying with the requirement to accurately
document drivers' hours of service.
Xora believes its system offers enhanced safety because it allows
for a much more accurate compilation of drivers' on-duty time, driving
time, driving distance and total hours, than handwritten records of
duty status. The system is easily accessible for Federal and State
roadside inspectors to review. The system maintains the required
records in the GPS-enabled handset, and records are also maintained at
the motor carrier's principle place of business. The system also
provides a warning for drivers as they approach the applicable HOS
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests
public comment from all interested persons on Xora's application for
exemption from 49 CFR 395.15. All comments received before the close of
business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this
notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the
docket at the location listed under the address section of this notice.
Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the
public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In
addition to late comments, the 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.
Issued on: May 27, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-11333 Filed 6-7-05; 8:45 am]
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