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Notice

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

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) has applied for a limited exemption from FMCSA's regulation that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) may not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty. The exemption would apply solely to the operation of CMVs by 14 designated APA motor carriers in conjunction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day during the periods June 28-July 8, 2009, and June 28-July 8, 2010, inclusive. During these two periods, the approximately 100 CMV drivers employed by these 14 APA motor carriers in conjunction with staging fireworks shows would be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14 hours. These 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 on-duty limits. The APA maintains that the terms and conditions of the limited exemption would ensure a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

DATES:

This exemption would be effective during the periods of June 28, 2009, through July 8, 2009, inclusive, and June 28, 2010, through July 8, 2010, inclusive. The exemption would expire on July 9, 2010. Comments must be received on or before June 8, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2007-28043 by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Telefax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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 Start Printed Page 24067below. 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, and follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address listed above.

Privacy Act: You may 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 the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476) or you may visit http://DocketInfo.dot.gov.

Public Participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You may obtain electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the “help” section of the Federal eRulemaking Portal 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. Comments received after the comment closing date will be included in the docket, and we will consider late comments to the extent practicable.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Thomas L. Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations: Telephone: 202-366-4325. E-mail: MCPSD@dot.gov.

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 authority to grant exemptions from its motor carrier safety regulations, including the hours-of-service (HOS) rules. The procedure for requesting an exemption is prescribed in 49 CFR part 381. 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 that have been conducted, and to comment on the request. The Agency may grant an exemption for up to 2 years.

The Agency reviews the safety analyses and public comments and may grant the exemption if it finds “such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such 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 or, in the alternative, the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision or provisions from which the 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.

APA Application for Exemption

The HOS rules in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) prohibit a property-carrying CMV driver from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. APA, a trade association representing the domestic fireworks industry, has applied for an exemption from this subsection for 14 of its member motor carriers. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. A list of the 14 APA motor carriers within the scope of this exemption request is included as an appendix to this notice.

The initial APA application for this type of exemption was submitted in 2004; a copy of it is in this docket. That application fully describes the nature of the pyrotechnic operations of the CMV drivers employed by APA-member motor carriers during a typical Independence Day period. The CMV drivers are trained pyro-technicians holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) with hazardous materials (HM) endorsement. They transport fireworks and related equipment by CMV on a very demanding schedule, often to remote locations. After they arrive, the APA drivers set-up and stage fireworks shows.

In 2007, FMCSA granted this same limited exemption to 70 APA-member motor carriers for their CMV transportation of fireworks for Independence Day displays in 2007 and 2008 (72 FR 28755, May 22, 2007). The Agency is not aware of any adverse safety events related to APA operations during these periods. APA has now applied for the same limited exemption for 14 additional motor carriers. (APA has also applied for renewal of the exemption granted in 2007 for 61 of the 70 member-companies.)

APA is seeking this exemption because compliance with the current 14-hour rule by its members during these two 11-day periods would impose a substantial economic hardship on numerous cities, towns and municipalities, as well as the APA companies. To meet the demand for fireworks under the current HOS rules, APA asserts that its member companies would be required to hire a second driver for most trips. The result would be a substantial increase in the cost of the fireworks shows—beyond the means of many of APA's customers—and would deny many Americans this important component of their Independence Day celebration.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

APA believes that this exemption would not adversely affect the safety of the motor carrier transportation provided by its members during the two eleven-day periods. According to the APA, without the extra on-duty time provided by the exemption, safety would decline because APA drivers would be unable to return to their home base after each show. They would be forced to park the CMVs carrying HM 1.1G, 1.3G and 1.4G products in areas less secure than the motor carrier's home base.

