Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited, 65696-65698 [2016-22961]

Download as PDF 65696 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 185 / Friday, September 23, 2016 / Notices Federal programs and activities apply to this program.) Authority: 23 U.S.C. 139(l)(1) Issued on: September 12, 2016. Peter Osborn, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Albany, New York. [FR Doc. 2016–22700 Filed 9–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–RY–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2015–0480] Commercial Driver’s License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. AGENCY: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for exemption. ACTION: FMCSA announces its decision to grant CRST Expedited (CRST) an exemption from the regulation that requires a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder to be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder with the proper CDL class and endorsements, seated in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder performs behind-the-wheel training on public roads or highways. Under the terms and conditions of this exemption, a CLP holder who has documentation of passing the CDL skills test may drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for CRST without being accompanied by a CDL holder in the front seat of the vehicle. The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as part of a team and have the same regulatory flexibility as CRST team drivers with CDLs. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. SUMMARY: The exemption is effective from September 23, 2016 through September 24, 2018. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES DATES: Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: (614) 942–6477. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:22 Sep 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Background FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from some of the 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, and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)). Request for Exemption CRST is one of the nation’s largest transportation companies with a fleet of more than 4,500 CMVs. CRST seeks an exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that would allow CLP holders who have successfully passed a CDL skills test and are thus eligible to receive a CDL, to drive a truck without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the vehicle. CRST indicates that the CDL holder will remain in the vehicle at all times while the CLP holder is driving— just not in the front seat. This would allow a CLP holder to participate in a revenue-producing trip back to his or her State of domicile to obtain the CDL document, as the CDL can only be issued by the State of domicile in accordance with 49 CFR part 383. CRST noted the trucking industry’s need for qualified and well-trained drivers to meet increasing shipping demands. CRST believes that 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) limits its ability to efficiently recruit, train, and employ new entrants to the industry. Prior to the implementation of section 385.25(a)(1), States routinely issued temporary CDLs to drivers who passed the CDL skills test. The temporary CDL allowed CRST time to route the new driver to his or her State of domicile to PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 obtain the permanent CDL and place the new driver into an on-the-job training position with a driver-trainer. The driver-trainer supervised and observed the new driver, but was not required to be on duty and in the front seat at all times. Thus, the new driver became productive immediately, allowing more freight movement for CRST and compensation for the new driver. CRST contends that compliance with the CDL rule places them in a very difficult position regarding how they return CLP holders who have passed their skills testing to their State of domicile to obtain their CDL. According to CRST, the two possible courses of action in this scenario are simple, yet costly: (1) CRST sends CLP holders to their home State by public transportation to obtain the CDL and hopes the drivers return to CRST for employment; or (2) CRST sends CLP holders back to their home State as passengers on one of its trucks. Granting the exemption would allow the CLP holder to drive as part of a team on that trip, resulting in reduced costs and increased productivity. CRST asserts that the exemption would be consistent with the Agency’s comments in the preamble to the final rule adopting § 383.25 that ‘‘FMCSA does not believe that it is safe to permit inexperienced drivers who have not passed the CDL skills test to drive unaccompanied.’’ (76 FR 26854, 26861 May 9, 2011). The exemption sought would apply only to those CRST drivers who have passed the CDL skills test and hold a CLP. CRST believes that the exemption would result in a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided under the rule. The only difference between a CLP holder who has passed the CDL skills test and a CDL holder is that the latter has received the actual CDL document from a State driver licensing agency. Public Comments On January 5, 2016, FMCSA published notice of this application and requested public comment (81 FR 291). The Agency received 56 comments. Most of the comments opposed to the CRST request were from truck drivers, driver-trainers, and other individuals. These respondents do not believe that it is safe for a CLP holder to operate a CMV without the supervision of a CDL driver-trainer in the front seat of the truck. The Iowa Motor Truck Association (IMTA) supported the exemption request, commenting that if CLP holders are properly trained and tested, the fact that they have not yet obtained their E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 185 / Friday, September 23, 2016 / Notices CDL credential would in no way compromise the safety of the operation. IMTA added that granting this exemption would enhance the productivity while maintaining the safety of CRST’s operation. It would also give the applicant flexibility to allow a CLP holder who has successfully passed all CDL exams to operate more freely and in a way that benefits the driver, the carrier and the economy as a whole. According to IMTA, one of the issues with the current CLP rule is the fact that it’s