Hours of Service of Drivers: American Bakers Association and International Dairy Foods Association; Application for Exemption, 64398-64400 [2019-25337]

Download as PDF 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 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 225 / Thursday, November 21, 2019 / Notices 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’s decision must be published 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 also specify the effective period (up to 5 years) and explain the terms and conditions of an exemption. An exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)). III. Request for Exemption The American Bakers Association (ABA) represents the wholesale baking industry; the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) represents the dairy manufacturing and marketing industry. ABA/IDFA seek an exemption from the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3, ‘‘Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles,’’ for their drivers delivering ‘‘essential food staples,’’ particularly baked goods and milk products, in anticipation of natural disasters or other emergency conditions. The requested exemption would cover only the 72hour period in advance of, during, and shortly after the emergency condition, when ABA/IDFA claim the hours-ofservice (HOS) rules can be an unintended barrier to efficient disaster preparations and operations. The applicants indicated that disaster conditions would include the events listed in the definition of ‘‘Emergency’’ in 49 CFR 390.5 but be modified to encompass conditions that are expected but have not yet occurred. The exemption would apply 72-hours in advance of the time that a natural disaster or emergency is reasonably anticipated until a reasonable time after the disaster has ended. The applicants state that, although some element of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 20, 2019 Jkt 250001 reasonable judgment is necessarily inherent in this proposed approach, a definition that is tied to § 390.23 would defeat the purpose of the exemption by forcing suppliers to wait for the issuance of an official Declaration of Emergency by the President, State governors, or FMCSA, which would often leave insufficient lead time to avoid the depletion of the merchandise from the shelves. Accordingly, the requested exemption would allow suppliers to use reasonable judgment based on early warning announcements, such as hazardous weather announcements. Per ABA/IDFA, the best way to prepare for anticipated disasters or emergencies is to increase delivery runs ahead of the impending situation. In short, this exemption would allow suppliers of essential food staples to increase driving hours to pre-stock stores before an emergency made such deliveries more difficult or even impossible. The exemption would help avoid shortages of essential food staples at retail stores and food establishments that could otherwise result if deliveries are restricted by the generally applicable HOS rules in 49 CFR 395. The application for exemption is in the docket for this notice. IV. Public Comments On December 18, 2018, FMCSA published notice of this application and requested public comments (83 FR 64927). The Agency received 13 comments. Four commenters, including the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), opposed the exemption request. CVSA said it was both unjustified and impractical. Per CVSA, exemptions from Federal safety regulations have the potential to undermine safety while complicating the enforcement process. Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations exist to ensure that those operating in the transportation industry are equipped to do so safely. CVSA stated that, if granted, the exemption would burden the enforcement community excessively and impact safety negatively. CVSA added that exemptions cause confusion and inconsistency in enforcement, which undermines the very foundation of the Federal commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement program— uniformity. CVSA insisted that regulations are effective only if they are clear and enforceable. Four other commenters also opposed the application, indicating that the HOS ‘‘blanket’’ exemption requested by ABA/ IDFA is covered by 49 CFR 390.23, PO 00000 Frm 00139 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 64399 which provides regulatory relief for regional and local declared emergencies. Eight commenters supported the ABA/IDFA exemption. One said the following, ‘‘In the current driver shortage, finding the capacity to deliver our products is hard enough. Ahead of a storm, where the need for bread dramatically increases, increasing delivery capacity is nearly impossible. If this exemption were to be granted, these companies would be able to utilize this flexibility to keep up with demands for our food products. The exemption would not only help our company meet this increased demand, but would also dramatically increase roadway safety by reducing the number of driver who run out of hours in traffic.’’ V. FMCSA Response and Decision FMCSA has evaluated ABA/IDFA’s joint application and the public comments and decided to deny the exemption. 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 ABA/IDFA application provides neither an analysis of the potential safety impacts of the requested exemption nor countermeasures to be undertaken 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. In addition, comments received—most notably those comments from CVSA—opposed the granting of the exemption as it could cause confusion and undermine enforcement. The Agency cannot ensure that the exemption would achieve an equivalent level of safety for the following reasons: 1. The terms and conditions, as proposed in the application, would provide unlimited flexibility in: Driving more than 11-hours, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty; driving after the 14th hour of coming on duty; driving after accumulating 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days; accumulating less than 10 consecutive hours off duty following a work shift. The exemption would not include specific criteria controlling drivers’ work and rest schedules which makes it impossible to ensure there is an equivalent level of safety for drivers operating under the exemption. Also, the absence of specific criteria or terms E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 64400 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 225 / Thursday, November 21, 2019 / Notices means the exemption could not be enforced. 2. The exemption would allow unlimited flexibility based on weather or other conditions which may or may not result in an emergency declaration. Relief would be provided in anticipation of problems. In fact, ABA/ IDFA member companies would be allowed to determine whether the weather conditions warrant the use of the exemption based on their judgment or reasonable anticipation of the need for certain food products. Also, there would be no documentation clearly identifying which drivers are responding to the urgent need identified by the ABA/IDFA member companies. Enforcement officials would have no way of knowing whether a driver was operating under such an exemption except by asking him/her. FMCSA cannot delegate to private parties the inherently Federal authority to determine the applicability of an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. For the reasons discussed above, FMCSA denies the request for exemption. Issued on: November 14, 2019. Jim Mullen, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–25337 Filed 11–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2018–0347] Commercial Driver’s License Standards: Application for Exemption; Navistar, Inc. (Navistar) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; granting of application for exemption. AGENCY: I. Public Participation Viewing Comments and Documents FMCSA announces its decision to grant an exemption to Navistar, Inc. (Navistar) and two drivers from the commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, Mr. Thomas Nickels, Senior Vice President, Engineering Optimization, with MAN Truck & Bus SE (MAN) in Munich, Germany, and Mr. Lukas Walter, Senior Vice President, Engineering Powertrain for MAN, each of whom holds a valid German commercial license. MAN is partnering with Navistar to develop technological advancements in fuel economy and emissions reductions. Mr. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 20, 2019 Jkt 250001 Nickels and Mr. Walter need to test drive Navistar vehicles on U.S. roads to better understand product requirements in ‘‘real world’’ environments and verify results. Navistar believes that the requirements for a German commercial license ensure that operations under the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption. DATES: This exemption is effective November 21, 2019 and expires November 21, 2024. ADDRESSES: Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, 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 Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202–366–4325. 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: 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–2018–0347 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 00140 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 II. Legal Basis FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request. The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The Agency’s decision must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reason for the granting or denial, and, if granted, the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from which the exemption is granted. The notice must 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 Navistar has applied for an exemption for Mr. Thomas Nickels and Mr. Lukas Walter from 49 CFR 383.23, which prescribes licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in interstate or intrastate commerce. Both drivers are unable to obtain a CDL in any of the U.S. States due to their lack of residency in the United States. Copies of the exemption applications are included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. The exemption would allow these drivers to operate CMVs in interstate or intrastate commerce to help develop technology advancements in fuel economy and emissions reductions. Mr. Nickels and Mr. Walter need to drive Navistar vehicles on public roads to better understand product requirements for these systems in ‘‘real world’’ environments in the U.S. market. According to Navistar, both drivers will drive typically for no more than 8 hours per day for 2 consecutive days with 50 percent of the test driving on two-lane State highways and 50 percent on Interstate highways. The driving will consist of no more than 600 miles during a two-day period, at 300 miles per day. In all cases, drivers will be E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 225 (Thursday, November 21, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64398-64400]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-25337]


