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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Greyhound Lines, Inc.

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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 an application for exemption from Greyhound Lines, Inc. (Greyhound) regarding the placement of video event recorders at the top of the windshields on its buses. Greyhound wants to mount the recorders in an area of the windshield that is lower than what is currently permitted by the Agency's regulations in order to obtain the most effective view of the driver, passengers or outside area to maximize the ability to improve driver safety and understand the root causes of collisions. Greyhound would use the video event recorders to increase safety through (1) Identification and remediation of risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving and drowsiness; (2) enhanced monitoring of passenger behavior; and (3) enhanced collision review and analysis. Greyhound believes this mounting position would maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before September 10, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number FMCSA-2008-0224 by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket site.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: Ground Floor, Room W12-140, DOT Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and docket number for this notice. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the exemption process, see the “Public Participation” heading below. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.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://www.regulations.gov or to Room W12-140, DOT Building, New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476) or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov.

Public participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the “help” section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site and also at the DOT's http://docketsinfo.dot.gov Web site. 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 online.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, MC-PSV, (202) 366-0676; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). 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 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)). 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 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 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Greyhound's Application for Exemption

On March 19, 2008, Greyhound applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(e)(1) to allow it to install video event recorders on some or all its bus fleet—which totals approximately 1,650 buses. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Section 393.60(e)(1) of the FMCSRs prohibits the obstruction of the driver's field of view by devices mounted at the top of the windshield. Antennas, transponders and similar devices (devices) must not be mounted more than 152 mm (6 inches) below the upper edge of the windshield. These devices must be located outside the area swept by the windshield wipers and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals.

Greyhound states that over the last several years, the structural and aesthetic design of buses has changed considerably to include larger windshields that encompass a larger percentage of the front area of a motor coach and that extend well beyond the driver's useable sight line. As a result, manufacturers have voluntarily installed larger windshield wipers on these windshields that increase the swept area beyond that which is minimally required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 104, “Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems.” FMVSS No. 104 establishes the requirements applicable to vehicle Start Printed Page 46705and equipment manufacturers for windshield wiper system coverage for passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses.

Greyhound states that video event recorders, for optimal effectiveness, are mounted on the vehicle windshield on the interior of the vehicle in a position that enables the video-capture of what is happening in front of the vehicle as well as an internal video-capture of the driver and passengers. The view of what is happening in front of the vehicle requires that the forward lens of the recorder be in the swept area of the windshield for a clear view in inclement weather. Greyhound states:

“Section 393.60(e)(1) was designed to avoid placement of devices on the windshield that would obstruct a driver's useful view of the roadway. However, because of the increase of the size of motorcoach windows and the corresponding increase in the area swept by the windshield wipers, video event recorders now must be mounted so high on the window as to limit the view of drivers, passengers, and collision events. Thus, the level of safety that can be produced by use of video event recorders is limited by the current regulation. By comparison, the proposed alternative will enable Greyhound to lower the placement of the video event recorders to a level, which will maximize the external and internal views of the recorders while still having them mounted high enough so as not to limit the field of vision of the driver.”

Greyhound notes in its exemption application that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) submitted a petition for rulemaking to FMCSA on October 18, 2007, to amend 49 CFR 393.60(e). The CVSA petition requests that the FMCSRs be amended to permit video event recorders and similar devices that require a clear forward facing visual field to be mounted not more than 50 mm (2 inches) below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers, provided that they are located outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals. In its exemption application, Greyhound proposes to comply with the language proposed by the CVSA petition during the period of the exemption, if granted. A copy of the CVSA petition has been placed in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on Greyhound's application for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.116(a)(3). 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 ADDRESSES 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, 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.

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Issued on: August 1, 2008.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E8-18495 Filed 8-8-08; 8:45 am]

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