APA has stated its belief that the operational demands of this unique industry minimize the risk of a CMV crash. During the exemption period, these drivers transport fireworks over relatively short routes from distribution points to the site of the fireworks display, and normally do so in the early morning when traffic is light. At the site, they spend considerable time installing, wiring, and safety-checking the fireworks displays, followed by a period of several hours off duty in the late afternoon and early evening prior to the shoot. During this time, the CMV drivers are able to rest and nap, thereby reducing or eliminating the fatigue accumulated during the day. After the shoot, they drive the CMVs to the point of origin. This occurs late in the evening, and thus avoids heavy traffic. Before beginning another duty day, these drivers must take 10 consecutive hours off duty, the same as other CMV drivers. APA believes that these operations, conducted under the terms and conditions of this limited exemption, would provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.Start Printed Page 24068

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

APA's request for exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) would be effective June 28 through July 8, 2009, inclusive, and from June 28 through July 8, 2010, inclusive. The requested exemption would expire on July 9, 2010.

Extent of the Exemption

This exemption would be restricted to drivers employed by the 14 companies, firms and entities listed in the appendix to this notice. The drivers would be entitled to a limited exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2), which prohibits a driver from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty and does not permit off-duty periods to extend the 14-hour limit. Drivers covered by this exemption would be able to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14-hour limit. This exemption would be contingent on each driver driving no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour on-duty period. The exemption would further be contingent on each driver having 10 consecutive hours off duty following 14 hours on duty prior to beginning a new driving period. The drivers must comply with all other requirements of 49 CFR part 395.

Preemption

During the periods the exemption would be in effect, no State would be permitted to enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the exemption.

Notification to FMCSA

Each company, firm and entity listed in the appendix to this notice would be required to notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accidents (as defined by 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of its CMVs while under this exemption. The notification must include the following information:

a. Date of the accident,

b. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or which is closest to the scene of the accident,

c. Driver's name and driver's license number,

d. Vehicle number and State license number,

e. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,

f. Number of fatalities,

g. The police-reported cause of the accident,

h. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations, and

i. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV driver at the time of the accident.

Termination

During the exemption periods, FMCSA would retain the authority to take all steps necessary to protect the public interest, including revocation of the exemption. Exempt motor carriers and drivers would be subject to FMCSA monitoring while operating under this exemption. FMCSA would immediately revoke the exemption for failure to comply with its terms and conditions.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comments on APA's request for a limited exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) for the 14 motor carriers listed in the appendix to this notice. FMCSA will consider all comments received by close of business on June 8, 2009. All comments will be available for examination in the docket 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.

Start Signature

Issued on: May 18, 2009.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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Appendix to the Notice of Application of American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) for a Limited HOS Exemption for 14 Motor Carriers During the 2009 and 2010 Independence Day Celebrations

Motor carrierAddressDOT No.
1Alpha-Lee Enterpirses, Inc4111 FM 2351, Friendswood, TX 775461324580
2American Fireworks Company7041 Darrow Road, Hudson, OH 44236103972
3Atlas Pyrovision Productions, LLCP.O. Box 498, Jaffrey, NH 03452789777
4Cartwright Fireworks, Inc1608 Keely Road, Franklin, PA 16323882283
5DDT, LLC—All American Transport, LLC4503 E. 460, Pryor, OK 743611606354
6Entertainment Fireworks, IncP.O. Box 7160, Olympia, WA 98507-7160680942
7Fireworks Productions of Arizona, Ltd17034 S 54th Street, Chandler, AZ 85226948780
8Fireworks West Internationale3200 West 910 North, Logan, UT 84321245423
9Great Lakes Fireworks24805 Marine, Eastpointe, MI 480211011216
10Hollywood Pyrotechnics, Inc1567 Antler Point, Eagan, MN 551221061068
11Johnny Rockets Fireworks Display Co4410 N. Hamilton, Chicago, IL 606251263181
12Night Magic, IncP.O. Box 294, Kingsbury, IN 46345557323
13Rainbow Fireworks, Inc76 Plum Ave., Inman, KS 675461139643
14Victory Fireworks Inc579 Vincent Lane, Ellsworth, WI 54011539751
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[FR Doc. E9-12056 Filed 5-21-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P