Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference of American Trucking Associations Application for Exemption, 15279-15282 [2019-07437]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 72 / Monday, April 15, 2019 / Notices addresses the potential effects, if any, of the abandonment on the environment and historic resources. OEA will issue an environmental assessment (EA) by April 19, 2019. The EA will be available to interested persons on the Board’s website, by writing to OEA, or by calling OEA at (202) 245–0305. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Comments on environmental and historic preservation matters must be filed within 15 days after the EA becomes available to the public. Environmental, historic preservation, public use, or trail use/rail banking conditions will be imposed, where appropriate, in a subsequent decision. Pursuant to the provisions of 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), SGLR shall file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the Line. If consummation has not been effected by SGLR’s filing of a notice of consummation by April 15, 2020, and there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically expire. Board decisions and notices are available at www.stb.gov. Decided: April 9, 2019. By the Board, Allison C. Davis, Acting Director, Office of Proceedings. Raina Contee, Clearance Clerk. [FR Doc. 2019–07443 Filed 4–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Environmental Impact Statement: Strafford County, New Hampshire Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The FHWA is issuing this notice to advise the public that we are rescinding the Notice of Intent (NOI) for a highway project that was proposed to improve access to and from the Spaulding Turnpike (NH Route 16) to the tri-city areas of Dover, Somersworth and Rochester (Exit 10) in New Hampshire. The NOI was published in the Federal Register on June 5, 1995, with the intent to publish a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This rescission is based on a lack of available funding and project support within the New Hampshire State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) for the project, as originally proposed. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Apr 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Mr. Jamie Sikora, New Hampshire Division, Federal Highway Administration, 53 Pleasant Street, Suite 2200, Concord, New Hampshire 03301, Telephone: (603) 410–4870. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The FHWA, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), is rescinding the NOI for a proposal to improve access to and from the Spaulding Turnpike (NH Route 16) to the tri-city areas of Dover, Somersworth and Rochester (Exit 10) in New Hampshire. The NOI is being rescinded in large part due to funding constraints, which led to a reduction of scope to focus on the upgrade of NH Route 108 between the Cities of Dover and Rochester through the City of Somersworth. The current proposed actions would improve the capacity along NH Rte. 108 and incorporate community multi transportation needs (bicycle, pedestrian and public transit) within this section of these seacoast communities. NHDOT has recently solicited and engaged a consultant to complete design and environmental services to address the upgrade along NH Rte. 108. Through this process, NHDOT will enter into an expanded public outreach to solicit community input on the smaller scope ‘‘Complete Street Improvements’’ project through the Department’s Project Development process. Given the reduction in scope and the associated potential impacts of the proposed action, FHWA intends to prepare a lower-level NEPA document to determine if the project has the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment. If, at a future time, FHWA determines that the proposed action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, a new NOI to prepare an EIS will be published. SUPPLEMETARY INFORMATION: Issued on: April 9, 2019. Cynthia Vigue, Assistant Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Concord, New Hampshire. [FR Doc. 2019–07400 Filed 4–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15279 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2017–0319] Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference of American Trucking Associations Application for Exemption Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for exemption. AGENCY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces its decision to grant a limited 5-year exemption to the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of American Trucking Associations (ATA) to allow certain alternate methods for the securement of agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, as well as hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units. The Agency has determined that the use of certain alternate cargo securement methods will likely maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than the level of safety achieved without the exemption. This conclusion is based on the results of a comprehensive test program conducted by FMCSA in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Trucking Association. DATES: This exemption is effective April 15, 2019 and ending April 15, 2024. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC–PSV, (202) 366–0676, 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 notice requesting public comments on the exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov 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 online 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. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\15APN1.SGM 15APN1 15280 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 72 / Monday, April 15, 2019 / Notices Background Under 49 CFR part 381, FMCSA has authority to grant exemptions from some of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Pursuant to 49 CFR 381.315(a), FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register. The Agency must provide the public with 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)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption (up to 5 years) and explain its terms and conditions. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)). amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES AFTC’s Application for Exemption AFTC applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.102, 393.106, 393.110, and 393.114 to allow alternate methods for the securement of (1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. AFTC states that ‘‘For the past several years, Agricultural haulers in California have been utilizing annual exemptions granted by the CHP to continue to allow the use of previously existing cargo securement methods for hauling agricultural products. The California annual exemptions were granted because the strict application of the cargo securement requirements that FMCSA identified in a Final Rule in 2002 and became effective in 2004 would have resulted in a less secure agricultural commodity cargo securement environment.’’ In support of its application, AFTC states that ‘‘We are requesting this VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Apr 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 exemption after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) performed testing and evaluation of various methods utilized in securing a wide variety of agricultural products for transport that occurred in 2007 and 2008. Many cargo securement methods were tested including those used to secure plastic and wood bins, large fiberglass tubs, and hay and cotton bales. The study with FMCSA was a collaborative effort with the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Trucking Association and several of our carrier members.’’ A copy of the draft report has been included in the docket at the beginning of this notice. AFTC notes that the requested alternate securement methods for boxes, bins, and tubs are intended to apply only to the transportation of agricultural products from the field or storage to the first point of processing and the return or delivery of empty containers to field or storage location. Additionally, loads transported in vans or that are contained on four sides by racks, or for other than agricultural operation as described above must be transported in accordance with the general cargo securement rules of §§ 393.100–393.114. AFTC states ‘‘The reason for the requested variances is because these agricultural commodities are ‘grouped’ into larger singular ‘units’ and these larger grouped units of cargo behave differently when tested to the performance requirements under 49 CFR 393.102.’’ Without the proposed exemption, AFTC states that commercial motor vehicle operators nationwide would not be allowed to use the alternative cargo securement techniques that have been tested by the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) in cooperation with FMCSA and the California Highway Patrol, and that carriers in California would continue to request to operate under cargo securement exemptions from California that require less cargo securement than that proposed under the requested FMCSA exemption. The exemption would apply to all CMV operators nationwide that transport agricultural commodities in interstate commerce as described in the attachment to the exemption application which is available in the docket noted at the beginning of this document. Further AFTC notes that granting the exemption ‘‘will provide an increased level of safety as the alternate securement methods require more cargo securement than is currently required under the California exemptions the PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 industry has been operating under for the past few years.’’ Comments FMCSA published a notice of the application in the Federal Register on January 5, 2018, and asked for public comment (82 FR 28930). No comments were received. Background of Regulations On September 27, 2002, FMCSA published new cargo securement rules (67 FR 61212). The rules were based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulation, reflecting (1) the results of a multi-year research program to evaluate U.S. and Canadian cargo securement regulations; (2) the motor carrier industry’s best practices; and (3) recommendations presented during a series of public meetings involving U.S. and Canadian industry experts, Federal, State, and Provincial enforcement officials, and other interested parties. Motor carriers were required to comply with the new requirements beginning January 1, 2004. The cargo securement rules include general securement rules applicable to all types of articles or cargo, with certain exceptions (§§ 393.100–393.114), and commodity-specific rules for cargoes that require specialized means of securement (§§ 393.116–393.136). The commodity-specific requirements take precedence over the general rules for a commodity listed in those sections. This means all cargo securement systems must meet the general requirements, except to the extent a commodity-specific rule imposes additional requirements that prescribe in more detail the securement method to be used. Specifically with respect to AFTC’s exemption application, there are no commodity-specific rules applicable to the transportation of (1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, or (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units. Overview of Testing In response to concerns raised by shippers of agricultural commodities, FMCSA contracted with Volpe to develop a detailed test plan to determine if use of current State regulations and industry best practices are capable of meeting the minimum performance criteria of FMCSA’s September 2002 cargo securement final rule for the transportation of agricultural commodities and protection against shifting and falling agricultural cargo. Volpe conducted a nationwide review of State regulations and industry practices E:\FR\FM\15APN1.SGM 15APN1 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 72 / Monday, April 15, 2019 / Notices related to the transportation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, baled hay and straw, and other agricultural commodities by CMVs engaged in interstate and intrastate commerce. Most information was gathered from commercial agricultural commodity transport operations in California, Washington, Nevada, and New Mexico, and sources contacted included State farm bureaus, trucking associations, and State