Hours of Service of Drivers: PJ Helicopters, Inc.; Application for Exemption, 64397-64398 [2019-25336]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 225 / Thursday, November 21, 2019 / Notices back the same 100 miles). This would also mean that the CMV would continue to be driven by the driver most familiar with it, rather than a part-time driver. • Drivers would be less stressed, knowing that they have sufficient time to complete their weekly schedule even if they are delayed by heavy traffic, weather conditions, etc. A copy of Wolfe’s application for exemption is available for review in the docket for this notice. V. Public Comments On October 18, 2018, FMCSA published notice of this application and requested public comment (83 FR 52872). The Agency received two comments. Mr. Michael Millard wrote, ‘‘If the FMCSA considers approving the request there should be additional requirements to address training on driver fatigue so drivers and supervisors can recognize the symptoms and not allow drivers to violate Part 392.3 regarding ill or fatigued drivers. If the petition is approved the carrier should only be allowed to use the 34-hour restart once every six days.’’ Mr. Stanley Roberts stated that ‘‘If they get a waiver then there would have to be waivers for several industries and businesses. I contend that the majority of their work would be considered regional at best and that their drivers are close enough to make it home on 60-hr/ 7-day rules.’’ VI. FMCSA Decision FMCSA has evaluated Wolfe’s application and the public comments and decided to deny Wolfe’s exemption request to operate up to 70 hours in a 6-day period; the company does not operate CMVs on Sundays. Wolfe did not demonstrate how operating up to 70 hours within 6 consecutive days of operations (compared to the limit of 60 hours within 6 consecutive days of operations) would maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be achieved without the exemption [49 CFR 381.305(a)]. The company did not provide any countermeasures (e.g., additional off-duty time, etc.) to address the approximately 17 percent increase in the maximum amount of on-duty time that may be accumulated before driving is prohibited. Issued on: November 15, 2019. Jim Mullen, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–25330 Filed 11–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 20, 2019 Jkt 250001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0079] Hours of Service of Drivers: PJ Helicopters, Inc.; Application for Exemption Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; denial of application for exemption. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to deny PJ Helicopters, Inc.’s (PJH) request for an exemption from the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules for its ground support equipment operators. The requested exemption would have allowed PJH’s ground support equipment operators a 16-hour window within which to complete all driving, and enable these operators to use an 8consecutive hour off-duty break, combined with at least two other offduty hours during the 16-hour window within which driving would be completed, in lieu of taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. FMCSA analyzed the exemption application and public comments and 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 such 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: I. Public Participation Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, FMCSA–2019–0079, in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ button and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. PO 00000 Frm 00137 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 64397 II. Legal Basis FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (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 provide an opportunity for public comment on the request. The Agency 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). The Agency must publish its decision in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application, and if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is granted. The notice must specify the effective period (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 PJH’s exemption application states that the company has been serving the utility helicopter industry as an emergency response company for more than 45 years. Most of its customers are firefighting agencies, law enforcement agencies, and public utilities. PJH’s customers require timely responses and long hours when dealing with emergency-related incidents. PJH’s helicopters must be fueled and serviced in a timely fashion by its ground support crews. PJH requested an exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) and (2) for its ground support equipment operators. The requested exemption would apply to approximately 32 ground support equipment operators, each of whom possesses a commercial driver’s license with applicable endorsements, including the tank vehicle endorsement. PJH states that it is an emergency response company contracted to agencies focused on public safety and that there currently are no exemption provisions in the 49 CFR part 395 for private companies that assist in emergency efforts. PJH’s Federal and State government contracts specify that ground support equipment operators must be available for a maximum of 14 E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 64398 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 225 / Thursday, November 21, 2019 / Notices hours. At the end of the day, when the helicopter has finished flying, a mechanic must inspect and repair the aircraft as needed. With a long