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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Exemption Renewal for Greyhound Lines, Inc.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of renewal of exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA announces its renewal of the exemption for Greyhound Lines, Inc. (Greyhound) regarding the placement of video event recorders at the top of the windshields on its buses. Greyhound will continue to 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. The Agency believes that granting this exemption renewal will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. However, the Agency requests comments on this issue, particularly from parties who believe the Greyhound exemption would not meet that standard.

DATES:

This decision is effective March 21, 2011. Comments must be received on or before April 21, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) number FMCSA-2008-0224 by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • 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.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Instructions: Each submission 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. The Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgement that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line.

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 for the FDMS published in the Federal Register published 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:

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

Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(1), FMCSA may renew an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a two-year period 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.” Greyhound has requested a two-year extension for its exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(e). The procedures for requesting an exemption (including renewals) are set out in 49 CFR part 381.

Exemption Decision

This notice addresses Greyhound's requested renewal of an exemption in accordance with FMCSA procedures. FMCSA has evaluated the application for renewal on its merit and determined to extend the exemption for a two-year period. The exemption is extended Start Printed Page 16035subject to the requirements that video event recorders installed in Greyhound vehicles must be mounted not more than 50 mm (2 inches) below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers, and located outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals. The exemption will be valid for two years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Greyhound fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) commenters demonstrate persuasively, or the Agency learns, that the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(1).

Basis for Renewing Exemption

Under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), an exemption may be granted for no longer than two years from its approval date and may be renewed upon application for additional two-year periods. 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 of its bus fleet—which totals approximately 1,650 buses. FMCSA published a notice of the application, and requested public comments, in the Federal Register on August 11, 2008 (73 FR 46704). On March 19, 2009, FMCSA published a notice of final disposition in the Federal Register granting the exemption (74 FR 11807).

FMCSA is not aware of any evidence showing that the installation of video event recorders on Greyhound's buses, in accordance with the conditions of the original exemption, has resulted in any degradation in safety. The Agency believes that extending the exemption for a period of two years will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption because: (1) The video event recorders will not obstruct drivers' views of the roadway, highway signs and surrounding traffic due to the fact that the panoramic windshields installed on Greyhound's buses encompass a large percentage of the front of buses and extend well above the driver's sight lines; (2) larger windshield wipers installed on Greyhound's buses increase the swept area well beyond that which is recommended by the Society of Automotive Engineers guidelines for commercial vehicles; and (3) placement of video event recorders just below the larger swept area of the wipers will be well outside of the driver's useable sight lines.

Request for Comments

FMCSA requests comments on the decision to renew Greyhound's exemption by April 21, 2011. The Agency will also review comments received at any time indicating that Greyhound's safety record has been adversely affected by the use of video event recorders.

Interested parties or organizations possessing information showing that Greyhound is not currently achieving the statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any adverse evidence submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(1), FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the Greyhound's exemption.

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Issued on: March 16, 2011.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. 2011-6710 Filed 3-21-11; 8:45 am]

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