law enforcement agencies. On September 12–14, 2007, representatives from FMCSA and Volpe conducted site visits in California to inspect a variety of agricultural securement methods and gather firsthand information on how certain commodities are transported from the field to the processing plant. State and industry representatives contacted included the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the CHP, local farmers, and trucking companies. A series of full-scale tests was performed at the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Academy in West Sacramento between October 30, 2007, and November 8, 2007, to determine the adequacy of current industry practices when compared with the FMCSA cargo securement regulations. Existing State regulations and industry transportation methods were reviewed and tests were conducted simulating the minimum longitudinal and lateral acceleration and deceleration cargo securement performance requirements. Cargo securement methods were tested on plastic bins, wooden bins, fiberglass tomato tubs, small and big bales of hay, and cotton bales. The testing of the cargo securement systems was done by lifting a semitrailer to simulate the g forces that act on the cargo when the vehicle suddenly accelerates or decelerates or the lateral forces acting on the cargo when the trailer goes around a curve. Commercial semitrailers and semitrailers with converter dollies were used for each cargo securement method tested. The tests were conducted to compare the performance of the different securement methods with the minimum performance criteria identified in §§ 393.102(a)(1) and 393.102(a)(2) of the FMCSRs. During testing, strain-gaugebased load cells were installed to provide data on the loads applied to the cargo securement devices. An accelerometer was used to measure the angle to which each trailer was raised during test lifts. The load cells and accelerometer data output from each test configuration were recorded on a laptop computer. Three types of full-scale securement tests were performed with plastic and wooden fruit bins, tomato VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Apr 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 tubs, and cotton and hay bales to determine (1) coefficient of friction, (2) securement device tension, and (3) longitudinal and lateral acceleration and longitudinal deceleration. A summary of the findings of the testing is provided as follows: • The industry standard agricultural commodity cargo securement practices are effective in ‘‘unitizing’’ the individual components (hay bales, plastic/wood bins, cotton bales) into a single ‘‘unit’’ of cargo. The addition of welded or bolted blocking at the front of the trailer to inhibit the sudden movement of the ‘‘unitized’’ cargo during a hard brake application appears to be highly effective for plastic and wooden bins. The addition of a lateral cargo securement device generated significant improvement in the longitudinal and lateral cargo securement testing for maintaining the cargo on the trailer. • The best method for securing agricultural commodities hauled in plastic bins involves utilizing a combination of perimeter 3/8-inch wire rope tiedowns (previous industry standard practice) combined with corner irons, and in specific conditions lateral cargo securement devices were included to control lateral movement of the cargo. • The corner irons and wire rope technique serves to unitize the bins and reduce their movement as individual units. Additional blocking consisting of 2.5-inch angle iron secured with four 9/ 16-inch Grade 8 bolts was evaluated during testing to restrict movement of the cargo during longitudinal testing. Equivalent blocking techniques utilizing welding of blocking bars, or bars secured in stake pockets should be considered equally effective. • The addition of lateral cargo securement devices is necessary to minimize the amount of movement at the center of the unitized load. During longitudinal testing, it was shown that the Washington Wrap style of securement at the rear of the load can damage the structural integrity of the plastic bins. During lateral testing, it was shown that the Washington Wrap style of securement allowed significant lateral movement of the unitized load along almost the entire length of the trailer (which could adversely affect the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability in real-world driving conditions). • The industry practice of securing loads of cotton bales, while not tested, appeared to unitize the bales together, and wire rope was used longitudinally to secure the load, and the addition of 1⁄2-inch rope laterally was estimated to be sufficient to secure the cotton bales PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15281 to the trailer and meet the cargo securement performance requirements at 49 CFR 393.102. A copy of the full report is included in the docket. FMCSA Decision The FMCSA has evaluated the AFTC exemption application. The Agency believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow alternate methods for the securement of (1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units will likely provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. The testing of these cargo securement methods in 2007 and 2008 in collaboration with CHP, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Trucking Association and several member carriers of AFTC proved that the cargo securement performance requirements of 49 CFR 393.102 were met. FMCSA notes that the cargo securement techniques for large and small hay and straw bales, which were evaluated in the draft cargo securement testing report in the docket, were previously addressed in a ‘‘Technical Review of Industry Cargo Securement Practices for Baled Hay and Straw, Revision1,’’ dated July 7, 2008. A copy of the technical review has been included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. Terms and Conditions for the Exemption The Agency hereby grants the exemption from 49 CFR 393.102, 393.106, 393.110, and 393.114 to allow alternate methods for the securement of (1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units for a 5year period, beginning April 15, 2019 and ending April 15, 2024. During the temporary exemption period, motor carriers will be allowed to use the alternate methods for the securement of agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together in large singular units as proposed by AFTC in its exemption application. A copy of the alternate cargo securement methods that must be used by motor carriers during the exemption period has been placed in the docket noted at the beginning of this document, and is available on the FMCSA website at E:\FR\FM\15APN1.SGM 15APN1 15282 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 72 / Monday, April 15, 2019 / Notices www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ insert.specific.link.when.finalized. The exemption will be valid for 5 years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Motor carriers and/or commercial motor vehicles fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b). Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate that motor carriers using the alternate cargo securement methods for the securement of agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together in large singular units, are not achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any such information and, if safety is being compromised or if the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption. Preemption In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), as implemented by 49 CFR 381.600, during the period this exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation applicable to interstate commerce that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a firm or person operating under the exemption. States may, but are not required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in intrastate commerce. Issued on: April 9, 2019. Raymond P. Martinez, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–07437 Filed 4–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES [Docket No. FMCSA–2018–0299] Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; denial of application for exemption. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Apr 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 FMCSA announces its decision to deny the application of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for an exemption from the requirement that its drivers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record their hours of service (HOS). FCA requested the exemption for all its operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) including engineers, technicians, and other drivers who operate CMVs on public roads. FMCSA analyzed the exemption application and the single public comment submitted, and has determined that the applicant would not achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent the exemption. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Clemente, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202–366–2722. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). 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. FMCSA reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 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(a)). 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 FCA’s commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) include RAM trucks and other product families, which, when PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 configured with a trailer, have a gross combination weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds. When operated in interstate commerce, this subjects the company and its drivers to 49 CFR parts 300–399, including the hours-of-service (HOS) rules. Procedures and processes are in place to ensure that only FCA and supplier employees with an active driver qualification file operate these vehicles. In any given year, up to 100 FCA employees may be involved in driving its CMVs on product development off-site road trips. All of its engineers and technicians are infrequent drivers who, on average, drive fewer than 2,500 miles a year on public roads. Additionally, all Engineering Groups conduct off-site road trips to evaluate systems and components to support future product development activities. Including nonCMV support vehicles, FCA normally sends between 8 to 12 vehicles with 4 to 5 trailers. This type of trip would include up to 20 drivers (engineers and technicians) who possess either a commercial driver’s license or a chauffer’s license. Most road trips involve a smaller number of vehicles and drivers, and according to FCA, a significant amount of testing occurs while the vehicles are stationary. FCA’s product development activities encompass working with suppliers on validating engineering redesigns for future vehicles. FCA tests ‘‘next generation’’ vehicles against competing products from other original equipment manufacturers in dynamic settings. FCA estimates that 85% to 90% of such testing occurs on site at its facilities or proving grounds, and the remaining testing occurs off site on public roads. Specifically, FCA conducts tests to benchmark vehicles against competing brands, and some of these programs involve calibration and thermal validation of complete vehicle systems at various locations in the United States and Canada. On occasion, the instrumented vehicles and trailers are shipped to the off-site testing location, and on other occasions, FCA’s engineers, technicians and suppliers drive these vehicles to the off-site test locations. None of its CMVs are involved in package delivery or passenger transportation. FCA has already tested several portable electronic logging device (ELD) units and found that the devices interfere with the ability of FCA’s data loggers to capture high-speed data from vehicle control modules and networks for critical vehicle validation. Furthermore, the devices cause the logger to suspend all message transmissions in error. As a result of its E:\FR\FM\15APN1.SGM 15APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 72 (Monday, April 15, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15279-15282]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-07437]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0319]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Agricultural 
and Food Transporters Conference of American Trucking Associations 
Application for Exemption

