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Proposed Rule

Revision to Periodic Tire Check Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Hazardous Materials

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to eliminate an outdated requirement for certain motor vehicle operators to stop periodically to check their tires. Start Printed Page 46625Eliminating this requirement will enhance the security of hazardous materials shipments.

DATES:

Submit comments by August 15, 2002, but, to the extent possible, we will consider late-filed comments as we develop a final rule.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments to the Dockets Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL 401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Comments should identify Docket Number RSPA-02-12773 (HM-232B). If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. You may also submit comments by e-mail by accessing the Dockets Management System web site at “http://dms.dot.gov/​” and following the instructions for submitting a document electronically.

The Dockets Management System is located on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building at the Department of Transportation at the above address. You can review public dockets there between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You can also review comments on-line at the DOT Dockets Management System web site at “http://dms.dot.gov/​.”

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

William Quade, (202) 366-6121, Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), reviewed government and industry hazardous materials transportation safety and security programs with a view towards identifying areas where security should be enhanced. Over 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials occur each day in the United States. The overwhelming majority of these shipments—approximately 95 percent—are made by highway. Many of the hazardous materials transported by motor carriers potentially may be used as weapons of mass destruction or in the manufacture of such weapons. Since September 11, 2001, on several occasions, Federal law enforcement officials provided information indicating that terrorist organizations may be planning to use motor vehicles transporting certain hazardous materials for additional terrorist attacks on facilities in the United States.

Prior to 1975, the Secretary of Transportation regulated the transportation of hazardous materials by highway under the authority of the Motor Carrier Safety Act (MCSA). The authority to issue regulations under the MCSA is currently delegated to FMCSA. 49 CFR 1.73(g). In 1974, Congress passed the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). The HMTA gave the Secretary the authority to issue “regulations for the safe transportation in commerce of hazardous materials” applicable to “any person who transports, or causes to be transported or shipped, a hazardous material. . . .” Public Law 93-633; 88 Stat. 2156 (Jan. 3, 1975). The Secretary delegated this rulemaking authority to RSPA. 49 CFR 1.53(b).

Motor carriers that transport hazardous materials in commerce must comply with both the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), administered by RSPA, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR; 49 CFR Parts 390-397), administered by FMCSA. As a result of a 1984 amendment to the MCSA and a 1990 amendment to the HMTA, RSPA is authorized to eliminate or amend regulations (other than highway routing regulations) that appear in Part 397 of the FMCSR and that apply solely to the maintenance, equipment, loading, or operation of motor vehicles carrying hazardous materials. Therefore, we are issuing this NPRM as a joint RSPA-FMCSA rulemaking.

Section 397.17 of the FMCSR requires periodic tire inspections for certain vehicles transporting hazardous materials. Drivers of vehicles with dual tires must stop every two hours or 100 miles to inspect the tires. When originally promulgated, this requirement was intended to prevent possible fires caused by overheated tube-type tires. With advancements in tire technology, fires caused by tire overheating occur much less frequently.

To require a vehicle transporting a hazardous material to stop at frequent regular intervals increases the security risk associated with such transportation. Any stop provides an opportunity for potential highjacking or theft of the vehicle and its cargo. Eliminating the tire check stop reduces this potential security risk. Therefore, in this NPRM, we are proposing to remove the requirement to periodically stop and check dual tires from § 397.17 of Part 397. Operators of motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials must still check each vehicle's tires at the beginning of each trip and each time the vehicle is parked.

II. Regulatory Notices

A. Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

This rulemaking is not considered a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rulemaking is not considered significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034). Because of the minimal economic impact of this rule, preparation of a regulatory impact analysis or a regulatory evaluation is not warranted.

The proposal to eliminate the periodic tire check requirement for motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials will not result in increased compliance costs on the industry. Indeed, eliminating periodic stops to check tires will decrease costs for the industry by reducing en route shipment delays and, thus, improving overall delivery times.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an agency to review regulations to assess their impact on small entities unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. We determined that the requirements proposed in this NPRM will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Eliminating the current requirement for operators of motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials to stop periodically to check tires will decrease costs for the industry by reducing en route shipment delays and, thus, improving overall delivery times.

C. Executive Order 13132

This NPRM was analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”). This NPRM does not propose any regulation with substantial direct effects on the states, the relationship between the national government and the states, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.

D. Executive Order 13175

This NPRM was analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order Start Printed Page 4662613175 (“Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments”). Because this NPRM does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of the Indian tribal governments and does not impose substantial direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This NPRM does not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It does not result in costs of $100 million or more, in the aggregate, to any of the following: State, local, or Indian tribal governments, or the private sector. This rule is the least burdensome alternative to achieve the objective of the rule.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

This NPRM does not impose new information collection requirements.

G. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

A regulation identifier number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

H. Environmental Assessment

There are no significant environmental impacts associated with this NPRM.

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List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 397

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In consideration of the foregoing, we propose to amend Title 49, Chapter III, Subchapter B of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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PART 397—TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS; DRIVING AND PARKING RULES

1. The authority citation for part 397 would be revised to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322; 49 CFR 1.73. Subpart A also issued under 49 U.S.C. 5103, 31136, 31502, and 49 CFR 1.53. Subparts C, D, and E also issued under 49 U.S.C. 5112, 5125.

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2. In § 397.17, paragraph (a) would be revised to read as follows:

Tires.

(a) A driver must examine a motor vehicle's tires at the beginning of each trip and each time the vehicle is parked.

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Issued in Washington, DC on July 10, 2002, under authority delegated in 49 CFR part 106.

Brian McLaughlin,

Acting Deputy Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Robert A McGuire,

Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Research and Special Programs Administration.

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[FR Doc. 02-17898 Filed 7-15-02; 8:45 am]

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