Commercial Driver's License Standards: Wilson Logistics, 11050-11052 [2021-03685]

Download as PDF 11050 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices As of January 15, 2021, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following two individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in the FMCSRs for interstate CMV drivers: Brian Porter (PA); and Michael W. Thomas (KS) The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA–2006–25854 and FMCSA–2010–0203. Their exemptions were applicable as of January 15, 2021, and will expire on January 15, 2023. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b), each exemption will be valid for 2 years from the effective date unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b). Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–03698 Filed 2–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0174] Commercial Driver’s License Standards: Wilson Logistics Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for exemption. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Wilson Logistics an exemption from the regulation that requires a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder operating a commercial moto vehicle (CMV) to be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder with the proper CDL class and endorsements, in the passenger seat. Wilson Logistics requested an exemption to allow CLP holders who have passed the CDL skills test, but have not yet obtained the CDL document from their State of domicile, to drive a CMV without having a CDL holder in the passenger seat. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 and conditions imposed, will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. DATES: This exemption is effective February 23, 2021 and expires February 23, 2026. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Clemente, Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards, FMCSA; Telephone: (202) 366–4225. 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: 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–2019–0174, 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 in person by visiting the Dockets Operations 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. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366–9317 or (202) 366–9826 before visiting Dockets Operations. II. Legal Basis FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b) to grant exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request. 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 decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application and, PO 00000 Frm 00132 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)). III. Request for Exemption The Agency’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations in 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) require that a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder always be accompanied by the holder of a valid CDL who has the proper CDL group and endorsement(s) necessary to operate the commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The CDL holder must be physically present in the front seat of the vehicle next to the CLP holder or, in the case of a passenger vehicle, directly behind or in the first row behind the driver and must have the CLP holder under observation and direct supervision. Wilson Logistics is a nationwide motor carrier with a fleet of over 700 CMVs seeking an exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) under which a CDL holder would remain in the vehicle— but not in the front seat—while a CLP holder who has passed the CDL skills test is driving. The carrier believes this would allow the CLP holder to participate more independently in a revenue-generating trip to obtain the CDL document from the State of domicile. Wilson Logistics advised that, if granted, 400–500 CLP holders would operate under the terms of the exemption each year. Wilson Logistics states that 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) creates undue burdens on the company and its CLP holders. The carrier noted that, previously: It was not uncommon for States to issue temporary CDLs to CLP holders for the return trip to collect the CDL document from their State of domicile. During that time, CDL holders were neither required to log themselves ‘on duty’ when supervising the CLP holder who had a temporary CDL, nor did they always remain in the passenger seat of the CMV. Under that scenario, the productivity of the CMV, the earnings capacity of the CDL and CLP holders, and the logistics of the motor carrier’s freight network were all protected. Currently carriers must assign a second CDL holder to the vehicle to accomplish the on-duty work that was previously performed by the CLP holder who had a temporary CDL. Wilson Logistics contends that compliance with the CDL rule leaves it with the following two options: (1) Secure some mode of public transportation from the State of training to the State of domicile to allow the CLP holder to pick up his/her CDL document E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices before returning to Wilson Logistics; or (2) route the team of drivers directly to the CLP holder’s State of domicile, often against the natural flow of the freight network. Securing public transportation for each of the CLP holders under the first option entails extreme cost burdens to the company; and the second option, according to Wilson Logistics, introduces extreme cost inefficiencies. The exemption sought would apply only to those Wilson Logistics drivers who have passed the CDL skills test and hold valid CLPs. IV. Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety Wilson Logistics has a companysponsored, hands on, on-the-job training program in which CLP holders will spend at least two or three weeks driving over-the-road with a CDL instructor in the passenger seat, and the instructor will supervise all driving and non-driving aspects of the job, including backing and vehicle inspections. Its CLP holders deliver actual loads to real customers on the Nation’s highways in all manner of weather and traffic conditions. They are trained on the obstacles of the job well in advance of taking their CDL skills test, and this type of training far better prepares the employees for every part of the job. If not allowed to run as a team, because the training instructor must sit in the passenger seat until the CLP holder can obtain the CDL document, then the truck can only ‘‘perform’’ at the level of a solo driver. In all aspects of their training program, Wilson Logistics ensures that its drivers are held to a higher standard and can therefore achieve a level of safety equal to or greater than the level of a typical new CDL holder. The company does and will provide the required training and recordkeeping to ensure that the equivalent-level-of-safety standard is upheld. V. Public Comments On November 6, 2019, FMCSA published notice of the Wilson Logistics application for exemption and requested public comment [84 FR 59761]. A total of 59 comments were filed, one from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and 58 from individuals. Six commenters, including TCA, favor granting the exemption request. TCA noted that the Agency had already granted a similar exemption to C.R. England. TCA added that the regulation creates an undue burden by restricting qualified drivers from piloting a CMV simply because they do not yet have a physical copy of their CDL, despite having passed all necessary written VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 exams and skills tests. TCA reiterated that the drivers covered by this exemption would have in their possession proof of having passed the skills test while on the road; if they had taken the skills test in their State of domicile, they would already have obtained their CDL license document. TCA stated that FMCSA should allow these drivers the flexibility to operate a CMV with a CDL holder present in the vehicle but not in the passenger seat while they are traveling to the CLP holder’s State of domicile to obtain that licensing document. Fifty-three individuals opposed the Wilson Logistics request. One stated that ‘‘Wilson Logistics is just looking to profit [from] this and seems not to care about the possible consequences of having a very inexperienced driver at the wheel while the trainer is asleep in the sleeper.’’ Other opponents said that the Wilson Logistics request does not meet a level of safety equivalent to the current regulations, and that it is primarily a profit-incentivized request. VI. FMCSA Decision and Safety Analysis FMCSA has evaluated Wilson Logistics’ application for exemption and the public comments. The Agency is not aware of data or information that would suggest that Wilson Logistics’ has lapses in its safety management controls, especially those involving its supervision of CMV drivers. Because the exemption is restricted to Wilson Logistics’ CLP holders who have documentation that they have passed the CDL skills test and could operate the CMV at any time upon receipt of the CDL document from the State of domicile, the Agency believes the exemption will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption (49 CFR 381.305(a)). The exemption will enable these drivers to operate a CMV as a team driver without requiring that the accompanying CDL holder be on duty and in the front seat while the vehicle is moving. Because these drivers have already met all the requirements for a CDL, but have yet to pick up the CDL document from their State of domicile, their safety performance is expected to be the same as any other newly-credentialed CDL holder. FMCSA has previously granted similar exemptions to C.R. England— initially in 2015, renewed in 2017 [82 FR 48889, October 20, 2017]—and to CRST—initially in 2016, and subsequently renewed in 2018 [83 FR 53149, October 19, 2018]. PO 00000 Frm 00133 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11051 A copy of Wilson Logistics’ application for exemption is available for review in the docket for this notice. VII. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption Extent of the Exemption The exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) will allow Wilson Logistics drivers who hold a CLP and have successfully passed a CDL skills test, to drive a CMV without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of the vehicle. The CDL holder must remain in the vehicle, but not in the front seat, at all times while the CLP holder is driving. The exemption is contingent upon Wilson Logistics maintaining USDOT registration, minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not being subject to any ‘‘imminent hazard’’ or other out-of-service (OOS) order issued by FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must maintain a valid driver’s license and CLP with the required endorsements, have in his or her possession documentation that he or she has passed the CDL skills test, not be subject to any OOS order or suspension of driving privileges, and meet all physical qualifications required by 49 CFR part 391. Preemption During the period this exemption is in effect no State may enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the exemption (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)). Notification to FMCSA Wilson Logistics must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any accidents (as defined by 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any of its CMVs while utilizing this exemption. The notification must include the following information: (a) Date of the accident; (b) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or which is closest to the scene of the accident; (c) Driver’s name and license number; (d) Vehicle number and State license number; (e) Number of individuals suffering physical injury; (f) Number of fatalities; (g) The police-reported cause of the accident; (h) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations; and (k) The driver’s total driving time and the total on-duty time of the CMV driver at the time of the accident. E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 11052 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices Reports filed under this provision shall be emailed to MCPSD@dot.gov. VIII. Termination The FMCSA does not believe the team drivers covered by the 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 revocation of the exemption. The FMCSA will immediately revoke the exemption for failure to comply with its terms and conditions. John W. Van Steenburg, Assistant Administrator. [FR Doc. 2021–03685 Filed 2–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA–2020–0159; Notice No. 2021–01] Hazardous Materials: Information Collection Activities Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, PHMSA invites comments on three information collections pertaining to hazardous materials transportation for which PHMSA intends to request renewal from the Office of Management and Budget. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before April 26, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Docket Number PHMSA–2020–0159 (Notice No. 2021– 01) by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Routing Symbol M–30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: To the Docket Management System; Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and Docket Number (PHMSA–2020–0159) for this notice at the beginning of the comment. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. All comments received will be posted without change to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) and will include any personal information you provide. Requests for a copy of an information collection should be directed to Steven Andrews or Shelby Geller, Standards and Rulemaking Division, (202) 366– 8553, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590– 0001. Docket: For access to the dockets to read background documents or comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov or DOT’s Docket Operations Office (see ADDRESSES). 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. Confidential Business Information: Confidential Business Information (CBI) is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this notice contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to this notice, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as ‘‘PROPIN.’’ PHMSA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this notice. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Steven Andrews or Shelby Geller, Standards and Rulemaking Division and addressed to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590– 0001 or to steven.andrews@dot.gov. Any commentary that PHMSA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this notice. PO 00000 Frm 00134 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Andrews or Shelby Geller, Standards and Rulemaking Division, (202) 366–8553, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 1320.8(d), title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) requires PHMSA to provide interested members of the public and affected agencies an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping requests. This notice identifies information collection requests that PHMSA will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for renewal and extension. These information collections are contained in 49 CFR 171.6 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171– 180). PHMSA has revised burden estimates, where appropriate, to reflect current reporting levels or adjustments based on changes in proposed or final rules published since the information collections were last approved. The following information is provided for each information collection: (1) Title of the information collection, including former title if a change is being made; (2) OMB control number; (3) summary of the information collection activity; (4) description of affected public; (5) estimate of total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden; and (6) frequency of collection. PHMSA will request a 3-year term of approval for each information collection activity and will publish a notice in the Federal Register upon OMB’s approval. PHMSA requests comments on the following information collections: Title: Cargo Tank Specification Requirements. OMB Control Number: 2137–0014. Summary: This information collection consolidates and describes the information collection provisions in parts 107, 178, and 180 of the HMR involving the manufacture, qualification, maintenance, and use of specification cargo tank motor vehicles. It also includes the information collection and recordkeeping requirements for persons who are engaged in the manufacture, assembly, requalification, and maintenance of DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles. The types of information collected include: (1) Registration Statements: Cargo tank manufacturers and repairers, as well as cargo tank motor vehicle assemblers, are required to be registered with DOT and must furnish information E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 34 (Tuesday, February 23, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11050-11052]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03685]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0174]


