Hours of Service; Electronic Logging Devices; Limited 90-Day Waiver for the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities, 12685-12687 [2018-05865]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2018 / Rules and Regulations including specific milestones for providing each element of the identified assistance; (3) A description of the quantitative and qualitative benefits to DoD from the agreement, if applicable; and (4) Goals for additional awards for which ´ ´ the protege firm can compete outside the Program; * * I–109 * * * * Reimburseable Agreements * * * * (e) DoD may not reimburse any fee to the mentor firm for services provided to the ´ ´ protege firm pursuant to I–106(d)(6) or for business development expenses incurred by the mentor firm under a contract awarded to the mentor firm while participating in a joint ´ ´ venture with the protege firm. amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES * * * * * I–112.2 Program Specific Reporting Requirements (a) Mentors must report on the progress ´ ´ made under active mentor-protege agreements semiannually for the periods ending March 31st and September 30th throughout the Program participation term of the agreement. The September 30th report must address the entire fiscal year. (1) Reports are due 30 days after the close of each reporting period. (2) Each report must include the following data on performance under the mentor´ ´ protege agreement: (i) Dollars obligated (for reimbursable agreements). (ii) Expenditures. (iii) Dollars credited, if any, toward applicable subcontracting goals as a result of developmental assistance provided to the ´ ´ protege and a copy of the ISR or SF 294 and/ or SSR for each contract where developmental assistance was credited. (iv) Any new awards of subcontracts on a competitive or noncompetitive basis to the ´ ´ protege firm under DoD contracts or other contracts, including the value of such subcontracts. (v) All technical or management assistance provided by mentor firm personnel for the purposes described in I–106(d). (vi) Any extensions, increases in the scope of work, or additional payments not previously reported for prior awards of subcontracts on a competitive or ´ ´ noncompetitive basis to the protege firm under DoD contracts or other contracts, including the value of such subcontracts. (vii) The amount of any payment of progress payments or advance payments ´ ´ made to the protege firm for performance under any subcontract made under the Program. (viii) Any loans made by the mentor firm ´ ´ to the protege firm. (ix) All Federal contracts awarded to the ´ ´ mentor firm and the protege firm as a joint venture, designating whether the award was a restricted competition or a full and open competition. (x) Any assistance obtained by the mentor ´ ´ firm for the protege firm from the entities listed at I–106(d)(6). (xi) Whether there have been any changes ´ ´ to the terms of the mentor-protege agreement. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:02 Mar 22, 2018 Jkt 244001 (xii) A narrative describing the following: (A) The success assistance provided under I–106(d) has had in addressing the ´ ´ developmental needs of the protege firm. (B) The impact on DoD contracts. (C) Any problems encountered. ´ ´ (D) Any milestones achieved in the protege firm’s developmental program. (E) Impact of the agreement in terms of capabilities enhanced, certifications received, and technology transferred. (3) In accordance with section 861, paragraph (b)(2), of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Pub. L. 114–92), the reporting requirements specified in paragraphs (a)(2)(iv) through (a)(2)(xii)(C) of this section apply ´ ´ retroactively to mentor-protege agreements that were in effect on November 25, 2015. Mentors must submit reports as described in paragraph (a) of this section. (4) A recommended reporting format and guidance for its submission are available at: http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sb/programs/ mpp/resources.shtml. ´ ´ (b) The protege must provide data, annually by October 31st, on the progress made during the prior fiscal year by the ´ ´ protege in employment, revenues, and participation in DoD contracts during— (1) Each fiscal year of the Program participation term; and (2) Each of the 2 fiscal years following the expiration of the Program participation term. ´ ´ (c) The protege report required by paragraph (b) of this section may be provided as part of the mentor report for the period ending September 30th required by paragraph (a) of this section. (d) Progress reports must be submitted— (1) For credit agreements, to the cognizant Component Director, SBP, that approved the agreement, and the mentor’s cognizant DCMA administrative contracting officer; and (2) For reimbursable agreements, to the cognizant Component Director, SBP, the contracting officer, the DCMA administrative contracting officer, and the program manager. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2018–05937 Filed 3–22–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 395 Hours of Service; Electronic Logging Devices; Limited 90-Day Waiver for the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notification; grant of waiver. AGENCY: FMCSA grants a limited 90day waiver from the Federal hours-ofservice (HOS) regulations pertaining to electronic logging devices (ELDs) for the transportation of agricultural SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12685 commodities as defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The Agency has determined that the waiver is in the public interest and will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption, based on the terms and conditions imposed. The waiver provides the Agency additional time to complete its analysis of the public responses to its December 20, 2017, notice of proposed regulatory guidance to clarify the applicability of the ‘‘Agricultural commodity’’ exception to the hours-of-service regulations and issue final guidance which in turn, would have an impact on which drivers transporting agricultural commodities are required to use ELDs, and the public responses to its October 31, 2017, document announcing receipt of the NPPC’s application for an exemption from the ELD requirements and to issue a decision whether to grant NPPC’s request for longer-term relief from the ELD rule. The Agency has determined through its preliminary analysis of the public comments submitted to the public dockets that the issues raised by transporters of agricultural commodities are more complex than those raised by other segments of the industry seeking relief from the ELD requirements and that it is appropriate to take additional time to bring these matters to closure. DATES: This waiver is applicable beginning March 18, 2018, and expires on June 18, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas L. Yager, Chief, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. Phone: (614) 942–6477. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Legal Basis The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA–21) (Pub. L. 105– 178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998) provides the Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) the authority to grant waivers from any of the FMCSRs issued under Chapter 313 of Title 49 of the United States Code or 49 U.S.C. 31136, to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief. (49 U.S.C. 31136(e), 31315(a)). The Secretary must make a determination that the waiver is in the public interest, and that it is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver. Individual waivers may be granted only E:\FR\FM\23MRR1.SGM 23MRR1 12686 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2018 / Rules and Regulations for a specific unique, non-emergency event, for a period up to three months. TEA–21 authorizes the Secretary to grant waivers without requesting public comment, and without providing public notice. The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated authority under 49 CFR 1.87(e) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary by 49 U.S.C. chapter 311, subchapters I and III, relating to commercial motor vehicle programs and safety regulation. amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES Background The FMCSA received an application for an exemption and waiver from the NPPC on behalf of eight organizations that represent transporters of livestock and other agricultural commodities. Notice of the request for exemption from the requirement that a motor carrier require each of its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) no later than December 18, 2017, to record the driver’s hours-of-service (HOS), was published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2017 (82 FR 50358). Comments to that document were due by November 30, 2017 (www.regulations.gov, Docket FMCSA– 2017–0297). The Agency received 997 responses to the document announcing receipt of the NPPC exemption application. FMCSA also received from the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) an exemption, waiver, and petition document dated October 25, 2017, requesting that transporters of agricultural commodities and farm supplies for agricultural purposes not be required to use ELDs during an exemption period. Notice of that request was published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2017 (82 FR 61531). Comments to that document were due by January 29, 2018 (www.regulations.gov, Docket FMCSA– 2017–0336). The Agency received 115 responses to the document announcing receipt of the ARA exemption application. In addition to NPPC’s and ARA’s applications, FMCSA received numerous public comments in response to the Agency’s December 20, 2017 (82 FR 60360), notice of proposed regulatory guidance concerning the applicability of the HOS requirements to drivers transporting agricultural commodities. Comments were due by January 19, 2018, but the comment period was subsequently extended to February 20, 2018, in response to a request by the American Trucking Associations. The Agency received 565 responses to that document. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Mar 22, 2018 Jkt 244001 Safety Determination Although FMCSA does not have an estimate of the number of carriers and drivers that would be covered by this waiver, the Agency believes the population represents a relatively small percentage of the carriers and drivers subject to its oversight and, more specifically, of those subject to the ELD requirements. This belief is based primarily on an analysis the Agency conducted in 2013 when it evaluated a request for a waiver from the 30-minute rest break requirement for the transportation of livestock (July 11, 2013, 78 FR 41716). FMCSA reviewed its Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) to determine this information at that time. MCMIS includes the information reported to the Agency by carriers submitting the Motor Carrier Identification Report (FMCSA Form MCS–150), required by 49 CFR 390.19. As of July 3, 2013, MCMIS listed 64,892 motor carriers that identified livestock as a type (though not necessarily the only type) of cargo they transported. These carriers operated 187,606 vehicles and employed 242,676 drivers. And 126,471 of those drivers operated within a 100 air-mile radius of their workreporting location—a fact that is important because the existing statutory exemptions provide relief from the HOS requirements for these drivers. Therefore, the Agency concluded at that time, the 2013 livestock waiver would not have been applicable to them, leaving fewer than 116,205 drivers likely to utilize this relief from the 30minute rest break provision. The Agency explained in its document granting the waiver that section 345 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 (the NHS Act) (Pub. L. 104–69, 109 Stat. 613), enacted on November 28, 1995, implemented by 49 CFR 395.1(k), provided relief from the HOS requirements for drivers transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies for agricultural purposes in a State if ‘‘the transportation is limited to an area within a 100 air-mile radius from the source of the commodities or the distribution point for the farm supplies and is during the planting and harvesting seasons within such State, as determined by the State.’’ Section 32101(d) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) (Pub. L. 112–141, 126 Stat. 405), enacted on July 6, 2012, expanded that 100 air-mile radius provided by the NHS Act to 150 air miles; FMCSA implemented the PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 provision with a final rule published on March 14, 2013 (78 FR 16189). In addition, section 32934 of MAP–21 provides statutory exemptions from most of the FMCSRs, including those pertaining to HOS, the commercial driver’s license and driver qualification requirements, for drivers of ‘‘covered farm vehicles’’ (CFVs), a term defined in detail by MAP–21. Among other things, CFV drivers must be owners or operators of farms or ranches, or their employees or family members; for-hire motor carriers are not eligible for the exemptions provided by section 32934. These exemptions are explained in the March 14, 2013, final rule mentioned above. While the 2013 analysis was targeted at estimating the population of carriers and drivers that would be covered by a livestock waiver from the 30-minute rest break requirement, the Agency believes a similar analysis looking at agricultural commodities in general would also show that the population likely to need relief from the ELD requirement during the 90-day waiver remains a small fraction of the motor carrier and driver populations subject to the ELD rule. Because of the urgency with which FMCSA must issue decisions on the matters discussed above, the Agency was unable to complete an up-to-date analysis of its MCMIS data before the March 18, 2018, expiration of the 2017 waiver for the transportation of agricultural commodities. However, the Agency will complete that analysis of the MCMIS data within 30 days and place a copy in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notification. In addition to the 2013 data analysis, the Agency considered information reviewed in reaching a decision to grant a limited 90-day waiver from the HOS requirements for the distribution of an agricultural supply, anhydrous ammonia. The analysis was discussed in depth in an October 6, 2010, Federal Register document (75 FR 61626), granting the waiver, and in the Agency’s 2017 document granting a limited 90day waiver from the ELD requirements for motor carriers transporting agricultural commodities. The Agency continues to believe the study results are relevant to the discussion of temporary regulatory relief from the ELD requirements for the transportation of agricultural commodities. Although this study was conducted in 2010 and relied upon data from 2005 through 2008, FMCSA has no reason to believe that the conclusions would be different if updated using more recent data. Although the 2010 studies did not focus on benefits achieved by use of ELDS, given the limited population of E:\FR\FM\23MRR1.SGM 23MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 57 / Friday, March 23, 2018 / Rules and Regulations motor carriers affected by the waiver and the brief period of time a waiver is in effect, FMCSA believes that the level of safety maintained by transporters of agricultural commodities will be equivalent to the safety of operations that would be obtained absent the granting of a waiver. FMCSA Determination Considering the above studies, the ongoing review of the public comments submitted in response to the proposed regulatory guidance on the agricultural commodities exception to the HOS rules, and the pending exemption requests from NPPC and ARA, FMCSA has determined that it is in the public interest to provide a limited waiver from the use of ELDs for interstate motor carriers engaged in the transportation of agricultural commodities as defined in 49 CFR 395.2. The Agency believes this matter requires a decision based on the best available data, albeit dated, rather than delaying a decision until a new study can be conducted. This waiver will allow FMCSA time to evaluate the HOS exception applicable to the transport of agricultural commodities and to review the concerns unique to the agricultural industry. FMCSA grants the waiver to all motor carriers transporting agricultural commodities. Terms and Conditions of the Waiver amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES (1) Duration of the waiver. This waiver is applicable March 18, 2018, through June 18, 2018. (2) Motor carriers transporting agricultural commodities under the provisions of 49 CFR 395.1(k)(1), are exempt from the ELD requirements in 49 CFR 395.8(a) during the period of this waiver, regardless of the distance traveled. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Mar 22, 2018 Jkt 244001 (3) Carriers operating under this waiver must comply with all other applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 390 through 399), including the preparation of records of duty status (RODS) for operations which are currently considered to be subject to the HOS rules and the record retention requirements associated with those RODS and supporting documents. (4) Motor carriers operating under this waiver must have a ‘‘satisfactory’’ safety rating from FMCSA or be unrated; motor carriers with ‘‘conditional’’ or ‘‘unsatisfactory’’ safety ratings are prohibited from taking advantage of the waiver. (5) Drivers operating under this waiver must carry a copy of this Federal Register notification and present it to motor carrier safety enforcement officials upon request. (6) Crash Notification to FMCSA Carriers operating under this waiver must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any of the motor carrier’s drivers operating under the terms of this waiver. The notification must include the following information: (a) Identity of Waiver: ‘‘AG’’ (b) Date of the accident, (c) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene, (d) Driver’s name and license number, (e) Co-driver’s name and license number (if applicable), (f) Vehicle number and State license number, (g) Number of individuals suffering physical injury, (h) Number of fatalities, (i) The police-reported cause of the accident, PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 12687 (j) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, motor carrier safety regulations, and (k) The total driving time and total onduty time period prior to the accident. Accident notifications must be emailed to MCPSD@dot.gov. Safety Considerations Considering the limited period of this waiver and that it does not alter any of the HOS regulations other than the method of recording HOS, and the Agency’s previous review of data concerning the safety performance of motor carriers engaged in the transportation of agricultural commodities, the Agency has determined that the waiver from the ELD requirements for 90 days is likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the current regulation. FMCSA expects that any drivers and their employing motor carrier operating under the terms and conditions of the exemption will maintain their safety record. Should any safety problems be discovered, however, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public interest. Use of this waiver is voluntary, and FMCSA will immediately revoke the waiver for any interstate driver or motor carrier for failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the waiver. Preemption of State Requirements Consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), this waiver preempts inconsistent State or local requirements applicable to interstate commerce. Issued on: March 16, 2018. Raymond P. Martinez, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2018–05865 Filed 3–22–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P E:\FR\FM\23MRR1.SGM 23MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 57 (Friday, March 23, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12685-12687]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-05865]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 395