not always convenient to allow the CLP driver to return to their home state immediately after completing training and passing their CDL exam. The exemption would allow these drivers to join a team operation, and give CRST the time to get CLP holders through their State of domicile at a future time to complete the conversion of the CLP to a CDL. IMTA is confident in the safety and performance of CRST and believe that, if granted, these drivers would operate safely within the terms of their exemption. Opposing the exemption were three industry groups, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Advocates commented that ‘‘FMCSA must reject the CRST application because it undermines existing Federal safety regulations, and will usurp the exclusive authority of states to determine who should be granted commercial driving privileges associated with the issuance of a CDL. The Application also fails to evaluate any potential safety risk to the public or address alternative means of pursuing the goal of the exemption. The Application appears to be an obvious attempt to increase company profits while ignoring the potentially significant increase in truck crash risk to the motoring public.’’ OOIDA believes the exemption sought by CRST is not in the interest of highway safety, will put OOIDA members who share the road with these poorly trained drivers at risk, and fails to demonstrate that an exemption would result in ‘‘a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption’’ as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 31315(b). Further, OOIDA states that CRST does not demonstrate that it is ‘‘significantly burdened’’ by the existing regulation and rather only demonstrates a desire to increase productivity and preserve CRST’s current business practices. OOIDA finds the request fails to meet the applicable standards the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:22 Sep 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 FMCSA must consider and is ill-timed, considering FMCSA is currently reviewing entry-level driver training standards. In a similar vein, IBT commented, ‘‘It is clear from CRST’s application that it is more concerned about saving money and retaining the investment that it has made in the training of the driver than making sure that the CLP holder receives the proper mentoring and supervision needed for first time CLP holders while they gather their behindthe-wheel training. Neither the DOT nor the FMCSA should entertain the relaxing of important safety standards so that motor carriers have a better opportunity to retain drivers that they have trained. The idea that a driver may not return to the company that provided his/her training has more to do with overall pay and benefits that the motor carrier may be offering in the long term than the time or distance traveled for the CLP holder to obtain a CDL from the CLP holder’s home state in the short term. Neither should it be a goal of the DOT or FMCSA to ‘promote greater productivity’ for a motor carrier or allow CLP holders to ‘actively earn a living faster.’ The department’s goal should be safety. Finally, the IBT feels strongly that there is no substituting the skills test for behind-the-wheel training of CLP holders by experienced CDL holders in the front seat of the CMV.’’ FMCSA Response and Decision The premise of respondents opposing the exemption is that CLP holders lack experience and are safer drivers when observed by a CDL driver-trainer who is on duty and in the front seat of the vehicle. The fact is that CLP holders who have passed the CDL skills test are qualified and eligible to obtain a CDL. If these CLP holders had obtained their training and CLPs in their State of domicile, they could immediately obtain their CDL at the State driver licensing agency and begin driving a CMV without any on-board supervision. There is no data showing that having a CDL holder accompany a CLP holder who has passed the skills test improves safety. Because these drivers have passed the CDL skills test, the only thing necessary to obtain the CDL is to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles office in their State of domicile. FMCSA has evaluated CRST’s application for exemption and the public comments. The Agency believes that CRST’s overall safety performance, as reflected in its ‘‘satisfactory’’ safety rating, will enable it to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption (49 CFR PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65697 381.305(a)). The exemption is restricted to CRST’s CLP holders who have documentation that they have passed the CDL skills test. The exemption will enable these drivers to operate a CMV as a team driver without requiring the accompanying CDL holder be on duty and in the front seat while the vehicle is moving. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption Period of the Exemption This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) is effective during the period of September 23, 2016 through September 24, 2018. Extent of the Exemption The exemption is contingent upon CRST maintaining USDOT registration, minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not being subject to any ‘‘imminent hazard’’ or other out-ofservice (OOS) order issued by FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must maintain a valid driver’s license and CLP with the 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. This exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) will allow CRST drivers who hold a CLP and have successfully passed a CDL skills test, to drive a CMV without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the vehicle. The CDL holder must remain in the vehicle at all times while the CLP holder is driving— just not in the front seat. Preemption During the period this exemption is in effect, no State may enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the exemption (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)). FMCSA Accident Notification CRST 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 utilizing this exemption. The notification must be by email to MCPSD@DOT.GOV, and include the following information: a. Exemption Identifier: ‘‘CRST’’ b. Date of the accident, c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or which is closest to the scene of the accident, d. Driver’s name and driver’s license number, e. Vehicle number and State license number, E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1 65698 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 185 / Friday, September 23, 2016 / Notices f. Number of individuals suffering physical injury, g. Number of fatalities, h. The police-reported cause of the accident, i. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations, and j. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV driver at the time of the accident. Termination The FMCSA does not believe the CLPholders covered by the 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. Issued on: September 12, 2016. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2016–22961 Filed 9–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket No. FRA–2010–0002–N–23] Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) and its implementing regulations, FRA seeks renewal of the following currently approved information collection activities. Before submitting the information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified in this notice. DATES: Comments must be received no later than November 22, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit written comments on the following proposed activities by mail to either: Mr. Robert Brogan, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Railroad Safety, Regulatory Analysis Division, RRS–21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mail Stop 25, Washington, DC 20590, or Ms. Kim sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:22 Sep 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Toone, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Information Technology, RAD–20, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590. Commenters requesting that FRA acknowledge receipt of their respective comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard stating, ‘‘Comments on OMB Control Number 2130–0590’’ and should also include the title of the collection of information. Alternatively, comments may be faxed to (202) 493– 6216 or (202) 493–6497, or emailed to Mr. Brogan at Robert.Brogan@dot.gov, or to Ms. Toone at Kim.Toone@dot.gov. Please refer to the assigned OMB control number in any correspondence submitted. FRA will summarize comments received in response to this notice in a subsequent notice and include them in its information collection submission to OMB for approval. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Brogan, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Regulatory Analysis Division, RRS–21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 Jersey Avenue SE., Mail Stop 25, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493–6292) or Ms. Kim Toone, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Information Technology, RAD–20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493–6132). (These telephone numbers are not toll free.) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501–3520, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, require Federal agencies to provide 60-days’ notice to the public for comment on information collection activities before seeking approval for reinstatement or renewal by OMB. See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.10(e)(1), 1320.12(a). Specifically, FRA invites interested respondents to comment on the following summary of proposed information collection activities regarding: (1) Whether the information collection activities are necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, including whether the activities will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FRA’s estimates of the burden of the information collection activities, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used to determine the estimates; (3) ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected; and (4) ways for FRA to minimize the burden of information PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 collection activities on the public by automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1). FRA believes that soliciting public comment will advance three objectives: (1) Reduce reporting burdens; (2) ensure that it organizes information collection requirements in a ‘‘user friendly’’ format to improve the use of such information; and (3) accurately assess the resources expended to retrieve and produce information requested. See 44 U.S.C. 3501. Below is a brief summary of the currently approved information collection activities that FRA will be submitting for clearance by OMB as required under the PRA: Title: Alleged Violation Reporting Form. OMB Control Number: 2130–0590. Abstract: The Alleged Violation Reporting Form is a response to section 307(b) of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that requires FRA to ‘‘provide a mechanism for the public to submit written reports of potential violations of Federal railroad safety and hazardous materials transportation laws, regulations, and orders to the Federal Railroad Administration.’’ The Alleged Violation Reporting Form allows the general public to submit alleged violations directly to FRA. The form’s goal is to allow FRA to collect information necessary to investigate the alleged violation and to follow up with the submitting party. The Alleged Violation Reporting Form collects the name, phone number, and email address of the person submitting the alleged violation; the preferred method by which to contact the person; the railroad or company name that committed the alleged violation; the date and time the alleged violation occurred; the location the alleged violation occurred; and details about the violation. All information is voluntary. FRA will collect the information through a form on the FRA public Web site. FRA may share the information collected with FRA employees, State department of transportation partners, and law enforcement agencies. Form Number(s): FRA F 6180.151. Affected Public: U.S. Residents. Respondent Universe: 1,000 individuals. Frequency of Submission: On occasion. Reporting Burden: E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 185 (Friday, September 23, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65696-65698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-22961]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0480]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; 
CRST Expedited