Commercial Driver's License Standards: Wilson Logistics

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant Wilson Logistics an 
exemption from the regulation that requires a commercial learner's 
permit (CLP) holder operating a commercial moto vehicle (CMV) to be 
accompanied by a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder with the 
proper CDL class and endorsements, in the passenger seat. Wilson 
Logistics requested an exemption to allow CLP holders who have passed 
the CDL skills test, but have not yet obtained the CDL document from 
their State of domicile, to drive a CMV without having a CDL holder in 
the passenger seat. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and 
the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to 
the terms and conditions imposed, will likely achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved absent such exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective February 23, 2021 and expires 
February 23, 2026.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Clemente, Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards, FMCSA; Telephone: (202) 366-4225. 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-2019-0174, 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 in person by visiting the Dockets Operations 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. To be sure 
someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-
9826 before visiting Dockets Operations.

II. Legal Basis

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b) to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs). FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must 
provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant 
to the application, including any safety analyses that have been 
conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public 
comment on the request.
    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 decision of 
the Agency 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 the exemption. The 
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

III. Request for Exemption

    The Agency's commercial driver's license (CDL) regulations in 49 
CFR 383.25(a)(1) require that a commercial learner's permit (CLP) 
holder always be accompanied by the holder of a valid CDL who has the 
proper CDL group and endorsement(s) necessary to operate the commercial 
motor vehicle (CMV). The CDL holder must be physically present in the 
front seat of the vehicle next to the CLP holder or, in the case of a 
passenger vehicle, directly behind or in the first row behind the 
driver and must have the CLP holder under observation and direct 
supervision.
    Wilson Logistics is a nationwide motor carrier with a fleet of over 
700 CMVs seeking an exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) under which a 
CDL holder would remain in the vehicle--but not in the front seat--
while a CLP holder who has passed the CDL skills test is driving. The 
carrier believes this would allow the CLP holder to participate more 
independently in a revenue-generating trip to obtain the CDL document 
from the State of domicile. Wilson Logistics advised that, if granted, 
400-500 CLP holders would operate under the terms of the exemption each 
year.
    Wilson Logistics states that 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) creates undue 
burdens on the company and its CLP holders. The carrier noted that, 
previously:

