[Federal Register: August 30, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 168)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
49 CFR Part 392
[Docket No. FMCSA-2006-25660]
Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing; Safe Clearance; Public Meeting
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of public meeting.
SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces that a public meeting will be held to
discuss the problem of railroad-highway grade crossing crashes in which
a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is struck by a train because the
driver of the CMV, for whatever reason, stops the vehicle prior to
clearing the railroad track. The meeting is intended to promote the
sharing of information between interested parties and FMCSA, the
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA) to ensure motor carriers and drivers are prepared
to achieve full compliance with a forthcoming, statutorily mandated
Federal rule to prohibit drivers from entering a railroad grade
crossing unless there is sufficient room to clear the tracks completely
without stopping. The meeting will provide all interested parties with
an opportunity to voice their concerns about the potential costs and
safety benefits of such a rule.
DATES: The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2006, from
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Individuals who wish to make a formal
presentation must contact Ms. Ryan Thompson at (703) 934-3432 or e-mail
her at email@example.com no later than 5 p.m., e.t., September 15,
2006. Comments to the docket should be submitted no later than October
ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in Room 2230, Nassif Building, DOT
Headquarters, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. You may
also submit comments to the DOT Docket Management System (DMS),
referencing Docket Number FMCSA-2006-25660, using any of the following
- Web Site: http://dmses.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 numbers 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 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 our 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, etc.).
You may review the Department of Transportation's complete Privacy Act
Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR
19477; Apr. 11, 2000). This information is also available at http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Driver and Carrier
Operations, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, (202)
366-4009, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (MC-PSD), 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590; or MCPSD@dot.gov. Office
hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
Information on Services for Individuals with Disabilities: For
information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities
or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact Tom Yager at
On July 30, 1998, the FHWA published a notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM) (63 FR 40691) to prohibit CMV operators from driving
onto a railroad grade crossing without having sufficient space to drive
completely through without stopping, thus leaving a portion of the CMV
across the tracks. The rulemaking was required by section 112 of the
Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994 (HMTAA)
(Pub. L. 103-311, 108 Stat. 1673, at 1676, August 26, 1994).
As stated in the report by the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation (December 9, 1993), the goal of the
provision in Senate Bill 1640, which later became section 112, was to:
"* * * improve safety at highway-railroad crossings in response to
fatalities that have occurred from accidents involving commercial motor
vehicle operators who failed to use proper caution while crossing * * *
[T]he Committee believes that imposing a Federal statutory obligation
on drivers of all commercial motor vehicles to consider whether they
can cross safely and completely * * * will help to reduce the number of
tragedies associated with grade-crossing accidents [S. Rep. No. 103-
217, at 11 (1994), reprinted in 1994 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1763, 1773].
The FHWA asked the States for information on the number and
location of highway-railroad grade crossings with inadequate storage
space \1\--and on alternative crossings--as the first step in
estimating the costs and benefits of the rule required by section 112.
Many State agencies, however, assumed that they were required to
provide the information. State agencies were concerned that a potential
rule would require them to reconstruct, rewire, reroute, or otherwise
correct every inadequate crossing and that FHWA was indifferent to the
costs of such an undertaking. In fact, the time, difficulty, and cost
involved in collecting reliable data on highway-railroad grade
crossings became a primary focus of the comments in that rulemaking
\1\ Inadequate storage space means the roadway is too short in
length on the opposite side of the railroad tracks to allow the
vehicle to stand or wait to proceed at the traffic control device
(e.g., traffic signal or stop sign) on that side. For example, the
storage space of a particular highway-railroad grade crossing near a
highway intersection measures 50 feet in length between the stopping
line marker on the pavement at the traffic signal of the highway
intersection and the railroad's grade crossing gate. A CMV driver is
operating a tractor-trailer combination measuring 65 feet in overall
length. Thus, the storage space of 50 feet is inadequate to
accommodate a tractor-trailer combination measuring more than 50
feet in length.
Therefore, on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25128), FMCSA withdrew the 1998
NPRM, and will soon initiate a new rulemaking, less burdened by
previous misunderstandings, to implement section 112 of HMTAA. An NPRM
to address the requirements of section 112 will be published when a
current, on-going study of grade crossing crashes associated with the
CMV stopping prior to clearing the tracks completely has been
The FMCSA believes that holding a public meeting before publishing
the NPRM will be helpful for the Agency and stakeholders. The public
meeting will establish dialogue among Federal and State agencies, motor
and rail carriers, safety advocacy groups, and other interested parties
concerning practical approaches for reducing the incidence of CMV
crashes with trains because the driver of the CMV, for whatever reason,
stops the vehicle before clearing the railroad track.
The meeting will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., on
Wednesday, September 20, 2006, in Room 2230, Nassif Building, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. Because access to the DOT building
is controlled, all visitors must sign in with the security office
located at the southwest entrance of the building, present
identification with a picture on it, be escorted, and wear a visitor's
badge at all times while in the building.
Individuals who wish to make a formal presentation must contact Ms.
Ryan Thompson at (703) 934-3432 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org no
later than 5 p.m., e.t., September 15, 2006, to ensure that sufficient
time is allotted for the presentation and to identify any audio-visual
equipment needed for the presentation.
Individuals who are unable to attend the meeting may submit written
comments to the docket identified at the beginning of this notice.
Issued on: August 25, 2006.
David H. Hugel,
[FR Doc. E6-14462 Filed 8-29-06; 8:45 am]
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