Commercial Driver's License; Waiver for Pyrotechnics Industry
Notice of final disposition.
The FHWA is issuing its decision generally denying a waiver from the commercial driver's license (CDL) regulations (49 CFR Part 383) to certain drivers employed by the pyrotechnics industry. The FHWA is granting alternate relief which would enable a willing State to substitute, in very limited circumstances, demonstrated training for the requirement of a written hazardous materials endorsement examination. The American Pyrotechnics Association submitted a petition on March 6, 1995, requesting waivers from the CDL testing and licensing standards for certain drivers transporting fireworks to displays during the period of Independence Day celebrations. Under the notice of petition, request for comments, issued May 10, 1995 (60 FR 24820), part-time drivers who have an otherwise valid driver's license and a good driving record, as well as licenses or permits issued by applicable State or local agencies certifying that they are approved pyrotechnic operators, would have been eligible for a waiver from the CDL standards. As proposed, States would have been authorized to issue waivers for the transportation of less than 500 pounds of fireworks classified as DOT Class 1.3G explosives, from June 30 through July 6 of each year, provided that the vehicles transporting such fireworks had a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 10,001 pounds and were operated within 300 miles of the site of origin. The FHWA requested public comment on whether, if granted, the proposed waiver would be contrary to the public interest or diminish the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles. The comment period closed on June 9, 1995. Based upon the information submitted by commenters, and a late rebuttal to the adverse comments presented on behalf of the petitioners, the FHWA has concluded that it does not have the requisite empirical evidence available to make the safety finding necessary to grant a full waiver from the CDL provisions. Nevertheless, the FHWA will allow States to substitute an alternate demonstration of knowledge for certain hazardous materials endorsement testing provisions, provided that drivers availing themselves of this relief obtain an otherwise valid CDL and have completed appropriate hazardous materials training that meets the standards adopted by the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) at 49 CFR 172.704. Consequently, the petition is denied except to this very limited extent.