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

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

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant a limited 5-year exemption to the 
Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of American 
Trucking Associations (ATA) to allow certain alternate methods for the 
securement of agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic 
boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, as well as hay, straw, and 
cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units. The 
Agency has determined that the use of certain alternate cargo 
securement methods will likely maintain a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption. This conclusion is based on the results of a comprehensive 
test program conducted by FMCSA in collaboration with the California 
Highway Patrol (CHP), the California Department of Food and Agriculture 
and the California Trucking Association.

DATES: This exemption is effective April 15, 2019 and ending April 15, 
2024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC-
PSV, (202) 366-0676, 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 notice requesting public comments on the 
exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov 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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 15280]]

Background

    Under 49 CFR part 381, FMCSA has authority to grant exemptions from 
some of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Pursuant 
to 49 CFR 381.315(a), FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register. The Agency must provide the public 
with 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)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason 
for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice 
must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and 
the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is 
granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption 
(up to 5 years) and explain its terms and conditions. The exemption may 
be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

AFTC's Application for Exemption

    AFTC applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.102, 393.106, 
393.110, and 393.114 to allow alternate methods for the securement of 
(1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and 
bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales 
that are grouped together into large singular units. A copy of the 
application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of 
this notice.
    AFTC states that ``For the past several years, Agricultural haulers 
in California have been utilizing annual exemptions granted by the CHP 
to continue to allow the use of previously existing cargo securement 
methods for hauling agricultural products. The California annual 
exemptions were granted because the strict application of the cargo 
securement requirements that FMCSA identified in a Final Rule in 2002 
and became effective in 2004 would have resulted in a less secure 
agricultural commodity cargo securement environment.''
    In support of its application, AFTC states that ``We are requesting 
this exemption after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 
(FMCSA) performed testing and evaluation of various methods utilized in 
securing a wide variety of agricultural products for transport that 
occurred in 2007 and 2008. Many cargo securement methods were tested 
including those used to secure plastic and wood bins, large fiberglass 
tubs, and hay and cotton bales. The study with FMCSA was a 
collaborative effort with the California Highway Patrol, California 
Department of Food and Agriculture, California Trucking Association and 
several of our carrier members.'' A copy of the draft report has been 
included in the docket at the beginning of this notice.
    AFTC notes that the requested alternate securement methods for 
boxes, bins, and tubs are intended to apply only to the transportation 
of agricultural products from the field or storage to the first point 
of processing and the return or delivery of empty containers to field 
or storage location. Additionally, loads transported in vans or that 
are contained on four sides by racks, or for other than agricultural 
operation as described above must be transported in accordance with the 
general cargo securement rules of Sec. Sec.  393.100-393.114. AFTC 
states ``The reason for the requested variances is because these 
agricultural commodities are `grouped' into larger singular `units' and 
these larger grouped units of cargo behave differently when tested to 
the performance requirements under 49 CFR 393.102.''
    Without the proposed exemption, AFTC states that commercial motor 
vehicle operators nationwide would not be allowed to use the 
alternative cargo securement techniques that have been tested by the 
John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) in 
cooperation with FMCSA and the California Highway Patrol, and that 
carriers in California would continue to request to operate under cargo 
securement exemptions from California that require less cargo 
securement than that proposed under the requested FMCSA exemption.
    The exemption would apply to all CMV operators nationwide that 
transport agricultural commodities in interstate commerce as described 
in the attachment to the exemption application which is available in 
the docket noted at the beginning of this document. Further AFTC notes 
that granting the exemption ``will provide an increased level of safety 
as the alternate securement methods require more cargo securement than 
is currently required under the California exemptions the industry has 
been operating under for the past few years.''

Comments

    FMCSA published a notice of the application in the Federal Register 
on January 5, 2018, and asked for public comment (82 FR 28930). No 
comments were received.