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant CRST Expedited (CRST) an 
exemption from the regulation that requires a commercial learner's 
permit (CLP) holder to be accompanied by a commercial driver's license 
(CDL) holder with the proper CDL class and endorsements, seated in the 
front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder performs behind-the-
wheel training on public roads or highways. Under the terms and 
conditions of this exemption, a CLP holder who has documentation of 
passing the CDL skills test may drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) 
for CRST without being accompanied by a CDL holder in the front seat of 
the vehicle. The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as part of a 
team and have the same regulatory flexibility as CRST team drivers with 
CDLs. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public 
comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms 
and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent 
such exemption.

DATES: The exemption is effective from September 23, 2016 through 
September 24, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: (614) 942-6477. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from some of the 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, and 
explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be 
renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption

    CRST is one of the nation's largest transportation companies with a 
fleet of more than 4,500 CMVs. CRST seeks an exemption from 49 CFR 
383.25(a)(1) that would allow CLP holders who have successfully passed 
a CDL skills test and are thus eligible to receive a CDL, to drive a 
truck without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the 
vehicle. CRST indicates that the CDL holder will remain in the vehicle 
at all times while the CLP holder is driving--just not in the front 
seat. This would allow a CLP holder to participate in a revenue-
producing trip back to his or her State of domicile to obtain the CDL 
document, as the CDL can only be issued by the State of domicile in 
accordance with 49 CFR part 383.
    CRST noted the trucking industry's need for qualified and well-
trained drivers to meet increasing shipping demands. CRST believes that 
49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) limits its ability to efficiently recruit, train, 
and employ new entrants to the industry. Prior to the implementation of 
section 385.25(a)(1), States routinely issued temporary CDLs to drivers 
who passed the CDL skills test. The temporary CDL allowed CRST time to 
route the new driver to his or her State of domicile to obtain the 
permanent CDL and place the new driver into an on-the-job training 
position with a driver-trainer. The driver-trainer supervised and 
observed the new driver, but was not required to be on duty and in the 
front seat at all times. Thus, the new driver became productive 
immediately, allowing more freight movement for CRST and compensation 
for the new driver.
    CRST contends that compliance with the CDL rule places them in a 
very difficult position regarding how they return CLP holders who have 
passed their skills testing to their State of domicile to obtain their 
CDL. According to CRST, the two possible courses of action in this 
scenario are simple, yet costly: (1) CRST sends CLP holders to their 
home State by public transportation to obtain the CDL and hopes the 
drivers return to CRST for employment; or (2) CRST sends CLP holders 
back to their home State as passengers on one of its trucks. Granting 
the exemption would allow the CLP holder to drive as part of a team on 
that trip, resulting in reduced costs and increased productivity.
    CRST asserts that the exemption would be consistent with the 
Agency's comments in the preamble to the final rule adopting Sec.  
383.25 that ``FMCSA does not believe that it is safe to permit 
inexperienced drivers who have not passed the CDL skills test to drive 
unaccompanied.'' (76 FR 26854, 26861 May 9, 2011). The exemption sought 
would apply only to those CRST drivers who have passed the CDL skills 
test and hold a CLP. CRST believes that the exemption would result in a 
level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of 
safety provided under the rule. The only difference between a CLP 
holder who has passed the CDL skills test and a CDL holder is that the 
latter has received the actual CDL document from a State driver 
licensing agency.

Public Comments

    On January 5, 2016, FMCSA published notice of this application and 
requested public comment (81 FR 291). The Agency received 56 comments. 
Most of the comments opposed to the CRST request were from truck 
drivers, driver-trainers, and other individuals. These respondents do 
not believe that it is safe for a CLP holder to operate a CMV without 
the supervision of a CDL driver-trainer in the front seat of the truck.
    The Iowa Motor Truck Association (IMTA) supported the exemption 
request, commenting that if CLP holders are properly trained and 
tested, the fact that they have not yet obtained their

[[Page 65697]]