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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

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 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.

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-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.

[[Page 64399]]

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's 
decision must be published 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 also specify the effective period (up to 5 
years) and explain the terms and conditions of an exemption. An 
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

III. Request for Exemption

    The American Bakers Association (ABA) represents the wholesale 
baking industry; the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) 
represents the dairy manufacturing and marketing industry. ABA/IDFA 
seek an exemption from the provisions of 49 CFR 395.3, ``Maximum 
driving time for property-carrying vehicles,'' for their drivers 
delivering ``essential food staples,'' particularly baked goods and 
milk products, in anticipation of natural disasters or other emergency 
conditions. The requested exemption would cover only the 72-hour period 
in advance of, during, and shortly after the emergency condition, when 
ABA/IDFA claim the hours-of-service (HOS) rules can be an unintended 
barrier to efficient disaster preparations and operations.
    The applicants indicated that disaster conditions would include the 
events listed in the definition of ``Emergency'' in 49 CFR 390.5 but be 
modified to encompass conditions that are expected but have not yet 
occurred. The exemption would apply 72-hours in advance of the time 
that a natural disaster or emergency is reasonably anticipated until a 
reasonable time after the disaster has ended. The applicants state 
that, although some element of reasonable judgment is necessarily 
inherent in this proposed approach, a definition that is tied to Sec.  
390.23 would defeat the purpose of the exemption by forcing suppliers 
to wait for the issuance of an official Declaration of Emergency by the 
President, State governors, or FMCSA, which would often leave 
insufficient lead time to avoid the depletion of the merchandise from 
the shelves. Accordingly, the requested exemption would allow suppliers 
to use reasonable judgment based on early warning announcements, such 
as hazardous weather announcements. Per ABA/IDFA, the best way to 
prepare for anticipated disasters or emergencies is to increase 
delivery runs ahead of the impending situation.
    In short, this exemption would allow suppliers of essential food 
staples to increase driving hours to pre-stock stores before an 
emergency made such deliveries more difficult or even impossible. The 
exemption would help avoid shortages of essential food staples at 
retail stores and food establishments that could otherwise result if 
deliveries are restricted by the generally applicable HOS rules in 49 
CFR 395.
    The application for exemption is in the docket for this notice.

