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Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; Isuzu North America Corporation (Isuzu)

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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 Isuzu North America Corporation (Isuzu) requesting an exemption from the Federal requirement to hold a U.S. commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by one of the States. Isuzu requests that the exemption cover 12 of its commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who will test-drive CMVs for Isuzu in the United States. Each of these 12 Isuzu employees holds a valid Japanese commercial license but lacks the U.S. residency necessary to obtain a CDL from one of the States of the United States. Isuzu believes the knowledge and skills tests and training program that drivers undergo to obtain a Japanese commercial license ensures that these drivers will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the exemption.


Comments must be received on or before November 19, 2018.


You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2006-25290 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • 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., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to, including any personal information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, 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 FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.

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.

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For information concerning this notice, contact Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

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I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and related materials.

Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (FMCSA-2006-25290), indicate the specific section of this document to which the comment applies, and provide a reason for suggestions or recommendations. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding your submission.

To submit your comment online, go to and put the docket number, “FMCSA-2006-25290” in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.” When the new screen appears, click on “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the comment period.

II. Legal Basis

FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public 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)) with the reason for the grant or denial, and, if granted, the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision or provisions from which exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption (up to 5 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

III. Request for Exemption

Isuzu has applied for an exemption from the CDL rules, specifically 49 CFR 383.23 that prescribes licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in interstate or intrastate commerce. Isuzu requests the exemption because its driver-employees are citizens and residents of Japan, and because they cannot apply for a CDL in any of the United States due to lack of residency. Isuzu explained that the exemption would allow a team of 12 employees (vehicle test engineers, technicians, mechanics and other employees) to drive CMVs in interstate commerce to test and evaluate production and prototype CMVs in the United States in order to design safe and well-tested vehicles for use on U.S. highways. The exemption would further provide an opportunity for these engineers to test how CMVs perform under various environmental and climatic conditions.Start Printed Page 53152

The drivers covered by the proposed exemption are Naoto Morimoto, Kenji Sugawara, Ryota Hisamatsu, Takehiro Oshima, Yasuhiro Sakai, Hiroaki Takahashi, Kazunori Aizawa, Atsushi Fujiwara, Kazuya Takahashi, Koichi Ueno, Takahisa Chiba, and Takamasa Ono. According to Isuzu, these drivers will not engage in driving CMVs for purpose of transporting merchandise as a commercial activity.

Each driver holds a valid Japanese commercial license, and as explained by Isuzu in previous exemption requests, drivers applying for a Japanese-issued commercial license must undergo a training program and pass knowledge and skills tests. Isuzu also stated in prior exemption requests that the knowledge and skills tests and training program that Japanese drivers undergo to obtain a Japanese commercial license ensure the exemption provides a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety obtained by complying with the U.S. requirement for a CDL. A copy of Isuzu's application for exemption is available for review in the docket for this notice.

FMCSA has previously determined the process for obtaining a Japanese commercial license is comparable to, or as effective as, the Federal CDL knowledge and skills requirements of 49 CFR part 383 as enforced by the States, and adequately assesses the driver's ability to operate CMVs in the U.S. Since 2003, FMCSA has granted Isuzu drivers similar exemptions [October 16, 2003 (68 FR 59677); April 3, 2007 (72 FR 15933); April 5, 2007 (72 FR 16870); September 5, 2008 (73 FR 51878); January 5, 2009 (74 FR 334); July 24, 2009 (74 FR 36809)].

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Issued on: September 26, 2018.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2018-22834 Filed 10-18-18; 8:45 am]