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

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.


Notice of renewal of exemption; request for comments.


The FMCSA announces the renewal of the exemption of specified members of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) from FMCSA's prohibition on driving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) after the 14th hour after the driver comes on duty. The exemption granted to 53 motor carriers and approximately 3,000 CMV drivers is applicable during the periods June 28-July 8, 2011, and June 28-July 8, 2012, inclusive. The requested renewal of a prior exemption for one motor carrier is not being granted. Drivers who operate applicable CMVs in conjunction with staging fireworks shows celebrating Independence Day will be allowed to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14 hours. These drivers will continue to be subject to the 14-hour cumulative on-duty limit, the 11-hour driving time limit, and the 60- and 70-hour weekly on-duty limits. The FMCSA believes that with the terms and conditions of this exemption in effect, designated APA-member motor carriers will maintain a level of safety that, at a minimum, is equivalent to the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation.


This renewed exemption is effective during the periods of June 28 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2011 (11:59 p.m.) and from June 28 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2012 (11:59 p.m.). Comments must be received on or before July 28, 2011.


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

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to In the Enter Keyword OR ID box enter FMCSA-2007-28043 and click on the tab labeled Search. On the ensuing page, click on any tab labeled Submit a Comment on the extreme right of the page and a page should open that is titled “Submit a Comment.” You may identify yourself under section 1, Enter Information, or you may skip section 1 and remain anonymous. You enter your comments in section 2, Type Comment & Upload File. When you are ready to submit your comments, click on the tab labeled Submit. Your comment is then submitted to the docket; and you will receive a tracking number.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • 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: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 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, and in the Enter Keyword or ID box enter FMCSA-2007-28043 and click on the tab labeled Search. Start Printed Page 37877

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 published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316) or you may visit​2008/​pdf/​E8-785.pdf.

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. 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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Ms. Christine Hydock, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, Telephone: 202-366-4325. E-mail:

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APA Application for Exemption Renewal

The hours-of-service (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. Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA may renew an exemption from the HOS requirements in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) for a 2-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.” The procedures for requesting an exemption (including renewals) are prescribed in 49 CFR part 381.

The APA, a trade association representing the domestic fireworks industry, had previously requested and received an exemption from this HOS subsection for certain motor carrier members. The APA has applied for renewal of that exemption. A copy of the request for renewal is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. A copy of APA's original 2004 request for waiver or exemption is also in the docket. The FMCSA has evaluated the APA application for renewal on its merits and decided to renew the exemption for 53 companies for a two-year period, and not renew the exemption requested for one company. The list of APA-member companies covered by the exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) is included as an Appendix to this Notice.

As stated in APA's 2004 request for waiver or exemption, the CMV drivers employed by APA-member companies are trained pyrotechnicians, and hold commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) with hazardous materials (HM) endorsements. They transport fireworks and equipment by CMV on a very demanding schedule during a brief Independence Day period, often to remote locations. After they arrive, the APA drivers are responsible for set-up and staging of the fireworks shows.

In 2009, FMCSA granted a limited exemption to 14 new APA-member motor carriers (74 FR 29266, June 19, 2009) and renewed 61exemptions of APA-member motor carriers (74 FR 29264, June 19, 2009) for their CMV transportation of fireworks for Independence Day displays in 2009 and 2010. The exemption was limited to the period from June 28 to July 8, inclusive, in 2009 and 2010. Previously, the Agency had granted a waiver to APA for a similar exception for the 2004 Independence Day period, and two-year exemptions for the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 periods. The Agency is not aware of any adverse safety events related to APA operations during these Independence Day periods.

The APA is seeking renewal of the 2009 exemptions for the 2011 and 2012 Independence Day periods because it argues that compliance with the current 14-hour rule by its members would impose a substantial economic hardship on numerous cities, towns and municipalities, as well as its member companies. To meet the demand for fireworks under the current HOS rules, APA-member companies claim they would be required to hire a second driver for most trips. The APA argues that the result would be a substantial increase in the cost of the fireworks shows—beyond the means of many of its members' customers—and that many Americans would be denied this important component of the celebration of Independence Day.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

The APA believes that renewal of the exemption will not adversely affect the safety of the fireworks transportation provided by these motor carriers. According to APA, its member motor carriers have operated under this exemption for seven previous Independence Day periods without a reported motor carrier safety incident. Moreover, it asserts, without the extra duty-period 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. As a condition of holding the exemption, each motor carrier is required to notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any its CMVs while under this exemption. To date, FMCSA has received no accident notifications, nor is the Agency aware of any accidents reportable under terms of the exemption.