IV. Public Comments

    On December 18, 2018, FMCSA published notice of this application 
and requested public comments (83 FR 64927). The Agency received 13 
comments. Four commenters, including the Commercial Vehicle Safety 
Alliance (CVSA), opposed the exemption request. CVSA said it was both 
unjustified and impractical. Per CVSA, exemptions from Federal safety 
regulations have the potential to undermine safety while complicating 
the enforcement process. Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations exist to ensure 
that those operating in the transportation industry are equipped to do 
so safely. CVSA stated that, if granted, the exemption would burden the 
enforcement community excessively and impact safety negatively. CVSA 
added that exemptions cause confusion and inconsistency in enforcement, 
which undermines the very foundation of the Federal commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) enforcement program--uniformity. CVSA insisted that 
regulations are effective only if they are clear and enforceable.
    Four other commenters also opposed the application, indicating that 
the HOS ``blanket'' exemption requested by ABA/IDFA is covered by 49 
CFR 390.23, which provides regulatory relief for regional and local 
declared emergencies.
    Eight commenters supported the ABA/IDFA exemption. One said the 
following, ``In the current driver shortage, finding the capacity to 
deliver our products is hard enough. Ahead of a storm, where the need 
for bread dramatically increases, increasing delivery capacity is 
nearly impossible. If this exemption were to be granted, these 
companies would be able to utilize this flexibility to keep up with 
demands for our food products. The exemption would not only help our 
company meet this increased demand, but would also dramatically 
increase roadway safety by reducing the number of driver who run out of 
hours in traffic.''

V. FMCSA Response and Decision

    FMCSA has evaluated ABA/IDFA's joint application and the public 
comments and decided to deny the exemption. 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 ABA/IDFA application provides neither an analysis of the 
potential safety impacts of the requested exemption nor countermeasures 
to be undertaken 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. In addition, comments received--
most notably those comments from CVSA--opposed the granting of the 
exemption as it could cause confusion and undermine enforcement.
    The Agency cannot ensure that the exemption would achieve an 
equivalent level of safety for the following reasons:
    1. The terms and conditions, as proposed in the application, would 
provide unlimited flexibility in: Driving more than 11-hours, following 
10 consecutive hours off-duty; driving after the 14th hour of coming on 
duty; driving after accumulating 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive 
days, or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days; accumulating less than 
10 consecutive hours off duty following a work shift. The exemption 
would not include specific criteria controlling drivers' work and rest 
schedules which makes it impossible to ensure there is an equivalent 
level of safety for drivers operating under the exemption. Also, the 
absence of specific criteria or terms

[[Page 64400]]

means the exemption could not be enforced.
    2. The exemption would allow unlimited flexibility based on weather 
or other conditions which may or may not result in an emergency 
declaration. Relief would be provided in anticipation of problems. In 
fact, ABA/IDFA member companies would be allowed to determine whether 
the weather conditions warrant the use of the exemption based on their 
judgment or reasonable anticipation of the need for certain food 
products. Also, there would be no documentation clearly identifying 
which drivers are responding to the urgent need identified by the ABA/
IDFA member companies. Enforcement officials would have no way of 
knowing whether a driver was operating under such an exemption except 
by asking him/her. FMCSA cannot delegate to private parties the 
inherently Federal authority to determine the applicability of an 
exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
    For the reasons discussed above, FMCSA denies the request for 
exemption.

    Issued on: November 14, 2019.
Jim Mullen,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-25337 Filed 11-20-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P