Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Laydon Composites Ltd., 29784-29787 [2020-10593]

Download as PDF 29784 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 96 / Monday, May 18, 2020 / Notices will be required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty, like other drivers. An opportunity for 8 consecutive hours of sleep should eliminate the possibility of cumulative fatigue the next day. Although FMCSA believes the 14hour limit helps to reduce the risks of drivers operating while fatigued, the current HOS regulations allow shorthaul drivers, who are not required to possess a CDL, a 16-hour driving window once a week, providing certain conditions are met. The Agency believes that the requisite level of safety will be ensured by the limited amount of driving that takes place during any given work shift, combined with the frequent breaks from the time on task (driving) and continued compliance with the requirement for 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift. Furthermore, FMCSA conducted a comprehensive review of the motor carrier’s safety performance, which included a review of the Motor Carrier Management Information System safety records, and inspection and accident reports submitted to FMCSA by State agencies. Extreme Logistics possesses an active USDOT registration, minimum required levels of financial responsibility, and is not subject to an ‘‘imminent hazard’’ or other out-ofservice order. Finally, the carrier is not under investigation by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Agency within the Department responsible for the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations. The applicant has a ‘‘satisfactory’’ safety rating and a valid Hazardous Materials Safety Permit from FMCSA. In consideration of the above, FMCSA grants Extreme Logistics an exemption from the 14-hour rule covering June 28 through July 8, each year from 2020 to 2024. VII. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption Period of the Exemption The exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) is effective from 12:01 a.m. June 28 through 11:59 p.m. on July 8 local time, each year through 2024 for the drivers employed by the applicant. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Terms and Conditions of the Exemption Drivers covered by this exemption may exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14-hour limit. This exemption is limited to the drivers employed by Extreme Logistics. The conditions of this exemption are as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:03 May 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 • Drivers must not drive more than 11 hours after accumulating 14 hours of onduty time; • Drivers must have 10 consecutive hours off duty following 14 hours on duty prior to beginning a new driving period; • Extreme Logistics must maintain USDOT registration, a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (if required), and minimum levels of public liability insurance, and must not be subject to an ‘‘imminent hazard’’ or other out-ofservice (OOS) order issued by FMCSA; and • Each driver covered by the exemption must be in possession of the exemption document and maintain a valid CDL with required endorsements, not be subject to an OOS order or suspension of driving privileges, and meet all physical qualifications required by 49 CFR part 391. The carrier and drivers must comply with all other applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 350–399) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR parts 105–180). 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 adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in intrastate commerce. FMCSA Notification The applicant must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accident (as defined by 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of its CMVs while under this exemption. The notification must be emailed to MCPSD@DOT.GOV and include the following information: a. Name of the Exemption: ‘‘Extreme Logistics’’; b. Date of the accident; c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or which is closest to the scene of the accident; d. Driver’s name and driver’s license State, number, and class; e. Co-Driver’s name and driver’s license State, number, and class; f. Vehicle company number and power unit license plate State and number; g. Number of individuals suffering physical injury; h. Number of fatalities; i. The police-reported cause of the accident; PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 j. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations; and k. The total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV driver at the time of the accident. In addition, if there are any injuries or fatalities, the carrier must forward the police accident report to MCPSD@ DOT.GOV as soon as available. Termination The FMCSA does not believe the drivers covered by this exemption will experience any deterioration of their safety record. However, should this occur, FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public interest, including revoking the exemption. The FMCSA will revoke the exemption immediately for failure to comply with its terms and conditions. James A. Mullen, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2020–10590 Filed 5–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0070] Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Laydon Composites Ltd. