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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From the International Window Film Association

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA requests public comment on an application for exemption from the International Window Film Association (IWFA) to allow the use of certain glazing in the windows that does not meet the light transmission requirements specified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Section 393.60(d) of the FMCSRs currently permits windshields and to the immediate right and left of the driver windows to be tinted, as long as the light transmission is not restricted to less than 70 percent of normal. IWFA contends that since a reduction of light entering the truck cab interior will decrease not only available visible light but also scattered light, the exemption can significantly improve driver comfort and reduce eye strain while allowing films to be used that can also reduce the heat load of the interior environment, thus making the driver more comfortable as well as lowering energy use for cooling.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before February 24, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number FMCSA-2013-0436 by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. 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., 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.

Instructions: All submissions 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, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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 in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476) or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov.

Public participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the “help” section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site and also at the DOT's http://docketsinfo.dot.gov 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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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Brian Routhier, Vehicle and Roadside Start Printed Page 3917Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, MC-PSV, (202) 366-1225; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA- 21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public with an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request.

The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from which an 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 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Background

IWFA Application for Exemption

IWFA applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(d) to allow the use glazing in the windows to the immediate right and left of the driver that does not meet the light transmission requirements specified in the FMCSRs. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Section 393.60(d) of the FMCSRs permits coloring or tinting of windshields and the windows to the immediate right and left of the driver, as long as the “parallel luminous transmittance through the colored or tinted glazing is not less than 70 percent of the light at normal incidence in those portions of the windshield or windows which are marked as having a parallel luminous transmittance of not less than 70 percent.” The transmittance restriction does not apply to other windows on the commercial motor vehicle.

In its application, IWFA states:

Many commercial operators, however, have been unable to obtain the approved film products in a timely and local basis; this has generated a significant volume of inquiries to federal, state, and association offices. We are therefore requesting a favorable consideration for the use of a market-standard 50%-type of film with a 7% measurement tolerance (to accommodate variances in glass, glass condition, film manufacturing variation, and meter differences.) This would allow the standard 50%-type film to be used on CMVs for the windows to the immediate right and left of the driver. This film is the same minimum visibility requirement used in the majority of states for automobiles and is essentially “clear” to the extent that, in most cases, it is difficult to determine if a vehicle even has had film applied. Since a reduction of light entering the truck cab interior will decrease not only available visible light but also scattered light (sometimes called “interference haze” by optical researchers), it can significantly improve driver comfort and reduce eye strain while also allowing films to be used which can also reduce the heat load of the interior environment, thus making the driver more comfortable as well as lowering energy use for cooling.

In support of its application, IWFA also provided an excerpt from an article titled “Safety Benefits and Costs of Tinted Glazing” published in 1988 by Harold Wakeley of the IIT Research Institute of Chicago.

In addition, IWFA stated:

This level of application would retain the industry's commitment to the enforcement community and also provide the commercial fleet operator with the expanded benefits of a larger number of film products which can provide energy and emissions improvements. It should be noted that while there may be no additional improvement in UV protection from that received by the current standard of 70 percent, the added benefit of fuel savings (and therefore greenhouse gas reductions) as well as reduced glare (haze) and enhanced driver comfort are greatly expanded by the benefits associated with the use of the requested level of film on CMVs.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on IWFA's application for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(d). All comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine the public docket for new material.

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Issued on: January 10, 2014.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2014-01301 Filed 1-22-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P