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Hours of Service of Drivers; California Farm Bureau Federation; Application for Exemption

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.


Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.


FMCSA announces that it has received an application from the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) on behalf of its members and other agricultural organizations for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service regulations for certain commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers transporting bees. The exemption would enable CMV drivers transporting bees to operate without taking a 30-minute break during the Start Printed Page 1070workday. FMCSA considers the request to be on behalf of all motor carriers and drivers when transporting bees.


Comments must be received on or before February 9, 2015.


You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2014-0445 by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • 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 or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 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 also see the Privacy Act heading below.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to, and follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address listed above.

Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at​privacy.

Public participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is 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 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 will be considered to the extent practicable.

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Mr. Robert F. Schultz, Jr., FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email:

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FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Before doing so, the Agency must provide an opportunity for public comment. The Agency is required to publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)), providing 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. FMCSA must review the safety analyses and public comments submitted and determine 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 Agency must publish its decision in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) and state the reasons for denying or granting the application. If the exemption is granted, the notice must include the name of the person or entity, or class of persons, receiving the exemption, and the regulation from which the exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption and state the terms and conditions of the exemption, if any. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

On December 27, 2011, FMCSA published a final rule establishing mandatory rest breaks for CMV drivers (76 FR 81133). Effective July 1, 2013, drivers were barred from operating a CMV if 8 hours or more had elapsed since the end of their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)]. FMCSA did not specify when drivers must take the 30-minute break.

Request for Exemption

CFBF is a trade organization representing various stakeholders in the beekeeping industry, including those who provide bee-pollination services and those who benefit from these services. Many crops in the U.S. require bee pollination, including almonds, apples, lettuce, and several varieties of berries. There is no substitute for the pollination provided by bees. CFBF cites a report in Scientific American concluding that in the absence of bee pollination, the United States could lose one third of its crops. CFBF states that the number of bee colonies has been declining for several decades. Recently, the Obama administration established the Pollinator Health Task Force chaired by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Environmental Protection to address problems related to this decline.

Because of the reduced number of colonies available to pollinate, bees are transported long distances to provide crop pollination. CFBF states that the CMVs transporting bees must maintain a flow of cool, fresh air to the hives on board and that excessive heat in the CMV interior can jeopardize the health and welfare of the bees. CFBF maintains that if CMVs transporting hives were stopped for 30 minutes, particularly in warm weather, the risk of harm to the bees would be significant, and possibly fatal. A copy of the application for exemption is available for review in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA requests public comment on CFBF's application for an exemption from the rest-break requirement of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii). The Agency will consider all comments received by close of business on February 9, 2015. Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the location 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.

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Issued on: December 31, 2014.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2015-00101 Filed 1-7-15; 8:45 am]