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for exemption. AGENCY: The FMCSA announces its decision to grant Laydon Composites Ltd.’s (Laydon) application for a limited 5-year exemption to allow motor carriers to operate certain commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that are equipped with Laydon’s OptiTailTM aerodynamic device with rear identification lamps and rear clearance lamps that are mounted lower than currently permitted by the Agency’s regulations. The Agency has determined that locating the rear identification lamps and rear clearance lamps lower on the trailers and semitrailers, mounted at the same level as the stop lamps, tail lamps, and turn signals, will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. ´ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jose Cestero, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 96 / Monday, May 18, 2020 / Notices Driver & Vehicle Safety Standards, MC– PSV, (202) 366–5541; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Background Pursuant to 49 CFR part 381, FMCSA has authority 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 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(a)). 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 terms and conditions of the exemption, as well as its effective period (up to 5 years). The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)). Laydon’s Application for Exemption Laydon, on behalf of motor carriers utilizing its OptiTailTM aerodynamic devices, applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.11 to allow rear identification lamps and rear clearance lamps to be mounted lower than currently permitted by the Agency’s regulations. Table 1 of section 393.11, ‘‘Required lamps and reflectors on commercial motor vehicles,’’ specifies the requirements for lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment by type of CMV. All CMVs manufactured on or after December 25, 1968, must, at a minimum, meet the applicable requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, ‘‘Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment,’’ in effect at the time of manufacture of the vehicle. Rear identification lamps must be mounted as close as practicable to the top of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:03 May 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 vehicle. One lamp must be as close as practicable to the vertical centerline and one must be on each side of the center lamp, with the lamp centers spaced not less than 6 inches or more than 12 inches apart, and all on the same level. One rear clearance lamp must be located on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle to indicate overall width, and both of these lamps must be on the same level and as high as practicable. Laydon is wholly owned by WABCO Europe BVBA (i.e., private company with limited liability), with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Laydon and WABCO have developed a collapsible boat tail technology for trailers which improves the overall tractor trailer aerodynamic efficiency. Both OptiTailTM options, the fully automatic and manual versions, currently are installed on the rear doors of a CMV trailer with the upper panels below the trailer’s identification and clearance lamps. Laydon notes that installing the upper panels below the identification lights—about 1.25 to 3 inches below the trailer roof—is not the ideal aerodynamic condition, and that the upper panels could yield better aerodynamic flow characteristics if they were mounted flush with the trailer roof. However, mounting the upper panel of the OptiTailTM system flush with the roof will block full view of the trailer identification and clearance lights, in violation of section 393.11 of the FMCSRs. Laydon is requesting the exemption to allow trailers using its OptiTailTM system to have the required identification and clearance lights mounted lower than currently permitted, at the same location required for flatbed trailers and intermodal chassis. Laydon states that while it has conducted (1) computer simulation analysis, (2) scaled wind tunnel testing, and (3) full scale environmental testing of the flush roof mounted configuration, the temporary exemption is necessary to complete actual performance testing in full environmental conditions by various fleet operators located in multiple areas of the U.S. with different standard travel routes. In its application, Laydon states: The safety impact of the proposed 49 CFR 393.11 exemption would be similar to existing CMVs already in operation, provided the relocation or addition of lower level identification and clearance lamps are installed on the CMV. Assuming additional lamps are installed lower on the trailer and just not relocated, the improved OptiTailTM, auto version (AutoTail), would still have the existing centerline identification lamp and both clearance lamps visible when the trailer is traveling at slow speeds. Our AutoTail is PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29785 self-deploying and self-retracting. The AutoTail will remain retracted until the tractor