flight day and these added duties, a PJH mechanic will exceed the ‘‘14-hour rule’’ when traveling between the helicopter landing zone and the mechanic’s lodging. Without the requested 16-hour exemption, PJH’s ground crew must be released earlier to reach their lodging before reaching the 14-hour ‘‘driving window’’ limit, which decreases the availability of the aircraft by a minimum of 14 total hours each week. The second component of PJH’s exemption request is intended to work in conjunction with the first. It would allow ‘‘ground crew members’’ to take only 8, instead of 10, consecutive hours off duty before coming on duty again, provided they take at least 2 hours off duty during the prior 16-hour driving window PJH requested and are responding to or returning from an active incident as requested by an officer of a public agency or public utility. PJH estimates that its drivers would need to use this exemption, on average, once every two weeks during the months of April through October. The PJH application for exemption is filed in the docket for this notice. IV. Public Comments On March 29, 2019, FMCSA published notice of this application and requested public comments (84 FR 12018). The Agency received three comments. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) opposed this exemption, stating that the request is both unjustified and impractical. CVSA argued that the Federal HOS requirements exist to help prevent and manage driver fatigue and set forth a framework that, if followed, allows for drivers to get the rest necessary to operate their vehicles safely. CVSA argued that the Federal HOS requirements, if followed, allow drivers to get the rest necessary to operate their vehicles safely. Per CVSA, exemptions from Federal safety regulations have the potential to undermine safety while complicating the enforcement process. If granted, this exemption would place an excessive burden on the enforcement community and negatively impact safety. CVSA concluded its comment with an emphasis on PJH’s failure to meet a key component of a credible exemption request, i.e., to identify adequately how its drivers would maintain an equivalent level of safety while operating under extended HOS requirements. Two other comments VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 20, 2019 Jkt 250001 were filed by individuals—one favored the request, the other took no position either for or against the request. V. Equivalent Level of Safety To ensure an equivalent level of safety PJH is offering the use of electronic logging devices, at least 2 hours off-duty during the requested 16-hour period, and infrequent use of the exemption if granted. According to PJH drivers would need to use the exemption on average once every 2 weeks during the months of April through October. VI. FMCSA Response When the Agency established the rules mandating HOS, it relied upon research indicating that the rules improve CMV safety. These regulations put limits in place for when and how long an individual may drive to ensure that drivers stay awake and alert while driving and on a continuing basis to help reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. The PJH application does not provide an analysis of the safety impacts the requested exemption from the HOS regulations may cause. Additionally, it provides no countermeasures that PJH would undertake to ensure that the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the current regulations. Although the applicant is offering at least 2 hours off duty during the requested 16 hour on duty period, the applicant offered no data or information that would suggest that allowing a 16hour window for multiple consecutive days with only 8 hours off duty would achieve an equivalent level of safety. VII. FMCSA Decision FMCSA has reviewed PJH’s application and the public comments and has concluded that the requisite level of safety cannot be ensured, for the reasons discussed above. Accordingly, FMCSA denies the request for exemption. Issued on: November 15, 2019. Jim Mullen, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–25336 Filed 11–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P PO 00000 Frm 00138 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2018–0312] Hours of Service of Drivers: American Bakers Association and International Dairy Foods Association; Application for Exemption Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; denial of application for exemption. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to deny the joint request from the American Bakers Association (ABA) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) for an exemption from the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The requested exemption would have covered rivers engaged in the delivery of baked goods and milk products in anticipation of a natural disaster or emergency, such as extreme weather events, natural disasters, etc. FMCSA analyzed the application and public comments, and determined that drivers operating under the proposed exemption would not achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. SUMMARY: 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: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: I. Public Participation Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, FMCSA–2018–0312, in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ button and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 225 (Thursday, November 21, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64397-64398]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-25336]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0079]