CDL credential would in no way compromise the safety of the operation. 
IMTA added that granting this exemption would enhance the productivity 
while maintaining the safety of CRST's operation. It would also give 
the applicant flexibility to allow a CLP holder who has successfully 
passed all CDL exams to operate more freely and in a way that benefits 
the driver, the carrier and the economy as a whole. According to IMTA, 
one of the issues with the current CLP rule is the fact that it's not 
always convenient to allow the CLP driver to return to their home state 
immediately after completing training and passing their CDL exam. The 
exemption would allow these drivers to join a team operation, and give 
CRST the time to get CLP holders through their State of domicile at a 
future time to complete the conversion of the CLP to a CDL. IMTA is 
confident in the safety and performance of CRST and believe that, if 
granted, these drivers would operate safely within the terms of their 
exemption.
    Opposing the exemption were three industry groups, the Advocates 
for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), the Owner-Operator Independent 
Drivers Association (OOIDA), and the International Brotherhood of 
Teamsters (IBT).
    Advocates commented that ``FMCSA must reject the CRST application 
because it undermines existing Federal safety regulations, and will 
usurp the exclusive authority of states to determine who should be 
granted commercial driving privileges associated with the issuance of a 
CDL. The Application also fails to evaluate any potential safety risk 
to the public or address alternative means of pursuing the goal of the 
exemption. The Application appears to be an obvious attempt to increase 
company profits while ignoring the potentially significant increase in 
truck crash risk to the motoring public.''
    OOIDA believes the exemption sought by CRST is not in the interest 
of highway safety, will put OOIDA members who share the road with these 
poorly trained drivers at risk, and fails to demonstrate that an 
exemption would result in ``a level of safety that is equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption'' 
as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 31315(b). Further, OOIDA states that CRST 
does not demonstrate that it is ``significantly burdened'' by the 
existing regulation and rather only demonstrates a desire to increase 
productivity and preserve CRST's current business practices. OOIDA 
finds the request fails to meet the applicable standards the FMCSA must 
consider and is ill-timed, considering FMCSA is currently reviewing 
entry-level driver training standards.
    In a similar vein, IBT commented, ``It is clear from CRST's 
application that it is more concerned about saving money and retaining 
the investment that it has made in the training of the driver than 
making sure that the CLP holder receives the proper mentoring and 
supervision needed for first time CLP holders while they gather their 
behind-the-wheel training. Neither the DOT nor the FMCSA should 
entertain the relaxing of important safety standards so that motor 
carriers have a better opportunity to retain drivers that they have 
trained. The idea that a driver may not return to the company that 
provided his/her training has more to do with overall pay and benefits 
that the motor carrier may be offering in the long term than the time 
or distance traveled for the CLP holder to obtain a CDL from the CLP 
holder's home state in the short term. Neither should it be a goal of 
the DOT or FMCSA to `promote greater productivity' for a motor carrier 
or allow CLP holders to `actively earn a living faster.' The 
department's goal should be safety. Finally, the IBT feels strongly 
that there is no substituting the skills test for behind-the-wheel 
training of CLP holders by experienced CDL holders in the front seat of 
the CMV.''

FMCSA Response and Decision

    The premise of respondents opposing the exemption is that CLP 
holders lack experience and are safer drivers when observed by a CDL 
driver-trainer who is on duty and in the front seat of the vehicle. The 
fact is that CLP holders who have passed the CDL skills test are 
qualified and eligible to obtain a CDL. If these CLP holders had 
obtained their training and CLPs in their State of domicile, they could 
immediately obtain their CDL at the State driver licensing agency and 
begin driving a CMV without any on-board supervision. There is no data 
showing that having a CDL holder accompany a CLP holder who has passed 
the skills test improves safety. Because these drivers have passed the 
CDL skills test, the only thing necessary to obtain the CDL is to visit 
the Department of Motor Vehicles office in their State of domicile.
    FMCSA has evaluated CRST's application for exemption and the public 
comments. The Agency believes that CRST's overall safety performance, 
as reflected in its ``satisfactory'' safety rating, will enable it to 
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)). The 
exemption is restricted to CRST's CLP holders who have documentation 
that they have passed the CDL skills test. The exemption will enable 
these drivers to operate a CMV as a team driver without requiring the 
accompanying CDL holder be on duty and in the front seat while the 
vehicle is moving.

Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Period of the Exemption

    This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) is 
effective during the period of September 23, 2016 through September 24, 
2018.

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption is contingent upon CRST maintaining USDOT 
registration, minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not 
being subject to any ``imminent hazard'' or other out-of- service (OOS) 
order issued by FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must 
maintain a valid driver's license and CLP with the 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.
    This exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) will allow CRST drivers who 
hold a CLP and have successfully passed a CDL skills test, to drive a 
CMV without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the 
vehicle. The CDL holder must remain in the vehicle at all times while 
the CLP holder is driving--just not in the front seat.

Preemption

    During the period this exemption is in effect, no State may enforce 
any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the 
exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the 
exemption (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)).

FMCSA Accident Notification

    CRST 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 utilizing this exemption. The notification must be by email to 
MCPSD@DOT.GOV, and include the following information:

a. Exemption Identifier: ``CRST''
b. Date of the accident,
c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or which is 
closest to the scene of the accident,
d. Driver's name and driver's license number,
e. Vehicle number and State license number,

[[Page 65698]]

f. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
g. Number of fatalities,
h. The police-reported cause of the accident,
i. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or 
motor carrier safety regulations, and
j. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV driver 
at the time of the accident.

Termination

    The FMCSA does not believe the CLP-holders covered by the 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.

    Issued on: September 12, 2016.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-22961 Filed 9-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P