Hours of Service; Electronic Logging Devices; Limited 90-Day 
Waiver for the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities

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

ACTION: Notification; grant of waiver.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA grants a limited 90-day waiver from the Federal hours-
of-service (HOS) regulations pertaining to electronic logging devices 
(ELDs) for the transportation of agricultural commodities as defined in 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The Agency has 
determined that the waiver is in the public interest and will likely 
achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level that would be achieved absent such exemption, based on the terms 
and conditions imposed. The waiver provides the Agency additional time 
to complete its analysis of the public responses to its December 20, 
2017, notice of proposed regulatory guidance to clarify the 
applicability of the ``Agricultural commodity'' exception to the hours-
of-service regulations and issue final guidance which in turn, would 
have an impact on which drivers transporting agricultural commodities 
are required to use ELDs, and the public responses to its October 31, 
2017, document announcing receipt of the NPPC's application for an 
exemption from the ELD requirements and to issue a decision whether to 
grant NPPC's request for longer-term relief from the ELD rule. The 
Agency has determined through its preliminary analysis of the public 
comments submitted to the public dockets that the issues raised by 
transporters of agricultural commodities are more complex than those 
raised by other segments of the industry seeking relief from the ELD 
requirements and that it is appropriate to take additional time to 
bring these matters to closure.

DATES: This waiver is applicable beginning March 18, 2018, and expires 
on June 18, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas L. Yager, Chief, Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and 
Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590.
    Email: [email protected]. Phone: (614) 942-6477.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Legal Basis

    The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (Pub. 
L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998) provides the Secretary of 
Transportation (the Secretary) the authority to grant waivers from any 
of the FMCSRs issued under Chapter 313 of Title 49 of the United States 
Code or 49 U.S.C. 31136, to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief. (49 
U.S.C. 31136(e), 31315(a)). The Secretary must make a determination 
that the waiver is in the public interest, and that it is likely to 
achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver. 
Individual waivers may be granted only

[[Page 12686]]

for a specific unique, non-emergency event, for a period up to three 
months. TEA-21 authorizes the Secretary to grant waivers without 
requesting public comment, and without providing public notice.
    The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated authority under 49 
CFR 1.87(e) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary by 49 
U.S.C. chapter 311, subchapters I and III, relating to commercial motor 
vehicle programs and safety regulation.

Background

    The FMCSA received an application for an exemption and waiver from 
the NPPC on behalf of eight organizations that represent transporters 
of livestock and other agricultural commodities. Notice of the request 
for exemption from the requirement that a motor carrier require each of 
its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) no later than 
December 18, 2017, to record the driver's hours-of-service (HOS), was 
published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2017 (82 FR 50358). 
Comments to that document were due by November 30, 2017 
(www.regulations.gov, Docket FMCSA-2017-0297). The Agency received 997 
responses to the document announcing receipt of the NPPC exemption 
application.
    FMCSA also received from the Agricultural Retailers Association 
(ARA) an exemption, waiver, and petition document dated October 25, 
2017, requesting that transporters of agricultural commodities and farm 
supplies for agricultural purposes not be required to use ELDs during 
an exemption period. Notice of that request was published in the 
Federal Register on December 28, 2017 (82 FR 61531). Comments to that 
document were due by January 29, 2018 (www.regulations.gov, Docket 
FMCSA-2017-0336). The Agency received 115 responses to the document 
announcing receipt of the ARA exemption application.
    In addition to NPPC's and ARA's applications, FMCSA received 
numerous public comments in response to the Agency's December 20, 2017 
(82 FR 60360), notice of proposed regulatory guidance concerning the 
applicability of the HOS requirements to drivers transporting 
agricultural commodities. Comments were due by January 19, 2018, but 
the comment period was subsequently extended to February 20, 2018, in 
response to a request by the American Trucking Associations. The Agency 
received 565 responses to that document.

