[Federal Register: May 6, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 87)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-21104]
Hours of Service of Drivers; American Pyrotechnics Association
Application for an Exemption From the 14-Hour Rule During Independence
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 the American Pyrotechnics Association's
application for an exemption from the prohibition against driving a
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) after the 14th hour of coming on duty.
The exemption would be applicable for a period beginning 7 days prior
to, and 2 days immediately following Independence Day. Fireworks
personnel who operate CMVs in conjunction with staging fireworks shows
celebrating Independence Day would be allowed to exclude off-duty and
sleeper berth time of any length in the calculation of the 14 hours.
Drivers would not be allowed to drive after accumulating a total of 14
hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and
would continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, and the
60- and 70-hour weekly limits. APA believes the exemption would achieve
a level of safety equivalent to what would be provided by compliance
with the 14-hour rule as it applies to other drivers of property-
DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 6, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number
FMCSA-2005-21140 by any of the following methods:
- Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. 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
comments received, go 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://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert F. Schultz, Jr., 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 December 8, 1998, the Federal Highway
Administration's Office of Motor Carriers, the predecessor to FMCSA,
published an interim final rule implementing section 4007 (63 FR
67600). On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a Final Rule (69 FR 51589)
on this subject. By this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each
exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR part 381). The agency
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.
The agency 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)).
APA's Application for an Exemption
APA has requested an exemption from FMCSA's prohibition against
drivers of property-carrying CMVs operating such vehicles after the
14th hour of coming on duty [49 CFR 395.3(a)(2)]. Fireworks personnel
covered by the exemption would be allowed to exclude off-duty and
sleeper berth time of any length in the calculation of the 14-hour
rule. Drivers would not be allowed to drive after the accumulation of
14 hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The
exemption would be applicable to approximately 3,000 drivers
responsible for operating about 3,000 commercial motor vehicles. A copy
of the application for an exemption, which includes a list of all the
motor carriers that would be covered by it, is included in the docket
referenced at the beginning of this notice.
APA, a trade association representing the domestic fireworks
industry argues that full compliance with the current hours-of-service
regulations during the brief period surrounding Independence [[Page 24161]]
Day would impose a substantial economic hardship on its members that
operate fireworks for the public. This period is the busiest time of
the year for these companies. APA members are engaged to stage multiple
shows in celebration of Independence Day, during a compressed
The drivers that would be covered by the exemption are trained
pyrotechnicians, each holding a commercial drivers' license (CDL) with
a hazardous materials endorsement. These drivers transport fireworks
and equipment to remote locations to meet demanding schedules. APA
indicated that under the hours-of-service requirements in effect prior
to January 4, 2004, the pyrotechnicians could meet their schedules
without exceeding the limits, and without experiencing any crashes or
hazardous materials incidents. By contrast, under the new regulations,
the pyrotechnicians would be unable to meet typical holiday schedules,
and fireworks companies would be forced to hire a second driver for
most trips. Or, fireworks companies would be forced to decrease
significantly their engagements. APA argues both options are
economically detrimental for its members, and would deny many Americans
the primary component of their Independence Day celebration.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA is
requesting public comment from all interested persons on the APA
application for exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2). 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.
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73.
Issued on: April 28, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-9148 Filed 5-5-05; 8:45 am]