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Hours of Service of Drivers; Renewal and Expansion of American Pyrotechnics Association Exemption From the 14-Hour Rule During Independence Day Celebrations

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.


Notice of final disposition; granting of application for exemption.


FMCSA announces the granting of an exemption for 51 member-companies of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) from FMCSA's regulation prohibiting drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from driving after the 14th hour after coming on duty. FMCSA renews the exemption for 46 APA member Start Printed Page 37041companies and grants 5 additional carriers coverage under the exemption, which is effective from June 28-July 8, 2015, and June 28-July 8, 2016, inclusive. The original application covered 55 carriers, but FMCSA has declined to exempt 3 of them, and 1 carrier is out of business, leaving 51 approved carriers. Drivers who operate these 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-hour driving window otherwise applicable. These drivers remain subject to the 60- and 70-hour limits; they may also drive no more than 11 hours in the 14-hour period after coming on duty, as extended by any off-duty or sleeper-berth time in accordance with this exception. FMCSA believes that the terms and conditions of the exemption will likely enable APA member motor carriers to 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.


This exemption is effective from June 28, 2015 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2015 (11:59 p.m.) and from June 28, 2016 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2016 (11:59 p.m.).

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Mrs. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325, Email:, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments submitted to the notice requesting public comments on the exemption application, go to at any time or visit 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., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.

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APA Application for Exemption

The hours-of-service (HOS) rule in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) prohibits a property-carrying CMV driver from driving a CMV 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 grant 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, applied for an exemption in 2004. A copy of that application is in the docket; it describes fully the nature of the pyrotechnic operations during a typical Independence Day period. Various APA members have held 2-year exemptions during Independence Day periods from 2005 through 2014. The last exemption, for 55 of its members, expired on July 9, 2014. The renewal application covered 50 members that previously held exemptions and 5 additional member companies, but FMCSA has decided not to exempt 3 of them; and 1 carrier, Hi-Tech FX, LLC (US DOT number 1549055), is out of business; 51 carriers are being granted the exemption. A copy of the renewal request is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

The CMV drivers employed by APA members are trained pyro technicians who hold commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) with hazardous materials (HM) endorsements. They transport fireworks and related equipment by CMVs on a demanding schedule during a brief Independence Day period, often to remote locations. After they arrive, the drivers are responsible for set-up and staging of the fireworks shows.

The APA stated that it was seeking an HOS exemption for the 2015 and 2016 Independence Day periods because compliance with the current 14-hour rule in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) 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 shows under the current HOS rules, APA claimed that its members would be required to hire a second driver for most trips. The result would be a substantial increase in the cost of the fireworks shows—beyond the means of many of its members' customers—and many Americans would therefore be denied this important component of the Independence Day celebration. The 51 APA members within the scope of this exemption are listed in an appendix to this notice.

Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

The APA believes that renewal of the exemption for previously exempt carriers and the granting of relief for new carriers will not adversely affect the safety of the fireworks transportation provided by these motor carriers. According to APA, its member-companies have operated under this exemption for 10 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 or other safe location 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 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 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 prior APA exemptions.

APA asserted that the operational demands of this unique industry minimize the risk of CMV crashes. In the last few days before the 4th of July, 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 APA operations conducted under the terms and conditions of this limited exemption will likely provide a level of safety that is equivalent to the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

Public Comments

On April 7, 2015, FMCSA published notice of this renewal application, and asked for public comment (80 FR 186690). No comments were submitted.Start Printed Page 37042

FMCSA Decision

The FMCSA has evaluated APA's application and the safety records of the companies to which the exemption would apply. The Agency believes that APA members will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption [49 CFR 381.305(a)], and grants the requested exemption to the 51 APA member-companies listed in the appendix.

FMCSA denies the exemption applications of Garden State Fireworks, Inc. (USDOT number 435878); Pyro Engineering Inc. (USDOT number 530262); and Pyro Shows, Inc. (USDOT number 456818). The denial is based on their insufficient safety management controls and the Agency's analysis of their roadside inspections during the last 24 months. Under these circumstances, FMCSA believes it would be inappropriate at this time to grant an exemption to these three companies.

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

The exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) is effective from June 28, 2015 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2015 (11:59 p.m.) and from June 28, 2016 (12:01 a.m.) through July 8, 2016 (11:59 p.m.). The exemption will expire on July 8, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. local time.

Extent of the Exemption

This exemption is restricted to the 51 motor carriers listed in the appendix and their CMV drivers. The drivers are exempt from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2), which prohibits a driver from driving a CMV 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. However, driving time is limited to 11 hours in the 14-hour period after coming on duty, as extended by any off-duty or sleeper-berth time in accordance with this exemption. The exemption is further contingent on each driver having a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty prior to beginning a new duty period. The carriers and drivers must comply with all other applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350-399) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 105-180).

Other Conditions

Each carrier must maintain USDOT registration, a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (if required), minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not be subject to any “imminent hazard” or other out-of-service (OOS) order issued by FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must be in possession of the exemption document, maintain a valid CDL with required endorsements, not be subject to any OOS order or suspension of driving privileges, and meet all physical qualifications required by 49 CFR part 391.


During the periods the exemption is in effect, no State may 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)).

FMCSA Accident 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. Identifier of the Exemption: “APA”

b. Name of operating carrier and USDOT number,

c. Date of the accident,

d. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene,

e. Driver's name and license number,

f. If any, co-driver's name and license number,

g. Vehicle number and state license number,

h. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,

i. Number of fatalities,

j. The police-reported cause of the accident,

k. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, motor carrier safety regulations, and

l. The total driving time and total on-duty time prior to 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.