Safety Determination

    Although FMCSA does not have an estimate of the number of carriers 
and drivers that would be covered by this waiver, the Agency believes 
the population represents a relatively small percentage of the carriers 
and drivers subject to its oversight and, more specifically, of those 
subject to the ELD requirements. This belief is based primarily on an 
analysis the Agency conducted in 2013 when it evaluated a request for a 
waiver from the 30-minute rest break requirement for the transportation 
of livestock (July 11, 2013, 78 FR 41716).
    FMCSA reviewed its Motor Carrier Management Information System 
(MCMIS) to determine this information at that time. MCMIS includes the 
information reported to the Agency by carriers submitting the Motor 
Carrier Identification Report (FMCSA Form MCS-150), required by 49 CFR 
390.19. As of July 3, 2013, MCMIS listed 64,892 motor carriers that 
identified livestock as a type (though not necessarily the only type) 
of cargo they transported. These carriers operated 187,606 vehicles and 
employed 242,676 drivers. And 126,471 of those drivers operated within 
a 100 air-mile radius of their work-reporting location--a fact that is 
important because the existing statutory exemptions provide relief from 
the HOS requirements for these drivers. Therefore, the Agency concluded 
at that time, the 2013 livestock waiver would not have been applicable 
to them, leaving fewer than 116,205 drivers likely to utilize this 
relief from the 30-minute rest break provision.
    The Agency explained in its document granting the waiver that 
section 345 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 (the 
NHS Act) (Pub. L. 104-69, 109 Stat. 613), enacted on November 28, 1995, 
implemented by 49 CFR 395.1(k), provided relief from the HOS 
requirements for drivers transporting agricultural commodities or farm 
supplies for agricultural purposes in a State if ``the transportation 
is limited to an area within a 100 air-mile radius from the source of 
the commodities or the distribution point for the farm supplies and is 
during the planting and harvesting seasons within such State, as 
determined by the State.''
    Section 32101(d) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st 
Century Act (MAP-21) (Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405), enacted on July 
6, 2012, expanded that 100 air-mile radius provided by the NHS Act to 
150 air miles; FMCSA implemented the provision with a final rule 
published on March 14, 2013 (78 FR 16189).
    In addition, section 32934 of MAP-21 provides statutory exemptions 
from most of the FMCSRs, including those pertaining to HOS, the 
commercial driver's license and driver qualification requirements, for 
drivers of ``covered farm vehicles'' (CFVs), a term defined in detail 
by MAP-21. Among other things, CFV drivers must be owners or operators 
of farms or ranches, or their employees or family members; for-hire 
motor carriers are not eligible for the exemptions provided by section 
32934. These exemptions are explained in the March 14, 2013, final rule 
mentioned above.
    While the 2013 analysis was targeted at estimating the population 
of carriers and drivers that would be covered by a livestock waiver 
from the 30-minute rest break requirement, the Agency believes a 
similar analysis looking at agricultural commodities in general would 
also show that the population likely to need relief from the ELD 
requirement during the 90-day waiver remains a small fraction of the 
motor carrier and driver populations subject to the ELD rule. Because 
of the urgency with which FMCSA must issue decisions on the matters 
discussed above, the Agency was unable to complete an up-to-date 
analysis of its MCMIS data before the March 18, 2018, expiration of the 
2017 waiver for the transportation of agricultural commodities. 
However, the Agency will complete that analysis of the MCMIS data 
within 30 days and place a copy in the docket referenced at the 
beginning of this notification.
    In addition to the 2013 data analysis, the Agency considered 
information reviewed in reaching a decision to grant a limited 90-day 
waiver from the HOS requirements for the distribution of an 
agricultural supply, anhydrous ammonia. The analysis was discussed in 
depth in an October 6, 2010, Federal Register document (75 FR 61626), 
granting the waiver, and in the Agency's 2017 document granting a 
limited 90-day waiver from the ELD requirements for motor carriers 
transporting agricultural commodities. The Agency continues to believe 
the study results are relevant to the discussion of temporary 
regulatory relief from the ELD requirements for the transportation of 
agricultural commodities.
    Although this study was conducted in 2010 and relied upon data from 
2005 through 2008, FMCSA has no reason to believe that the conclusions 
would be different if updated using more recent data. Although the 2010 
studies did not focus on benefits achieved by use of ELDS, given the 
limited population of

[[Page 12687]]

motor carriers affected by the waiver and the brief period of time a 
waiver is in effect, FMCSA believes that the level of safety maintained 
by transporters of agricultural commodities will be equivalent to the 
safety of operations that would be obtained absent the granting of a 
waiver.