reaches a speed of approximately 40 mph and remain open until the tractor reduces speed to approximately 6 mph. The AutoTail will continue to remain closed as long as the trailer does not exceed 40 mph. As a result, the current centerline identification and clearance lights would be visible when the tractor trailer is stopped at a traffic light or other slow speed road condition. We are not advocating that this is sufficient to allow the exemption without additional clearance and identification lamps installed lower on the trailer. All CMV trailers have conspicuity materials installed across the width of the trailer. These reflex reflectors will still be visible with the OptiTailTM deployed or retracted. Both the two clearance and three identification lights should be relocated or additionally added to the approximate horizontal plane with other rear lamps. These are generally regarded as the brake and running lamps. This location is the same as found on some CMVs, such as flatbed trailers, with or without ‘‘curtain sides’’ and intermodal chassis trailers. Laydon states that without the exemption, it will be unable to establish and verify the maximum fuel economy and environmental impacts of the OptiTailTM system, which could have long-term impacts on meeting future greenhouse gas or California Air Resources Board fuel economy requirements. Comments On March 28, 2019, FMCSA published a notice of the Laydon application (84 FR 11858). The Agency received one anonymous comment that was not relevant to the exemption application. FMCSA Analysis FMCSA agrees that it is important for motorists to be able readily to distinguish large trucks and trailers from other vehicles. FMVSS No. 108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs ensure this by requiring large vehicles to be equipped with a combination of lights, reflectors, and conspicuity treatments that help indicate the overall height, width, and length of these vehicles. Specifically, all CMVs manufactured on or after December 25, 1968, must, at a minimum, meet the applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 108 in effect at the time of manufacture of the vehicle. The purpose of FMVSS No. 108 is to reduce crashes and deaths and injuries from crashes, by providing adequate illumination of the roadway, and by enhancing the conspicuity of motor vehicles on the public roads so that their presence is perceived and their signals understood, both in daylight and in darkness or other conditions of reduced visibility. FMVSS E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 29786 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 96 / Monday, May 18, 2020 / Notices No. 108 specifies requirements for original and replacement lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment. The standard applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles. Specifically, with respect to clearance lamps and identification lamps, all (1) trucks and buses 80 inches or more in width, (2) semitrailers and full trailers 80 inches or more in width (except converter dollies), and (3) pole trailers must be equipped with: • Two red clearance lamps, one on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle, mounted as high as practicable to indicate the overall width of the vehicle; and • A group of three red identification lights on the rear of the vehicle, mounted as close as practicable to the top of the vehicle. One lamp is required to be mounted as close as practicable to the vertical centerline of the vehicle, and one on each side with lamp centers spaced not less than 6 inches or more than 12 inches apart. The grouping of three identification lamps on the top rear of large vehicles is intended to uniquely identify them with the longest sight preview possible. On February 5, 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a petition for rulemaking from Sierra Products, Inc. (Sierra), which—among other things— requested that NHTSA amend FMVSS No. 108 to require the identification lights to be mounted at eye height on heavy trucks (68 FR 5863). In denying Sierra’s petition, NHTSA stated ‘‘As the mounting height of identification lamps is lowered, the time that nearby drivers will have to identify the vehicle as a heavy truck will lessen. This is contrary to the intent of the requirement. On the other hand, the mounting height of identification lamps has been long established to be ‘‘as high as practicable.’’ This is to make nearby drivers aware of the vehicle’s size. If these lamps were lowered to eye level, approaching drivers may not be able to distinguish large commercial vehicles from passenger vehicles.’’ [Emphasis added.] Notwithstanding the above, the three identification lamps are not the only means by which drivers are ‘‘able to distinguish large commercial vehicles from passenger vehicles,’’ as stated in NHTSA’s denial of the petition from Sierra. While FMCSA agrees that mounting identification lamps ‘‘as high as practicable’’ provides approaching motorists maximum time to identify a CMV, and that lowering the mounting location of the identification lamps VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:03 May 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 reduces that time, FMVSS No. 108 (and, by incorporation, section 393.11 of the FMCSRs) also requires the rear of all trailers and semitrailers to be equipped with conspicuity materials (a strip of alternating red and white retroreflective sheeting or reflex reflectors) installed across both: (1) The full width of the trailer, as close to the extreme edges as practicable, and as close as practicable to a position not less than 375 mm (14.77 in) and not more than 1525 mm (60.05 in) above the road surface at the centerline with the trailer at curb weight, and (2) The full width of the horizontal member of the rear underride protection device required by FMVSS No. 224, ‘‘Rear impact protection.’’ The horizontal member is required to extend to within 100 mm (4 in) of the side extremity of the vehicle, and be located not more than 560 mm (20.05 in) above the ground at any point. The presence of these two separate conspicuity treatments on the rear of all trailers and semitrailers, consisting of alternating red and white retroreflective material or reflex reflectors, serves as a clear indication to the motoring public that the vehicle is a large commercial vehicle as opposed to a passenger car. While these conspicuity treatments are not located at or near the very top of the trailer or semitrailer, FMCSA believes they provide a very distinctive visual pattern on the rear of trailers and semitrailers that easily enables motorists to be aware that they are approaching a large vehicle. It is important to note that Laydon is proposing that the required clearance and identification lights be relocated lower on vehicles using the aerodynamic devices, and is not simply requesting an exemption from the regulation because the required lights are obscured by the device. FMCSA believes that relocating the lamps to a lower position is an acceptable approach and ensures an equivalent level of safety for two reasons. First, as Laydon notes in its application, FMVSS No. 108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs permit the clearance and identification lamps to be mounted lower on flatbed trailers and intermodal chassis simply because there is no other way to mount the lamps due to the vehicle designs. FMCSA does not believe that locating the clearance and identification lamps in the same manner on trailers and semitrailers using Laydon’s aerodynamic devices will pose an unreasonable risk, especially given the conspicuity requirements discussed above. Second, S6.2.2 of FMVSS No. 108 directly addresses vehicle designs PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 when required lamps or reflective devices are obscured by motor vehicle equipment such as ‘‘mirrors, snow plows, wrecker booms, backhoes, winches,’’ and also including Laydon’s aerodynamic devices. In these instances, S6.2.2 of FMVSS No. 108 requires the vehicle to ‘‘be equipped with an additional lamp or device of the same type which meet[s] all applicable requirements of this standard, including photometry and visibility.’’ This is exactly what Laydon is proposing to do—to install the same clearance and identification lamps, but in a lower position on the vehicle. Some fleets and small-scale operators may not have the technical expertise to move the identification and clearance lamps to a lower position. FMCSA notes, however, that it is the responsibility of each motor carrier to ensure that its vehicles fully comply with the FMCSRs at all times (see 49 CFR 393.1(c)), and this includes the terms and conditions of this temporary exemption. As such, if a motor carrier chooses to use Laydon’s device, it must ensure that the required lights are properly moved and are fully operational at all times. While FMVSS No. 108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs require the two conspicuity treatments to be installed on the rear of trailers and semitrailers, neither of the conspicuity treatments is required to be installed on single unit trucks (box trucks). For this reason, FMCSA believes that it is appropriate to limit the use of Laydon’s aerodynamic device, when mounted at the top of the vehicle and obscuring the clearance and identification lights, to trailers and semitrailers only at this time. FMCSA Decision FMCSA has evaluated the Laydon exemption application. The Agency believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow rear identification lamps and rear clearance lamps to be located lower on trailers and semitrailers, mounted at the same level as the stop lamps, tail lamps, and turn signals, will likely maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. Granting the exemption will also be consistent with the Agency’s February 14, 2018, decision to grant an exemption for motor carriers using a similar aerodynamic device manufactured by STEMCO LP (83 FR 6718). Terms and Conditions for the Exemption The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a five-year period, E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 96 / Monday, May 18, 2020 / Notices beginning May 18, 2020 and ending May 19, 2025. During the temporary exemption period, motor carriers will be allowed to mount Laydon’s OptiTailTM aerodynamic device at the top of trailers and semitrailers, provided that the rear clearance and identification lights are mounted at the same level as the stop lamps, tail lamps, and turn signals. The exemption will be valid for five years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Motor carriers and/or CMVs 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 CFR part 381. Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate that motor carriers using trailers or semitrailers with Laydon’s OptiTailTM aerodynamic device 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 CFR part 381, 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. James A. Mullen, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2020–10593 Filed 5–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: This notice announces final environmental actions taken by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The purpose of this notice is to announce publicly the environmental SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:03 May 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 decisions by FTA on the subject project and to activate the limitation on any claims that may challenge these final environmental actions. DATES: By this notice, FTA is advising the public of final agency actions subject to 23 U.S.C. 139(l). A claim seeking judicial review of FTA actions announced herein for the listed public transportation project will be barred unless the claim is filed on or before October 15, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy-Ellen Zusman, Assistant Chief Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, (312) 353–2577 or Saadat Khan, Environmental Protection Specialist, Office of Environmental Programs, (202) 366–9647. FTA is located at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given that FTA has taken final agency actions by issuing certain approvals for the public transportation project listed below. The actions on the project, as well as the laws under which such actions were taken, are described in the documentation issued in connection with the project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and in other documents in the FTA environmental project file for the project. Interested parties may contact either the project sponsor or the relevant FTA Regional Office for more information. Contact information for FTA’s Regional Offices may be found at https://www.fta.dot.gov. This notice applies to all FTA decisions on the listed project as of the issuance date of this notice and all laws under which such actions were taken, including, but not limited to, NEPA [42 U.S.C. 4321–4375], Section 4(f) requirements [23 U.S.C. 138, 49 U.S.C. 303], Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act [54 U.S.C. 306108], Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 [33 U.S.C. 403], Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1251] and the Clean Air Act [42 U.S.C. 7401– 7671q]. This notice does not, however, alter or extend the limitation period for challenges of project decisions subject to previous notices published in the Federal Register. The project and actions that are the subject of this notice follow: Project name and location: NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System Project, Kearny and Jersey City, New Jersey. Project Sponsor: New Jersey Transit Corporation, Newark, New Jersey. Project description: The project consists of a central, natural gas-fired power PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29787 plant and transmission lines to traction power substations that electrify the tracks and operating controls on portions of the NJ Transit and Amtrak systems, the installation of up to 19.6 miles of new electrical lines, the construction of two new electrical substations in Kearny and Jersey City, NJ, and the installation of emergency generators at HBLR Headquarters in Jersey City, NJ. Final agency action: Section 4(f) individual use determination; executed Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, dated January 16, 2020; NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System Combined Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)/Record of Decision (ROD), dated April 15, 2020. Supporting Documentation: NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), dated, May 8, 2019. The Combined FEIS/ROD and associated documents can be viewed and downloaded from: https://njtransitresilienceprogram.com/ documents/combined-finalenvironmental-impact-statementrecord-of-decision/. Authority: 23 U.S.C. 139(l)(1). Mark A. Ferroni, Deputy Associate Administrator for Planning and Environment. [FR Doc. 2020–10505 Filed 5–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS [OMB Control No. 2900–0559] Agency Information Collection Activity: State Cemetery Data Sheet and Cemetery Grant Documents National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each revised collection allow 30 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on information needed to determine when to begin development of additional acreage for burial space and, in so doing, to anticipate when to provide money to SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 96 (Monday, May 18, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29784-29787]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-10593]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0070]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application 
for an Exemption From Laydon Composites Ltd.

