[Federal Register: November 16, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 220)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-22660]
Hours of Service of Drivers: United States Postal Service Application for Exemption
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received an application for
exemption from the hours-of-service (HOS) requirements from the United
States Postal Service (USPS) on behalf of motor carriers that transport
mail under contract for USPS. USPS requests that some of its contract
motor carriers be allowed to operate under the HOS rules in effect
prior to January 4, 2004. USPS believes the exemption would likely
achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level
achieved under the HOS rules applicable to operators of property-
carrying vehicles rules after January 4, 2004. FMCSA requests public
comment on the USPS application for exemption.
DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number
FMCSA-2005-22660 using any of the following methods:
- Web site: http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- 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://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
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://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 [[Page 69626]]
comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time 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. The DMS is available 24 hours each day, 365
days each year. If you want us to notify you that we received your
comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard
or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting
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 published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477, Apr. 11,
2000). This statement is also available at http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and
Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and
Operations, MC-PSD, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Telephone: 202-366-
4009. E-mail: MCPSD@fmcsa.dot.gov.
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 authority to grant exemptions from motor
carrier safety regulations. On December 8, 1998, the Federal Highway
Administration's Office of Motor Carriers, the predecessor to FMCSA,
published an interim final rule implementing sec. 4007 (63 FR 67600).
On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) on this
subject. Under this rule, 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 also 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 likely 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)). If the agency denies the request, it must state the reason
for doing so. If the agency grants the exemption, the notice must
specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the
regulatory provision or provisions from which exemption is being
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the
exemption (up to 2 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the
exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
The Federal HOS rules are generally applicable to motor carriers
and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles, as defined in 49 CFR
390.5, in interstate commerce. However, transportation performed by
Federal, State or local government is exempt from requirements under 49
CFR parts 390 through 399, including all HOS requirements under 49 CFR
part 395 [Sec. 390.3(f)(2)]. Since USPS is an independent agency of
the executive branch of the United States government, transportation
performed by USPS qualifies for the Sec. 390.3(f)(2) exemption.
Nonetheless, any motor carrier under contract with the USPS to
transport its mail interstate--but which retains full responsibility
for its CMVs, such that the transportation is not considered as
performed by the USPS--remains subject to 49 CFR parts 300-399,
including the HOS rules. The USPS contracts with motor carriers to
perform interstate delivery of U.S. mail under such conditions, and has
requested exemption from FMCSA's current HOS rules, allowing some of
these motor carriers and drivers to operate under those HOS rules in
effect prior to January 4, 2004.
USPS requests the exemption apply to an unspecified number of motor
carriers operating under approximately 5,100 separate contracts. USPS
did not specify the number of drivers of property-carrying vehicles to
be allowed to operate under the HOS requirements in effect prior to
January 4, 2004. The HOS limits requested under the exemption for such
drivers would be the same as current HOS limits for drivers of
USPS states the motor carriers under contract conduct short-haul
operations with an average delivery route of 61-miles roundtrip. USPS
describes the drivers' schedules as "split shift," but does not
provide any details about the typical work schedule for drivers working
on the contracted routes. Under the terms of the USPS contract, drivers
are required to arrive and depart from postal facilities on schedule
since deviation from the schedule would result in congestion at USPS
USPS believes the exemption would achieve a level of safety
equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety obtained under the
current 14-hour rule (which prohibits operators of property-carrying
vehicles from driving after the 14th hour of coming on duty) because
these drivers would be able to return home at the end of each work day
rather than having to stay away from home overnight.
A copy of the USPS exemption application is available for review in
the docket for this notice.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA
requests public comment on USPS's application for exemption from the 49
CFR part 395 HOS requirements. The agency will consider all comments
received by close of business on December 16, 2005. Comments will be
available for examination in the docket at the location listed under
the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The agency will file comments
received after the comment closing date in the public docket, and will
consider them to the extent practicable. 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 monitor the public docket for new material.
Issued on: November 8, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-22648 Filed 11-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P