FMCSA Determination

    Considering the above studies, the ongoing review of the public 
comments submitted in response to the proposed regulatory guidance on 
the agricultural commodities exception to the HOS rules, and the 
pending exemption requests from NPPC and ARA, FMCSA has determined that 
it is in the public interest to provide a limited waiver from the use 
of ELDs for interstate motor carriers engaged in the transportation of 
agricultural commodities as defined in 49 CFR 395.2. The Agency 
believes this matter requires a decision based on the best available 
data, albeit dated, rather than delaying a decision until a new study 
can be conducted. This waiver will allow FMCSA time to evaluate the HOS 
exception applicable to the transport of agricultural commodities and 
to review the concerns unique to the agricultural industry. FMCSA 
grants the waiver to all motor carriers transporting agricultural 
commodities.

Terms and Conditions of the Waiver

    (1) Duration of the waiver. This waiver is applicable March 18, 
2018, through June 18, 2018.
    (2) Motor carriers transporting agricultural commodities under the 
provisions of 49 CFR 395.1(k)(1), are exempt from the ELD requirements 
in 49 CFR 395.8(a) during the period of this waiver, regardless of the 
distance traveled.
    (3) Carriers operating under this waiver must comply with all other 
applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(49 CFR parts 390 through 399), including the preparation of records of 
duty status (RODS) for operations which are currently considered to be 
subject to the HOS rules and the record retention requirements 
associated with those RODS and supporting documents.
    (4) Motor carriers operating under this waiver must have a 
``satisfactory'' safety rating from FMCSA or be unrated; motor carriers 
with ``conditional'' or ``unsatisfactory'' safety ratings are 
prohibited from taking advantage of the waiver.
    (5) Drivers operating under this waiver must carry a copy of this 
Federal Register notification and present it to motor carrier safety 
enforcement officials upon request.
    (6) Crash Notification to FMCSA
    Carriers operating under this waiver must notify FMCSA within 5 
business days of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving 
any of the motor carrier's drivers operating under the terms of this 
waiver. The notification must include the following information:
    (a) Identity of Waiver: ``AG''
    (b) Date of the accident,
    (c) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
closest to the accident scene,
    (d) Driver's name and license number,
    (e) Co-driver's name and license number (if applicable),
    (f) Vehicle number and State license number,
    (g) Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
    (h) Number of fatalities,
    (i) The police-reported cause of the accident,
    (j) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
motor carrier safety regulations, and
    (k) The total driving time and total on-duty time period prior to 
the accident.
    Accident notifications must be emailed to [email protected].

Safety Considerations

    Considering the limited period of this waiver and that it does not 
alter any of the HOS regulations other than the method of recording 
HOS, and the Agency's previous review of data concerning the safety 
performance of motor carriers engaged in the transportation of 
agricultural commodities, the Agency has determined that the waiver 
from the ELD requirements for 90 days is likely achieve a level of 
safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved 
by the current regulation.
    FMCSA expects that any drivers and their employing motor carrier 
operating under the terms and conditions of the exemption will maintain 
their safety record. Should any safety problems be discovered, however, 
FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public interest. Use 
of this waiver is voluntary, and FMCSA will immediately revoke the 
waiver for any interstate driver or motor carrier for failure to comply 
with the terms and conditions of the waiver.

Preemption of State Requirements

    Consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), this waiver preempts 
inconsistent State or local requirements applicable to interstate 
commerce.

    Issued on: March 16, 2018.
Raymond P. Martinez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-05865 Filed 3-22-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P