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

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

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

SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces its decision to grant Laydon Composites 
Ltd.'s (Laydon) application for a limited 5-year exemption to allow 
motor carriers to operate certain commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that 
are equipped with Laydon's OptiTail\TM\ aerodynamic device with rear 
identification lamps and rear clearance lamps that are mounted lower 
than currently permitted by the Agency's regulations. The Agency has 
determined that locating the rear identification lamps and rear 
clearance lamps lower on the trailers and semitrailers, mounted at the 
same level as the stop lamps, tail lamps, and turn signals, will 
maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety achieved without the exemption.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jos[eacute] Cestero, Vehicle and 
Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier,

[[Page 29785]]

Driver & Vehicle Safety Standards, MC-PSV, (202) 366-5541; Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Pursuant to 49 CFR part 381, FMCSA has authority 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 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(a)).
    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 terms and 
conditions of the exemption, as well as its effective period (up to 5 
years). The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 
381.300(b)).

Laydon's Application for Exemption

    Laydon, on behalf of motor carriers utilizing its OptiTail\TM\ 
aerodynamic devices, applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.11 to 
allow rear identification lamps and rear clearance lamps to be mounted 
lower than currently permitted by the Agency's regulations.
    Table 1 of section 393.11, ``Required lamps and reflectors on 
commercial motor vehicles,'' specifies the requirements for lamps, 
reflective devices, and associated equipment by type of CMV. All CMVs 
manufactured on or after December 25, 1968, must, at a minimum, meet 
the applicable requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 108, ``Lamps, reflective devices, and associated 
equipment,'' in effect at the time of manufacture of the vehicle. Rear 
identification lamps must be mounted as close as practicable to the top 
of the vehicle. One lamp must be as close as practicable to the 
vertical centerline and one must be on each side of the center lamp, 
with the lamp centers spaced not less than 6 inches or more than 12 
inches apart, and all on the same level. One rear clearance lamp must 
be located on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle to 
indicate overall width, and both of these lamps must be on the same 
level and as high as practicable.
    Laydon is wholly owned by WABCO Europe BVBA (i.e., private company 
with limited liability), with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Laydon 
and WABCO have developed a collapsible boat tail technology for 
trailers which improves the overall tractor trailer aerodynamic 
efficiency. Both OptiTail\TM\ options, the fully automatic and manual 
versions, currently are installed on the rear doors of a CMV trailer 
with the upper panels below the trailer's identification and clearance 
lamps. Laydon notes that installing the upper panels below the 
identification lights--about 1.25 to 3 inches below the trailer roof--
is not the ideal aerodynamic condition, and that the upper panels could 
yield better aerodynamic flow characteristics if they were mounted 
flush with the trailer roof. However, mounting the upper panel of the 
OptiTail\TM\ system flush with the roof will block full view of the 
trailer identification and clearance lights, in violation of section 
393.11 of the FMCSRs.
    Laydon is requesting the exemption to allow trailers using its 
OptiTail\TM\ system to have the required identification and clearance 
lights mounted lower than currently permitted, at the same location 
required for flatbed trailers and intermodal chassis. Laydon states 
that while it has conducted (1) computer simulation analysis, (2) 
scaled wind tunnel testing, and (3) full scale environmental testing of 
the flush roof mounted configuration, the temporary exemption is 
necessary to complete actual performance testing in full environmental 
conditions by various fleet operators located in multiple areas of the 
U.S. with different standard travel routes.
    In its application, Laydon states:

    The safety impact of the proposed 49 CFR 393.11 exemption would 
be similar to existing CMVs already in operation, provided the 
relocation or addition of lower level identification and clearance 
lamps are installed on the CMV. Assuming additional lamps are 
installed lower on the trailer and just not relocated, the improved 
OptiTail\TM\, auto version (AutoTail), would still have the existing 
centerline identification lamp and both clearance lamps visible when 
the trailer is traveling at slow speeds. Our AutoTail is self-
deploying and self-retracting. The AutoTail will remain retracted 
until the tractor reaches a speed of approximately 40 mph and remain 
open until the tractor reduces speed to approximately 6 mph. The 
AutoTail will continue to remain closed as long as the trailer does 
not exceed 40 mph. As a result, the current centerline 
identification and clearance lights would be visible when the 
tractor trailer is stopped at a traffic light or other slow speed 
road condition. We are not advocating that this is sufficient to 
allow the exemption without additional clearance and identification 
lamps installed lower on the trailer. All CMV trailers have 
conspicuity materials installed across the width of the trailer. 
These reflex reflectors will still be visible with the OptiTail\TM\ 
deployed or retracted. Both the two clearance and three 
identification lights should be relocated or additionally added to 
the approximate horizontal plane with other rear lamps. These are 
generally regarded as the brake and running lamps. This location is 
the same as found on some CMVs, such as flatbed trailers, with or 
without ``curtain sides'' and intermodal chassis trailers.

    Laydon states that without the exemption, it will be unable to 
establish and verify the maximum fuel economy and environmental impacts 
of the OptiTailTM system, which could have long-term impacts 
on meeting future greenhouse gas or California Air Resources Board fuel 
economy requirements.

Comments

    On March 28, 2019, FMCSA published a notice of the Laydon 
application (84 FR 11858). The Agency received one anonymous comment 
that was not relevant to the exemption application.