Start Signature

Issued on: June 23, 2015.

T.F. Scott Darling, III,

Chief Counsel.

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Appendix to Notice of Application for Renewal of American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) Exemption from the 14-Hour HOS Rule During 2015 and 2016 Independence Day Celebrations for 46 Motor Carriers

Motor carrierStreet addressCity, state, zip codeDOT No.
1 American Fireworks Company7041 Darrow RoadHudson, OH 44236103972
2 American Fireworks Display, LLCP.O. Box 980Oxford, NY 138302115608
3 AM Pyrotechnics, LLC2429 East 535th RdBuffalo, MO 656221034961
4 Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc136 Old Sharon RdJaffrey, NH 03452789777
5 Central States Fireworks, Inc18034 Kincaid StreetAthens, IL 626131022659
6 Colonial Fireworks Company5225 Telegraph RoadToledo, OH 43612177274
7 East Coast Pyrotechnics, Inc4652 Catawba River RdCatawba, SC 29704545033
8 Entertainment Fireworks, Inc13313 Reeder Road SWTenino, WA 98589680942
9 Falcon Fireworks3411 Courthouse RoadGuyton, GA 313121037954
10 Fireworks & Stage FX America12650 Hwy 67S. Suite BLakeside, CA 92040908304
11 Fireworks by Grucci, Inc20 Pinehurst DriveBellport, NY 11713324490
12 J&J Computing dba Fireworks Extravaganza174 Route 17 NorthRochelle Park, NJ 076622064141
13 Fireworks West Internationale910 North 3200 WestLogan, UT 84321245423
14 Gateway Fireworks DisplaysP.O. Box 39327St Louis, MO 631391325301
15 Great Lakes Fireworks24805 MarineEastpointe, MI 480211011216
16 Hamburg Fireworks Display, Inc2240 Horns Mill Road SELancaster, OH395079
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17 Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics, Inc17-7850 N. Kulani RoadMountain View, HI 967711375918
18 Hollywood Pyrotechnics, Inc1567 Antler PointEagan, MN 551221061068
19 Homeland Fireworks, IncP.O. Box 7Jamieson, OR 979091377525
20 Island Fireworks Co., IncN1597 County Rd VVHager City, WI 54014414583
21 J&M Displays, Inc18064 170th AveYarmouth, IA 52660377461
22 Lantis Fireworks, Inc130 Sodrac Dr., Box 229N. Sioux City, SD 57049534052
23 Legion Fireworks Co., Inc10 Legion LaneWappingers Falls, NY 12590554391
24 Miand Inc. dba Planet Productions (Mad Bomber)P.O. Box 294, 3999 Hupp Road R31Kingsbury, IN 46345777176
25 Martin & Ware Inc. dba Pyro City Maine & Central Maine PyrotechnicsP.P. Box 322Hallowell, ME 04347734974
26 Melrose Pyrotechnics, Inc1 Kinsgubury Industrial ParkKingsbury, IN 46345434586
27 Precocious Pyrotechnics, Inc4420-278th Ave NWBelgrade, MN 56312435931
28 Pyro Spectacluars, Inc3196 N Locust AveRialto, CA 92376029329
29 Pyro Spectaculars North, Inc5301 Lang AvenueMcClellan, CA 956521671438
30 Pyrotechnic Display, Inc8450 W. St. Francis RdFrankfort, IL 604231929883
31 Pyrotecnico (S. Vitale Pyrotechnic Industries, Inc.)302 Wilson RdNew Castle, PA 16105526749
32 Pyrotecnico, LLC60 West CtMandeville, LA 70471548303
33 Pyrotecnico FX6965 Speedway Blvd. Suite 115Las Vegas, NV 891151610728
34 Rainbow Fireworks, Inc76 Plum AveInman, KS 675461139643
35 RES Specialty Pyrotechnics21595 286th StBelle Plaine, MN 56011523981
36 Rozzi's Famous Fireworks, Inc11605 North Lebanon RdLoveland, OH 451400483686
37 Skyworks, Ltd13513 W. Carrier RdCarrier, OK 737271421047
38 Spielbauer Fireworks Co, Inc220 Roselawn BlvdGreen Bay, WI 54301046479
39 Starfire Corporation682 Cole RoadCarrolltown, PA 15722554645
40 Vermont Fireworks Co., Inc./Northstar Fireworks Co., Inc2235 Vermont Route 14 SouthEast Montpelier, VT 05651310632
41 Western Display Fireworks, Ltd10946 S. New Era RdCanby, OR 97013498941
42 Western Enterprises, IncP.O. Box 160Carrier, OK 73727203517
43 Western Fireworks, Inc14592 Ottaway Road NEAurora, OR 97002838585
44 Wolverine Fireworks Display, Inc205 W SeidlersKawkawlin, MI376857
45 Young Explosives CorpP.O. Box 18653Rochester, NY 14618450304
46 Zambelli Fireworks MFG, Co., IncP.O. Box 1463New Castle, PA 16103033167

Appendix to Renewal of Exemption for 5 Motor Carriers Not Previously Exempted

Motor carrierStreet addressCity, state, zip codeDOT No.
1 Pyro Shows of Texas, Inc6601 9 Mile Azle RdFort Worth, TX 761352432196
2 Sorgi American Fireworks Michigan, LLC935 Wales Ridge RdWales, MI 480272475727
3 Spirit of 766401 West Hwy 40Columbia, MO 652022138948
4 USA Halloween Planet Inc. dba USA Fireworks7800 Record Street, Suite AIndianapolis, IN 46226725457
5 Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics6607 Red Hawk CtMaineville, OH 450392008107
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[FR Doc. 2015-15879 Filed 6-26-15; 8:45 am]