In its original exemption request, APA argued that the operational demands of this unique industry minimize the risks of CMV crashes. In the last few days before the Independence Day holiday, 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 several hours off duty in the late afternoon and early evening prior to the event. During this time, the drivers are able to rest and nap, thereby reducing or eliminating the fatigue accumulated during the day. Before beginning another duty day, these drivers must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty, the same as other CMV drivers. FMCSA believes that these APA operations, conducted under the terms and conditions of this limited exemption, will provide a level of safety that, at a minimum, is equivalent to the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) June 5, 2009, Comments

During the exemption renewal process in 2009, FMCSA's June 19, 2009, notice did not acknowledge or respond to comments submitted by Advocates. Although Advocates timely filed its comments on June 5, prior to the June 8 deadline for responding to the Agency's May 22 notices (74 FR 24066 and 74 FR 24069), those comments were not available at, the Web site at which docket comments are posted, until after the comment period had closed. By the time the personnel responsible for managing this Web site for all Federal regulatory matters had posted Advocates' comments to the electronic docket, FMCSA staff had prepared its draft notice of final Start Printed Page 37878disposition. Because of the time constraints for issuing a decision in time for the 2009 Independence Day celebration, FMCSA issued the notice of final disposition on June 19, 2009 (74 FR 29264), without the Advocates' comments.

In consideration of the administrative delay in the posting of the Advocates' comments to the docket, FMCSA published a notice requesting public comment on March 25, 2011, pertaining to the safety impact of the exemption prior to consideration of any subsequent requests for renewal of the exemption (76 FR 16852). The deadline for submitting comments was April 25, 2011. As of June 20, 2011, no comments had been submitted to the public docket. However, because the Agency did not specifically address Advocates' comments in 2009, we will do so now.

FMCSA Response to Advocates' 2009 Comments

Advocates argue that the Agency is relying on uncorroborated statements about APA members' work schedules and safety management controls. The Agency acknowledges that it does not, as a matter of routine practice, review data on the actual schedules drivers are working during the period of the exemption. However, the participating carriers are generally required under 49 CFR 395.8 to retain records of duty status information for a period of 6 months from the date the records are generated, as is the case for all interstate drivers subject to the recordkeeping provisions of the HOS rules. Therefore, in the event of a crash or unintentional release or detonation of hazardous materials, the carriers would be required to produce, upon demand, records to document the actual work and rest hours of the drivers in question, which would enable the Agency to assess the likelihood of fatigue being a factor in the adverse event. Also, the Agency retains full regulatory jurisdiction to conduct investigations of allegations of violations of the Federal safety or hazardous materials regulations by these carriers, including allegations of violations of the terms and conditions of the exemption.

With regard to participating carriers' safety management controls, the Agency routinely reviews the safety performance records of all carriers prior to granting an exemption. Any carrier with safety management deficiencies that would call into question its ability to operate safety under the terms and conditions of the exemption is excluded from operating under the exemption. Carriers that have violation rates that meet or exceed the thresholds under the Agency's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System are subject to enforcement interventions to address the deficiencies in their safety management controls.

As for Advocates' charge that the exemption process is a procedural and substantive abuse of regulatory authority, the Agency's actions are consistent with the statutory authority provided under 49 U.S.C. 31315 concerning waivers, exemptions and pilot programs. The notice-and-comment process associated with exemption applications is consistent with notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures. In both cases, FMCSA offers for public comment a matter being considered for action, and the final action taken by the Agency must consider the public comments received. The Agency provides a formal written response to substantive concerns raised by the commenters via a Federal Register notice to bring to closure the matter before the Agency. The Agency may agree or disagree with commenters. Any decision to move forward with the exemption is not an abuse of authority, but an exercise of judgment based on the information in the public record.