FMCSA Analysis

    FMCSA agrees that it is important for motorists to be able readily 
to distinguish large trucks and trailers from other vehicles. FMVSS No. 
108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs ensure this by requiring large 
vehicles to be equipped with a combination of lights, reflectors, and 
conspicuity treatments that help indicate the overall height, width, 
and length of these vehicles. Specifically, all CMVs manufactured on or 
after December 25, 1968, must, at a minimum, meet the applicable 
requirements of FMVSS No. 108 in effect at the time of manufacture of 
the vehicle. The purpose of FMVSS No. 108 is to reduce crashes and 
deaths and injuries from crashes, by providing adequate illumination of 
the roadway, and by enhancing the conspicuity of motor vehicles on the 
public roads so that their presence is perceived and their signals 
understood, both in daylight and in darkness or other conditions of 
reduced visibility. FMVSS

[[Page 29786]]

No. 108 specifies requirements for original and replacement lamps, 
reflective devices, and associated equipment. The standard applies to 
passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, 
trailers, and motorcycles.
    Specifically, with respect to clearance lamps and identification 
lamps, all (1) trucks and buses 80 inches or more in width, (2) 
semitrailers and full trailers 80 inches or more in width (except 
converter dollies), and (3) pole trailers must be equipped with:
     Two red clearance lamps, one on each side of the vertical 
centerline of the vehicle, mounted as high as practicable to indicate 
the overall width of the vehicle; and
     A group of three red identification lights on the rear of 
the vehicle, mounted as close as practicable to the top of the vehicle. 
One lamp is required to be mounted as close as practicable to the 
vertical centerline of the vehicle, and one on each side with lamp 
centers spaced not less than 6 inches or more than 12 inches apart.
    The grouping of three identification lamps on the top rear of large 
vehicles is intended to uniquely identify them with the longest sight 
preview possible. On February 5, 2003, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a petition for rulemaking from 
Sierra Products, Inc. (Sierra), which--among other things--requested 
that NHTSA amend FMVSS No. 108 to require the identification lights to 
be mounted at eye height on heavy trucks (68 FR 5863). In denying 
Sierra's petition, NHTSA stated ``As the mounting height of 
identification lamps is lowered, the time that nearby drivers will have 
to identify the vehicle as a heavy truck will lessen. This is contrary 
to the intent of the requirement. On the other hand, the mounting 
height of identification lamps has been long established to be ``as 
high as practicable.'' This is to make nearby drivers aware of the 
vehicle's size. If these lamps were lowered to eye level, approaching 
drivers may not be able to distinguish large commercial vehicles from 
passenger vehicles.'' [Emphasis added.]
    Notwithstanding the above, the three identification lamps are not 
the only means by which drivers are ``able to distinguish large 
commercial vehicles from passenger vehicles,'' as stated in NHTSA's 
denial of the petition from Sierra. While FMCSA agrees that mounting 
identification lamps ``as high as practicable'' provides approaching 
motorists maximum time to identify a CMV, and that lowering the 
mounting location of the identification lamps reduces that time, FMVSS 
No. 108 (and, by incorporation, section 393.11 of the FMCSRs) also 
requires the rear of all trailers and semitrailers to be equipped with 
conspicuity materials (a strip of alternating red and white 
retroreflective sheeting or reflex reflectors) installed across both:
    (1) The full width of the trailer, as close to the extreme edges as 
practicable, and as close as practicable to a position not less than 
375 mm (14.77 in) and not more than 1525 mm (60.05 in) above the road 
surface at the centerline with the trailer at curb weight, and
    (2) The full width of the horizontal member of the rear underride 
protection device required by FMVSS No. 224, ``Rear impact 
protection.'' The horizontal member is required to extend to within 100 
mm (4 in) of the side extremity of the vehicle, and be located not more 
than 560 mm (20.05 in) above the ground at any point.
    The presence of these two separate conspicuity treatments on the 
rear of all trailers and semitrailers, consisting of alternating red 
and white retroreflective material or reflex reflectors, serves as a 
clear indication to the motoring public that the vehicle is a large 
commercial vehicle as opposed to a passenger car. While these 