Background of Regulations

    On September 27, 2002, FMCSA published new cargo securement rules 
(67 FR 61212). The rules were based on the North American Cargo 
Securement Standard Model Regulation, reflecting (1) the results of a 
multi-year research program to evaluate U.S. and Canadian cargo 
securement regulations; (2) the motor carrier industry's best 
practices; and (3) recommendations presented during a series of public 
meetings involving U.S. and Canadian industry experts, Federal, State, 
and Provincial enforcement officials, and other interested parties. 
Motor carriers were required to comply with the new requirements 
beginning January 1, 2004.
    The cargo securement rules include general securement rules 
applicable to all types of articles or cargo, with certain exceptions 
(Sec. Sec.  393.100-393.114), and commodity-specific rules for cargoes 
that require specialized means of securement (Sec. Sec.  393.116-
393.136). The commodity-specific requirements take precedence over the 
general rules for a commodity listed in those sections. This means all 
cargo securement systems must meet the general requirements, except to 
the extent a commodity-specific rule imposes additional requirements 
that prescribe in more detail the securement method to be used. 
Specifically with respect to AFTC's exemption application, there are no 
commodity-specific rules applicable to the transportation of (1) 
agricultural commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins 
and large fiberglass tubs, or (2) hay, straw, and cotton bales that are 
grouped together into large singular units.

Overview of Testing

    In response to concerns raised by shippers of agricultural 
commodities, FMCSA contracted with Volpe to develop a detailed test 
plan to determine if use of current State regulations and industry best 
practices are capable of meeting the minimum performance criteria of 
FMCSA's September 2002 cargo securement final rule for the 
transportation of agricultural commodities and protection against 
shifting and falling agricultural cargo. Volpe conducted a nationwide 
review of State regulations and industry practices

[[Page 15281]]

