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Notice

Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Volvo Trucks North America (Volvo)

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 Volvo Trucks North America (Volvo) has applied for an exemption from the Federal requirement for a driver of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). Volvo requests that the exemption cover one Swedish field test engineer who will test-drive CMVs for Volvo within the United States. This Volvo employee holds a valid Swedish CDL. Volvo states the exemption is needed to support a Volvo field test to meet future clean air standards, to test-drive Volvo prototype vehicles to verify results in “real world” environments, and to deliver the vehicles if necessary in the United States. Volvo believes the knowledge and skills tests and training program that Swedish drivers undergo to obtain a Swedish CDL ensures the exemption would provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety obtained by complying with the U.S. requirements for a CDL.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before October 6, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2006-25756 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 W-12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 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 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 below.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to the 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.

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 19477-78) 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. Richard Clemente, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations; Telephone: 202-366-4325. 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 application.

The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments, and Start Printed Page 51880determines 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 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

Volvo has applied for an exemption from the commercial driver's license (CDL) rules, specifically 49 CFR 383.23 that prescribes licensing requirements for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate or intrastate commerce. Volvo requests the exemption because this driver-employee is a citizen and resident of Sweden, and therefore cannot apply for a CDL in any of the United States. A copy of the application is in Docket No. FMCSA-2006-25756.

The exemption would allow one driver to operate CMVs in interstate commerce as part of a team of drivers who will support a Volvo field test to meet future air quality standards, to test-drive Volvo prototype vehicles at its test site and in the vicinity around Phoenix, Arizona, to verify results in “real world” environments, and to deliver the vehicles if necessary in the U.S. The driver is Fredrik Eriksson, and Volvo requests that the exemption cover a 2-year period beginning February 2009.

This driver holds a valid Swedish CDL, and as explained by Volvo in previous exemption requests, drivers applying for a Swedish-issued CDL must dergo a training program and pass knowledge and skills tests. Volvo also stated in prior exemption requests that the knowledge and skills tests and training program that Swedish drivers undergo to obtain a Swedish CDL ensure the exemption provides a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety obtained by complying with the U.S. requirement for a CDL.

FMCSA has previously determined the process for obtaining a Swedish-issued CDL is comparable to, or as effective as the Federal requirements of Part 383, and adequately assesses the driver's ability to operate CMVs in the U.S. On other prior occasions FMCSA has published notices concerning similar Volvo requests. The initial notice of a similar nature was published by FMCSA on May 12, 2006, granting this exemption to Volvo for 11 Swedish CDL drivers permitting them to operate CMVs in the U.S. (71 FR 27780).

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment on Volvo's application for an exemption from the CDL requirements of 49 CFR 383.23. The Agency will consider all comments received by close of business on October 6, 2008. Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the “ADDRESSES” section of this notice. The Agency will consider to the extent practicable comments received in the public docket after the closing date of the comment period.

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Issued on: August 29, 2008.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E8-20667 Filed 9-5-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P