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Notice

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General: Centennial Communications Application for Exemption

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.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA announces that it has received an application for exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) from Centennial Communications (“Centennial”) for all of its commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and drivers that operate in interstate commerce. The exemption would allow Centennial's drivers and CMVs to be completely exempt from the FMCSRs. Centennial, a regional provider of telecommunications services, requests a blanket exemption, and believes that if the exemption is not granted, the burden of complying with the regulations will have a negative impact on the company's operations. Centennial contends that there will be no negative safety impact if the exemption is granted, as it maintains that it currently has very thorough safety practices in place. FMCSA requests public comment on the Centennial application for exemption.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before August 30, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number FMCSA-2007-28827 using any of the following methods:

  • Web site: http://dmses.dot.gov/​submit/​. 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, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: Room W12-140, Ground Floor of West Building, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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 at any time or Room W12-140, Ground Floor of West Building, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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 comments on-line.
  • 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 Start Printed Page 41814other entity). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477, Apr. 11, 2000). This statement is also available at http://dms.dot.gov.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations. Telephone: 202-366-4009. E-mail: MCPSD@dot.gov.

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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 authority to grant exemptions from motor carrier safety regulations. Under its regulations, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including the conducting of any safety analyses. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request.

The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reason for denying or, in the alternative, the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision or provisions from which exemption is being granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption (up to 2 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption

The FMCSRs are generally applicable to motor carriers and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), as defined in 49 CFR 390.5. This includes any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR), or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater.

Centennial Communications is a regional provider of telecommunications services with a fleet comprised of 46 Ford F-150 and F-250 trucks based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to Centennial, all of its trucks' GVWRs are less than 10,001 pounds. Centennial states that 95% of the time these trucks are used for technical service calls, and during such use all trucks are below the 10,001 pound GVWR threshold limit. However, the remaining 5% of the time, Centennial trucks transport generators, via trailer, to wireless towers around their operating area during emergencies (e.g., areas affected by hurricanes and other major storms). When a Centennial truck hauls a generator, the combined weight—truck GVWR plus trailer and generator—exceeds 10,001 pounds.

Centennial has determined that it would be burdensome to designate specific trucks and drivers for the transporting of generators because when Centennial has to haul generators in an emergency situation, not all of its trucks and drivers may be needed. In some circumstances only a few trucks and drivers may be needed to haul generators, but at other times that number may be increased depending on the severity of the emergency. Therefore, if Centennial only designates a certain number of trucks and trailers, it could easily be in a situation where more than the number of designated trucks and drivers are needed.

Centennial states that, because its vehicles rarely reach the 10,001 pound GVWR or more threshold, it would be safer and more economical to revamp its entire fleet of trucks and trailers so that when hauling generators, the combined weight of the truck/trailer/generator is below 10,001 pounds GVWR. Centennial therefore requests the granting of two-year exemption from the FMCSRs in order to allow time to modify its vehicles.

Centennial is concerned that if an exemption is not granted, “a significant impact to company operations will be realized.” This is due to the amount of time required to set up all files and get proper documentation in place regarding the FMCSRs. It estimates that it will take at least one year to get all required records on drivers and vehicles up-to-date. Centennial is further concerned about the restoration of service during natural disasters such as hurricanes, major thunderstorms or ice storms if forced to limit the number of drivers until all of its trucks are under the 10,001 pound GVWR.

Centennial believes that there will be no negative safety impact if an exemption is granted because it already has a very thorough company vehicle safety policy in place with its company “Engineering Vehicle Policy.” Excerpts from the “Engineering Vehicle Policy” manual state that it is the responsibility of each driver to read and understand the document, and the assigned driver of the company vehicle is responsible for operating and maintaining the vehicle in a safe and cost effective manner. Other sections in this company manual include the Fleet Management Program, Disciplinary Action, Vehicle Accidents, Drugs and Alcohol, Security, and Driver Safety Training. Centennial states that it has also contacted and solicited help from its insurance carriers to ensure that company vehicle safety practices are among the best in the industry.

A copy of Centennial Communications exemption application includes this detailed “Engineering Vehicle Policy”. The application is available for review in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment on Centennial's application for exemption from the FMCSRs. The Agency will consider all comments received by close of business on August 30, 2007. Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency will file comments received after the comment closing date in the public docket, and will consider them to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the public docket for new material.

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Issued on: July 24, 2007.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E7-14801 Filed 7-30-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P