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Notice

Hours of Service of Drivers; American Pyrotechnics Association Application for an Exemption From the 14-Hour Rule During Independence Day Celebrations

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

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-carrying vehicles.

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 information.

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.

Start Further Info

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.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

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 Start Printed Page 24161Day 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 timeframe.

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.

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73.

End Authority Start Signature

Issued on: April 28, 2005.

Annette M. Sandberg,

Administrator.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 05-9148 Filed 5-5-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P