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Proposed Rule

Hours of Service

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of public listening session.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA announces that it will hold a public listening session (in addition to those identified in a Federal Register notice on January 5, 2010) to solicit comments and information on potential hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. Specifically, the Agency wants to know what factors, issues, and data it should be aware of as it prepares to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on HOS requirements for property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. This session will be held in the Davenport, Iowa area. The listening session will allow interested persons to present comments, views, and relevant research on revisions FMCSA should consider in its forthcoming rulemaking. All comments will be transcribed and placed in the rulemaking docket for the FMCSA's consideration.

DATES:

This listening session will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2010, in Davenport, Iowa. It will begin at 1 p.m. local time and end at 9 p.m., or earlier, if all participants wishing to express their views have done so.

ADDRESSES:

The January 28 meeting will be held in Davenport, Iowa, at the Comfort Inn Hotel and Suites, 8300 Northwest Boulevard, Davenport, Iowa 52806 (563-324-8300).

You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2004-19608 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the Start Printed Page 2468online instructions for submitting comments.

Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 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 Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The online Federal document management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment 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.

Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our 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, etc.). You may review DOT's Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/​2008/​pdf/​E8-785.pdf.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For special accommodations for this listening session, such as sign language interpretation, contact Mr. David Miller, Regulatory Development Division, (202) 366-5370 or at FMCSAregs@dot.gov, by January 20, 2010, to allow us to arrange for such services. There is no guarantee that interpreter services requested on short notice can be provided. For information concerning the hours-of-service rules, contact Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, (202) 366-4325, mcpsd@dot.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On October 26, 2009, Public Citizen, et al. (Petitioners) and FMCSA entered into a settlement agreement under which the parties agreed to seek to hold Petitioners' petition for judicial review of the November 19, 2008 Final Rule on drivers' hours of service in abeyance pending the publication of an NPRM. The settlement agreement states that FMCSA will submit the draft NPRM to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within nine months, and publish a Final Rule within 21 months, of the date of the settlement agreement. The current rule will remain in effect during the rulemaking proceedings.

On January 5, 2010, FMCSA announced its plans to hold three public listening sessions concerning the HOS rulemaking (75 FR 285). FMCSA announces a fourth public listening session to solicit written and/or oral comments and information on potential revisions to the HOS rule. The Agency will provide further opportunity for public comment when the NPRM is published.

This listening session will be held within walking distance of the Flying J Travel Plaza, 8200 Northwest Boulevard near the intersection of Interstate Highway 80 at Exit 292, Davenport, Iowa 52806 (563-386-7710).

II. Meeting Participation

This listening session is open to the public. Speakers' remarks will be limited to 10 minutes each. The public may submit material to the FMCSA staff at each session for inclusion in the public docket, FMCSA-2004-19608.

III. Questions for Discussion During the Listening Sessions

In preparing their comments, meeting participants should consider the following questions about possible alternatives to the current HOS requirements. These scenarios are merely set forth for discussion; FMCSA will not necessarily include them in an NPRM but would request similar information and data in an NPRM. Answers to these questions should be based upon the experience of the participants and any data or information they can share with FMCSA.

A. Rest and On-Duty Time

1. Would mandatory short rest periods during the work day improve driver alertness in the operation of a CMV? How long should these rest periods be? At what point in the duty cycle or drive-time would short rest periods provide the greatest benefit? What are the unintended consequences if these short rest periods are mandatory? Should the on-duty period be extended to allow for mandatory rest periods?

2. If rest or other breaks from driving improve alertness, could a driver who chooses to take specified minimum breaks be given scheduling flexibility—the ability to borrow an hour from another driving day once a week, for example—if that flexibility would not increase safety risks or adversely impact driver health?

3. How many hours per day and per week would be safe and healthy for a truck driver to work?

4. Would an hours-of-service rule that allows drivers to drive an hour less when driving overnight improve driver alertness and improve safety? Are there any adverse consequences that could arise from the implementation of a separate night time hours-of-service regulation?

B. Restart to the 60- and 70-Hour Rule

1. Is a 34-consecutive-hour off-duty period long enough to provide restorative sleep regardless of the number of hours worked prior to the restart? Is the answer different for a driver working a night or irregular schedule?

2. What would be the impact of mandating two overnight off-duty periods, e.g., from midnight to 6 a.m., as a component of a restart period? Would such a rule present additional enforcement challenges?

3. How is the current restart provision being used by drivers? Do drivers restart their calculations after 34 consecutive hours or do drivers take longer periods of time for the restart?

C. Sleeper Berth Use

1. If sleeper-berth time were split into two periods, what is the minimum time in each period necessary to provide restorative sleep?

2. Could the 14-hour on-duty limitation be extended by the amount of some additional sleeper-berth time without detrimental effect on highway safety? What would be the appropriate length of such a limited sleeper-berth rest period?

D. Loading and Unloading Time

1. What effect has the fixed 14-hour driving “window” had on the time drivers spend waiting to load or unload? Have shippers and receivers changed their practices to reduce the amount of time drivers spend waiting to load or unload? Start Printed Page 2469

E. General

1. Are there aspects of the current rule that do not increase safety risks or adversely impact driver health and that should be preserved?

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Issued on: January 13, 2010.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. 2010-826 Filed 1-13-10; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P