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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Isuzu Motors America, Inc. (Isuzu)

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

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Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.


FMCSA announces that Isuzu North America Corporation (Isuzu) has applied for an exemption from the Federal requirement that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by one of the States. Isuzu requests exemption so that 20 of its Japanese employees can test-drive Isuzu CMVs in the United States. Each of these 20 Isuzu employees holds a valid Japanese CDL but lacks the U.S. residency necessary to obtain a CDL from one of the States. Isuzu believes the knowledge and skills tests and training program that drivers undergo to obtain a Japanese CDL would provide for a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be achieved without the exemption.


Comments must be received on or before May 6, 2009.


You may submit comments to Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2003-25290 by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: 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., 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, 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 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 may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of the 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) or you may visit

Public Participation: The Web site is generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can obtain electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the “help” section of the Web site and also at 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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Mr. Robert Schultz, Jr., FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations; Telephone: 202-366-4325. E-mail:

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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 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 determines whether granting the exemption would likely provide for a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption (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 the request for exemption 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

Isuzu has applied for an exemption from the commercial driver's license (CDL) rule, specifically 49 CFR 383.23, that prescribes licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in interstate or intrastate commerce. Isuzu requests the exemption because its driver-employees, as citizens and residents of Japan, cannot apply for a CDL in any of the United States. A copy of the application is in Docket No. FMCSA-2003-25290. The exemption would allow 20 drivers to operate CMVs in interstate commerce as a team, testing and evaluating production and prototype CMVs in the United States in order to assist in the design of safe vehicles for sale in the United States.

The drivers are: Tadashi Shoda, Ryouji Matsuzawa, Hisashi Hashiguchi, Nobuhisa Okuda, Minoru Endo, Fumiaki Takei, Akira Yoshino, Tadao Shibuya, Akira Iizuka, Yoshinori Ugai, Kazuyoshi Tateishi, Naomi Uchida, Kiyoshi Toshima, Khoki Natsumi, Minuro Tsuchida, Mitsuo Konno, Hiroaki Kurata, Naoki Morimoto, Takayuki Kaneda, and Chito Agatsuma.

Each driver holds a valid Japanese CDL, and as explained by Isuzu in previous exemption requests, drivers applying for a Japanese-issued CDL must undergo a driver training program and pass knowledge and skills tests. Isuzu also stated in prior exemption requests that the knowledge and skills tests and training program that Japanese drivers undergo to obtain a Japanese CDL provide for a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. FMCSA has previously determined that the process for obtaining a Japanese CDL is comparable to, or as effective as, the Federal CDL knowledge and skills requirements of 49 CFR part 383 as enforced by the States, and adequately assesses the driver's ability to operate CMVs in the U.S. The initial notice of a similar nature was published by FMCSA on October 16, 2003, granting a similar exemption to Isuzu for 31 Japanese CDL drivers (68 FR 59677).

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment on Isuzu'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 May 6, 2009. Comments will be available for Start Printed Page 15577examination 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: March 27, 2009.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E9-7564 Filed 4-3-09; 8:45 am]