conspicuity treatments are not located at or near the very top of the 
trailer or semitrailer, FMCSA believes they provide a very distinctive 
visual pattern on the rear of trailers and semitrailers that easily 
enables motorists to be aware that they are approaching a large 
vehicle.
    It is important to note that Laydon is proposing that the required 
clearance and identification lights be relocated lower on vehicles 
using the aerodynamic devices, and is not simply requesting an 
exemption from the regulation because the required lights are obscured 
by the device. FMCSA believes that relocating the lamps to a lower 
position is an acceptable approach and ensures an equivalent level of 
safety for two reasons. First, as Laydon notes in its application, 
FMVSS No. 108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs permit the clearance and 
identification lamps to be mounted lower on flatbed trailers and 
intermodal chassis simply because there is no other way to mount the 
lamps due to the vehicle designs. FMCSA does not believe that locating 
the clearance and identification lamps in the same manner on trailers 
and semitrailers using Laydon's aerodynamic devices will pose an 
unreasonable risk, especially given the conspicuity requirements 
discussed above. Second, S6.2.2 of FMVSS No. 108 directly addresses 
vehicle designs when required lamps or reflective devices are obscured 
by motor vehicle equipment such as ``mirrors, snow plows, wrecker 
booms, backhoes, winches,'' and also including Laydon's aerodynamic 
devices. In these instances, S6.2.2 of FMVSS No. 108 requires the 
vehicle to ``be equipped with an additional lamp or device of the same 
type which meet[s] all applicable requirements of this standard, 
including photometry and visibility.'' This is exactly what Laydon is 
proposing to do--to install the same clearance and identification 
lamps, but in a lower position on the vehicle.
    Some fleets and small-scale operators may not have the technical 
expertise to move the identification and clearance lamps to a lower 
position. FMCSA notes, however, that it is the responsibility of each 
motor carrier to ensure that its vehicles fully comply with the FMCSRs 
at all times (see 49 CFR 393.1(c)), and this includes the terms and 
conditions of this temporary exemption. As such, if a motor carrier 
chooses to use Laydon's device, it must ensure that the required lights 
are properly moved and are fully operational at all times.
    While FMVSS No. 108 and section 393.11 of the FMCSRs require the 
two conspicuity treatments to be installed on the rear of trailers and 
semitrailers, neither of the conspicuity treatments is required to be 
installed on single unit trucks (box trucks). For this reason, FMCSA 
believes that it is appropriate to limit the use of Laydon's 
aerodynamic device, when mounted at the top of the vehicle and 
obscuring the clearance and identification lights, to trailers and 
semitrailers only at this time.

FMCSA Decision

    FMCSA has evaluated the Laydon exemption application. The Agency 
believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow rear 
identification lamps and rear clearance lamps to be located lower on 
trailers and semitrailers, mounted at the same level as the stop lamps, 
tail lamps, and turn signals, will likely maintain a level of safety 
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved 
without the exemption. Granting the exemption will also be consistent 
with the Agency's February 14, 2018, decision to grant an exemption for 
motor carriers using a similar aerodynamic device manufactured by 
STEMCO LP (83 FR 6718).

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a five-year period,

[[Page 29787]]

beginning May 18, 2020 and ending May 19, 2025. During the temporary 
exemption period, motor carriers will be allowed to mount Laydon's 
OptiTail\TM\ aerodynamic device at the top of trailers and 
semitrailers, provided that the rear clearance and identification 
lights are mounted at the same level as the stop lamps, tail lamps, and 
turn signals. The exemption will be valid for five years unless 
rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) 
Motor carriers and/or CMVs 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 CFR part 381.
    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that motor carriers using trailers or semitrailers with Laydon's 
OptiTail\TM\ aerodynamic device 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 CFR 
part 381, 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.

 James A. Mullen,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2020-10593 Filed 5-15-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P