In that regard, the Agency does not consider the granting of APA's exemption application or requests for renewal to represent a “major departure” from the HOS regulations, as argued by Advocates. While the participating carriers would be provided with limited relief from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2), which prohibits a property-carrying CMV driver from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty, drivers will be prohibited from driving at any time after accumulating 14 hours of on-duty time. Therefore, drivers would not be allowed to drive CMVs in interstate commerce after accumulating 14 hours of on-duty time, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. The participating drivers will continue to be subject to the 11-hour driving time limit following 10 consecutive hours off duty, and the 60- and 70-hour weekly on-duty limits. The FMCSA believes that with the terms and conditions of this exemption in effect, APA-member motor carriers will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation.

Non-Renewal of a Prior Exemption

During its review of the safety history of applicants for this exemption, FMCSA examined records of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which has jurisdiction over certain aspects of the transportation of hazardous materials, as specified in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) (49 CFR parts 105-185). PHMSA records indicate that one of the APA-member applicants for this exemption—Melrose Pyrotechnics, Inc. (Melrose), PO Box 302, Kingsbury, IN 46345, USDOT 434586—was investigated on November 23, 2009, and that PHMSA investigators discovered five violations regarding the shipment of hazardous materials, one of which was coded as “high severity” (Case 09436056). This resulted in an enforcement action that included a total of $24,800 in penalties. In view of this unfavorable safety information, FMCSA is not granting APA's request to include Melrose among the exempted motor carriers.

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

The exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) is effective June 28 through July 8, 2011, inclusive, and from June 28 through July 8, 2012, inclusive. The exemption expires on July 8, 2012, at 11:59 p.m.

Extent of the Exemption

This exemption is restricted to drivers employed by the 53 companies, firms and entities listed in the appendix to this notice. The drivers will be given a limited exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2). This regulation 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 may exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14-hour limit. This exemption is contingent on each driver driving no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period. The exemption is further contingent on each driver having a full 10 consecutive hours off duty following 14 hours on duty prior to beginning a new driving period. The carriers and drivers must comply with all other requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350-399) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 105-180).


During the periods the exemption is in effect, no State shall 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 (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)).Start Printed Page 37879

FMCSA Notification

Exempt motor carriers must 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.


The FMCSA does not believe the motor carriers and drivers covered by this exemption will experience any deterioration of their safety record. However, should this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public interest, including revocation of the exemption. The FMCSA will immediately revoke the exemption for failure to comply with its terms and conditions. Exempt motor carriers and drivers are subject to FMCSA monitoring while operating under this exemption.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comments on the renewal of APA's exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2). The FMCSA will review all comments received and determine whether the renewal of the exemption is consistent with the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e). Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable.

Interested parties or organizations possessing information that would show that any or all of these APA member companies are not achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any information submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if the continuation of the exemption is inconsistent with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA will immediately take steps to revoke the exemption of the company or companies and drivers in question.

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Issued on: June 22, 2011.

Anne S. Ferro,


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Appendix to Notice of Renewal of American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) Exemption From the 14-Hour HOS Rule During 2011 and 2012 Independence Day Celebrations