related to the transportation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, baled hay 
and straw, and other agricultural commodities by CMVs engaged in 
interstate and intrastate commerce. Most information was gathered from 
commercial agricultural commodity transport operations in California, 
Washington, Nevada, and New Mexico, and sources contacted included 
State farm bureaus, trucking associations, and State law enforcement 
agencies.
    On September 12-14, 2007, representatives from FMCSA and Volpe 
conducted site visits in California to inspect a variety of 
agricultural securement methods and gather firsthand information on how 
certain commodities are transported from the field to the processing 
plant. State and industry representatives contacted included the 
California Department of Food and Agriculture, the CHP, local farmers, 
and trucking companies. A series of full-scale tests was performed at 
the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Academy in West Sacramento between 
October 30, 2007, and November 8, 2007, to determine the adequacy of 
current industry practices when compared with the FMCSA cargo 
securement regulations. Existing State regulations and industry 
transportation methods were reviewed and tests were conducted 
simulating the minimum longitudinal and lateral acceleration and 
deceleration cargo securement performance requirements. Cargo 
securement methods were tested on plastic bins, wooden bins, fiberglass 
tomato tubs, small and big bales of hay, and cotton bales.
    The testing of the cargo securement systems was done by lifting a 
semitrailer to simulate the g forces that act on the cargo when the 
vehicle suddenly accelerates or decelerates or the lateral forces 
acting on the cargo when the trailer goes around a curve. Commercial 
semitrailers and semitrailers with converter dollies were used for each 
cargo securement method tested. The tests were conducted to compare the 
performance of the different securement methods with the minimum 
performance criteria identified in Sec. Sec.  393.102(a)(1) and 
393.102(a)(2) of the FMCSRs. During testing, strain-gauge-based load 
cells were installed to provide data on the loads applied to the cargo 
securement devices. An accelerometer was used to measure the angle to 
which each trailer was raised during test lifts. The load cells and 
accelerometer data output from each test configuration were recorded on 
a laptop computer. Three types of full-scale securement tests were 
performed with plastic and wooden fruit bins, tomato tubs, and cotton 
and hay bales to determine (1) coefficient of friction, (2) securement 
device tension, and (3) longitudinal and lateral acceleration and 
longitudinal deceleration.
    A summary of the findings of the testing is provided as follows:
     The industry standard agricultural commodity cargo 
securement practices are effective in ``unitizing'' the individual 
components (hay bales, plastic/wood bins, cotton bales) into a single 
``unit'' of cargo. The addition of welded or bolted blocking at the 
front of the trailer to inhibit the sudden movement of the ``unitized'' 
cargo during a hard brake application appears to be highly effective 
for plastic and wooden bins. The addition of a lateral cargo securement 
device generated significant improvement in the longitudinal and 
lateral cargo securement testing for maintaining the cargo on the 
trailer.
     The best method for securing agricultural commodities 
hauled in plastic bins involves utilizing a combination of perimeter 3/
8-inch wire rope tiedowns (previous industry standard practice) 
combined with corner irons, and in specific conditions lateral cargo 
securement devices were included to control lateral movement of the 
cargo.
     The corner irons and wire rope technique serves to unitize 
the bins and reduce their movement as individual units. Additional 
blocking consisting of 2.5-inch angle iron secured with four 9/16-inch 
Grade 8 bolts was evaluated during testing to restrict movement of the 
cargo during longitudinal testing. Equivalent blocking techniques 
utilizing welding of blocking bars, or bars secured in stake pockets 
should be considered equally effective.
     The addition of lateral cargo securement devices is 
necessary to minimize the amount of movement at the center of the 
unitized load. During longitudinal testing, it was shown that the 
Washington Wrap style of securement at the rear of the load can damage 
the structural integrity of the plastic bins. During lateral testing, 
it was shown that the Washington Wrap style of securement allowed 
significant lateral movement of the unitized load along almost the 
entire length of the trailer (which could adversely affect the 
vehicle's stability or maneuverability in real-world driving 
conditions).
     The industry practice of securing loads of cotton bales, 
while not tested, appeared to unitize the bales together, and wire rope 
was used longitudinally to secure the load, and the addition of \1/2\-
inch rope laterally was estimated to be sufficient to secure the cotton 
bales to the trailer and meet the cargo securement performance 
requirements at 49 CFR 393.102.
    A copy of the full report is included in the docket.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated the AFTC exemption application. The Agency 
believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow alternate 
methods for the securement of (1) agricultural commodities transported 
in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) 
hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped together into large 
singular units will likely provide a level of safety that is equivalent 
to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption. The testing of these cargo securement methods in 2007 and 
2008 in collaboration with CHP, California Department of Food and 
Agriculture, California Trucking Association and several member 
carriers of AFTC proved that the cargo securement performance 
requirements of 49 CFR 393.102 were met. FMCSA notes that the cargo 
securement techniques for large and small hay and straw bales, which 
were evaluated in the draft cargo securement testing report in the 
docket, were previously addressed in a ``Technical Review of Industry 
Cargo Securement Practices for Baled Hay and Straw, Revision1,'' dated 
July 7, 2008. A copy of the technical review has been included in the 
docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption from 49 CFR 393.102, 
393.106, 393.110, and 393.114 to allow alternate methods for the 
securement of (1) agricultural commodities transported in wood and 
plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and (2) hay, straw, 
and cotton bales that are grouped together into large singular units 
for a 5-year period, beginning April 15, 2019 and ending April 15, 
2024. During the temporary exemption period, motor carriers will be 
allowed to use the alternate methods for the securement of agricultural 
commodities transported in wood and plastic boxes and bins and large 
fiberglass tubs, and hay, straw, and cotton bales that are grouped 
together in large singular units as proposed by AFTC in its exemption 
application. A copy of the alternate cargo securement methods that must 
be used by motor carriers during the exemption period has been placed 
in the docket noted at the beginning of this document, and is available 
on the FMCSA website at

[[Page 15282]]

www.fmcsa.dot.gov/insert.specific.link.when.finalized.
    The exemption will be valid for 5 years unless rescinded earlier by 
FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Motor carriers and/or 
commercial motor vehicles fail to comply with the terms and conditions 
of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of 
safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation 
of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives 
of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b).
    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that motor carriers using the alternate cargo securement methods for 
the securement of agricultural commodities transported in wood and 
plastic boxes and bins and large fiberglass tubs, and hay, straw, and 
cotton bales that are grouped together in large singular units, are not 
achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately 
notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any such information and, if 
safety is being compromised or if the continuation of the exemption is 
not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), will take 
immediate steps to revoke the exemption.

Preemption

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), as implemented by 49 CFR 
381.600, during the period this exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation applicable to interstate commerce that 
conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a 
firm or person operating under the exemption. States may, but are not 
required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in 
intrastate commerce.

    Issued on: April 9, 2019.
Raymond P. Martinez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-07437 Filed 4-12-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P