Hours of Service of Drivers: PJ Helicopters, Inc.; Application 
for Exemption

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

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

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

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to deny PJ Helicopters, Inc.'s 
(PJH) request for an exemption from the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) 
rules for its ground support equipment operators. The requested 
exemption would have allowed PJH's ground support equipment operators a 
16-hour window within which to complete all driving, and enable these 
operators to use an 8-consecutive hour off-duty break, combined with at 
least two other off-duty hours during the 16-hour window within which 
driving would be completed, in lieu of taking 10 consecutive hours off 
duty. FMCSA analyzed the exemption application and public comments and 
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 such 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: [email protected]. If you 
have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to www.regulations.gov and insert 
the docket number, FMCSA-2019-0079, in the ``Keyword'' box and click 
``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and choose 
the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you 
may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility 
in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(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 provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
request.
    The Agency 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). The Agency must 
publish its decision in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with 
the reasons for denying or granting the application, and if granted, 
the name of the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and 
the regulatory provision from which the exemption is granted. The 
notice must specify the effective period (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

    PJH's exemption application states that the company has been 
serving the utility helicopter industry as an emergency response 
company for more than 45 years. Most of its customers are firefighting 
agencies, law enforcement agencies, and public utilities. PJH's 
customers require timely responses and long hours when dealing with 
emergency-related incidents. PJH's helicopters must be fueled and 
serviced in a timely fashion by its ground support crews. PJH requested 
an exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) and (2) for its ground support 
equipment operators.
    The requested exemption would apply to approximately 32 ground 
support equipment operators, each of whom possesses a commercial 
driver's license with applicable endorsements, including the tank 
vehicle endorsement. PJH states that it is an emergency response 
company contracted to agencies focused on public safety and that there 
currently are no exemption provisions in the 49 CFR part 395 for 
private companies that assist in emergency efforts. PJH's Federal and 
State government contracts specify that ground support equipment 
operators must be available for a maximum of 14

[[Page 64398]]

hours. At the end of the day, when the helicopter has finished flying, 
a mechanic must inspect and repair the aircraft as needed. With a long 
flight day and these added duties, a PJH mechanic will exceed the ``14-
hour rule'' when traveling between the helicopter landing zone and the 
mechanic's lodging. Without the requested 16-hour exemption, PJH's 
ground crew must be released earlier to reach their lodging before 
reaching the 14-hour ``driving window'' limit, which decreases the 
availability of the aircraft by a minimum of 14 total hours each week.
    The second component of PJH's exemption request is intended to work 
in conjunction with the first. It would allow ``ground crew members'' 
to take only 8, instead of 10, consecutive hours off duty before coming 
on duty again, provided they take at least 2 hours off duty during the 
prior 16-hour driving window PJH requested and are responding to or 
returning from an active incident as requested by an officer of a 
public agency or public utility.
    PJH estimates that its drivers would need to use this exemption, on 
average, once every two weeks during the months of April through 
October.
    The PJH application for exemption is filed in the docket for this 
notice.

IV. Public Comments

    On March 29, 2019, FMCSA published notice of this application and 
requested public comments (84 FR 12018). The Agency received three 
comments. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) opposed this 
exemption, stating that the request is both unjustified and 
impractical. CVSA argued that the Federal HOS requirements exist to 
help prevent and manage driver fatigue and set forth a framework that, 
if followed, allows for drivers to get the rest necessary to operate 
their vehicles safely. CVSA argued that the Federal HOS requirements, 
if followed, allow drivers to get the rest necessary to operate their 
vehicles safely. Per CVSA, exemptions from Federal safety regulations 
have the potential to undermine safety while complicating the 
enforcement process. If granted, this exemption would place an 
excessive burden on the enforcement community and negatively impact 
safety.
    CVSA concluded its comment with an emphasis on PJH's failure to 
meet a key component of a credible exemption request, i.e., to identify 
adequately how its drivers would maintain an equivalent level of safety 
while operating under extended HOS requirements. Two other comments 
were filed by individuals--one favored the request, the other took no 
position either for or against the request.

V. Equivalent Level of Safety

    To ensure an equivalent level of safety PJH is offering the use of 
electronic logging devices, at least 2 hours off-duty during the 
requested 16-hour period, and infrequent use of the exemption if 
granted. According to PJH drivers would need to use the exemption on 
average once every 2 weeks during the months of April through October.

VI. FMCSA Response

    When the Agency established the rules mandating HOS, it relied upon 
research indicating that the rules improve CMV safety. These 
regulations put limits in place for when and how long an individual may 
drive to ensure that drivers stay awake and alert while driving and on 
a continuing basis to help reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. 
The PJH application does not provide an analysis of the safety impacts 
the requested exemption from the HOS regulations may cause. 
Additionally, it provides no countermeasures that PJH would undertake 
to ensure that the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the 
current regulations.
    Although the applicant is offering at least 2 hours off duty during 
the requested 16 hour on duty period, the applicant offered no data or 
information that would suggest that allowing a 16-hour window for 
multiple consecutive days with only 8 hours off duty would achieve an 
equivalent level of safety.

VII. FMCSA Decision

    FMCSA has reviewed PJH's application and the public comments and 
has concluded that the requisite level of safety cannot be ensured, for 
the reasons discussed above. Accordingly, FMCSA denies the request for 
exemption.

    Issued on: November 15, 2019.
Jim Mullen,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-25336 Filed 11-20-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P