Motor carrierAddress 1Address 2DOT No.
1. Alonzo Fireworks Display, Inc12 County Rd 75Mechanicsville, NY 12118420639
2. American Fireworks Company7041 Darrow RoadHudson, OH 44236103972
3. Arrowhead Fireworks Co., Inc3625 Normanna RdDuluth, MN 55803125673
4. Atlas Enterprises Inc6601 Nine Mile Azle RdFort Worth, TX 761350116910
5. Atlas Pyrovision Productions, Inc136 Old Sharon RoadJaffrey, NH 03452789777
6. B.J. Alan Company555 Martin Luther King, Jr BlvdYoungstown, OH 44502-1102262140
7. Cartwright Fireworks, Inc1608 Keely RoadFranklin, PA 16323882283
8. Central States Fireworks, Inc18034 Kincaid StreetAthens, IL 626131022659
9. Colonial Fireworks Company5225 Telegraph RoadToledo, OH 43612177274
10. Entertainment Fireworks, IncPO Box 7160Olympia, WA 98507-7160680942
11. Falcon Fireworks3411 Courthouse RoadGuyton, GA 313121037954
12. Fireworks & Stage FX AmericaPO Box 488Lakeside, CA 92040908304
13. Fireworks by Grucci, Inc1 Grucci LaneBrookhaven, NY 11719324490
14. Fireworks Productions of Arizona, Ltd17034 S 54th StreetChandler, AZ 85226948780
15. Fireworks West Internationale3200 West 910 NorthLogan, UT 84321245423
16. Garden State Fireworks, Inc383 Carlton RoadMillington, NJ 07946435878
17. Gateway Fireworks DisplaysPO Box 39327St Louis, MO 631391325301
18. Global Pyrotechnics Solutions, Inc10476 Sunset DriveDittmer, MO 630231183902
19. Great Lakes Fireworks24805 MarineEastpointe, MI 480211011216
20. Hamburg Fireworks Display Inc4300 Logan Lancaster RdLancaster, OH395079
21. Hollywood Pyrotechnics, Inc1567 Antler PointEagan, MN 551221061068
22. Ingram Enterprises dba Fireworks over America6597 W Independece DriveSpringfield, MO 658020268419
23. Island Fireworks CompanyN735 825th StHager City, WI 54014414583
24. J&M Displays, Inc18064 170th AveYarmouth, IA 52660377461
25. Jake's Fireworks/Fireworks Spectacular2311 A West 4th StPittsburg, KS 66762449599
26. Johnny Rockets Fireworks Display Co4410 N. HamiltonChicago, IL 606251263181
27. Kellner's Fireworks Inc478 Old Rte 8Harrisville, PA481553
28. Lantis Productions dba Lantis Fireworks and LasersPO Box 491Draper, UT 84202195428
29. Legion Fireworks Co., Inc10 Legion LaneWappingers Falls, NY 12590554391
30. Mad Bomber/Planet ProductionsPO Box 294Kingsbury, IN 46345777176
31. Montana Display Inc9480 Inspiration DriveMissoula, MT 598081030231
32. Precocious Pyrotechnics, Inc4420-278th Ave NWBelgrade, MN 56312435931
33. Pyro Engineering Inc., dba/Bay Fireworks110 Route 110, Suite 102Huntington Station, NY 11746530262
34. Pyro Shows Inc701 W. Central AveLaFollette, TN 37766456818
35. Pyro Spectacluars, Inc3196 N Locust AveRialto, CA 92376029329
36. Pyrotecnico302 Wilson Rd.New Castle, PA 16105526749
37. Pyrotecnico of Louisiana, LLC60 West CtMandeville, LA 70471548303
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38. Rainbow Fireworks, Inc76 Plum AveInman, KS 675461139643
39. RES Specialty Pyrotechnics21595 286th StBelle Plaine, MN 56011523981
40. Rich Brothers Company700 S Marion RdSioux Falls, SD 57106001356
41. Rozzi's Famous Fireworks, Inc11605 North Lebanon RdLoveland, OH 451400483686
42. Skyworks, Ltd13513 W. Carrier RdCarrier, OK 737271421047
43. Spielbauer Fireworks Co, Inc220 Roselawn BlvdGreen Bay, WI 54301046479
44. Stonebraker-Rocky Mountain Fireworks Co5650 Lowell Blvd, Unit EDenver, CO 802210029845
45. Vermont Fireworks Co., Inc./Northstar Fireworks Co., Inc2235 Vermont Route 14 SouthEast Montpelier, VT 05651310632
46. Wald & Co., IncPO Box 319Greenwood, MO 64034-0319087079
47. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US IncBox 10000Lake Buena Vista, FL 328301025131
48. Western Enterprises, IncPO Box 160Carrier, OK 73727203517
49. Winco Fireworks Int. LLC1992 NW Hwy 50Lone Jack, MO259688
50. Wolverine Fireworks Display, Inc205 W SeidlersKawkawlin, MI376857
51. Victory Fireworks Inc579 Vincent LaneEllsworth, WI 54011539751
52. Young Explosives CorpP.O. Box 18653Rochester, NY450304
53. Zambelli Fireworks MFG, Co., IncPO Box 1463New Castle, PA 16103033167
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[FR Doc. 2011-16192 Filed 6-27-11; 8:45 am]