It was not uncommon for States to issue temporary CDLs to CLP 
holders for the return trip to collect the CDL document from their 
State of domicile. During that time, CDL holders were neither 
required to log themselves `on duty' when supervising the CLP holder 
who had a temporary CDL, nor did they always remain in the passenger 
seat of the CMV. Under that scenario, the productivity of the CMV, 
the earnings capacity of the CDL and CLP holders, and the logistics 
of the motor carrier's freight network were all protected. Currently 
carriers must assign a second CDL holder to the vehicle to 
accomplish the on-duty work that was previously performed by the CLP 
holder who had a temporary CDL.

    Wilson Logistics contends that compliance with the CDL rule leaves 
it with the following two options: (1) Secure some mode of public 
transportation from the State of training to the State of domicile to 
allow the CLP holder to pick up his/her CDL document

[[Page 11051]]

before returning to Wilson Logistics; or (2) route the team of drivers 
directly to the CLP holder's State of domicile, often against the 
natural flow of the freight network. Securing public transportation for 
each of the CLP holders under the first option entails extreme cost 
burdens to the company; and the second option, according to Wilson 
Logistics, introduces extreme cost inefficiencies. The exemption sought 
would apply only to those Wilson Logistics drivers who have passed the 
CDL skills test and hold valid CLPs.

IV. Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    Wilson Logistics has a company-sponsored, hands on, on-the-job 
training program in which CLP holders will spend at least two or three 
weeks driving over-the-road with a CDL instructor in the passenger 
seat, and the instructor will supervise all driving and non-driving 
aspects of the job, including backing and vehicle inspections. Its CLP 
holders deliver actual loads to real customers on the Nation's highways 
in all manner of weather and traffic conditions. They are trained on 
the obstacles of the job well in advance of taking their CDL skills 
test, and this type of training far better prepares the employees for 
every part of the job.
    If not allowed to run as a team, because the training instructor 
must sit in the passenger seat until the CLP holder can obtain the CDL 
document, then the truck can only ``perform'' at the level of a solo 
driver. In all aspects of their training program, Wilson Logistics 
ensures that its drivers are held to a higher standard and can 
therefore achieve a level of safety equal to or greater than the level 
of a typical new CDL holder. The company does and will provide the 
required training and recordkeeping to ensure that the equivalent-
level-of-safety standard is upheld.

V. Public Comments

    On November 6, 2019, FMCSA published notice of the Wilson Logistics 
application for exemption and requested public comment [84 FR 59761]. A 
total of 59 comments were filed, one from the Truckload Carriers 
Association (TCA) and 58 from individuals. Six commenters, including 
TCA, favor granting the exemption request. TCA noted that the Agency 
had already granted a similar exemption to C.R. England. TCA added that 
the regulation creates an undue burden by restricting qualified drivers 
from piloting a CMV simply because they do not yet have a physical copy 
of their CDL, despite having passed all necessary written exams and 
skills tests. TCA reiterated that the drivers covered by this exemption 
would have in their possession proof of having passed the skills test 
while on the road; if they had taken the skills test in their State of 
domicile, they would already have obtained their CDL license document. 
TCA stated that FMCSA should allow these drivers the flexibility to 
operate a CMV with a CDL holder present in the vehicle but not in the 
passenger seat while they are traveling to the CLP holder's State of 
domicile to obtain that licensing document. Fifty-three individuals 
opposed the Wilson Logistics request. One stated that ``Wilson 
Logistics is just looking to profit [from] this and seems not to care 
about the possible consequences of having a very inexperienced driver 
at the wheel while the trainer is asleep in the sleeper.'' Other 
opponents said that the Wilson Logistics request does not meet a level 
of safety equivalent to the current regulations, and that it is 
primarily a profit-incentivized request.

VI. FMCSA Decision and Safety Analysis

    FMCSA has evaluated Wilson Logistics' application for exemption and 
the public comments. The Agency is not aware of data or information 
that would suggest that Wilson Logistics' has lapses in its safety 
management controls, especially those involving its supervision of CMV 
drivers. Because the exemption is restricted to Wilson Logistics' CLP 
holders who have documentation that they have passed the CDL skills 
test and could operate the CMV at any time upon receipt of the CDL 
document from the State of domicile, the Agency believes the exemption 
will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, 
the level of safety achieved without the exemption (49 CFR 381.305(a)). 
The exemption will enable these drivers to operate a CMV as a team 
driver without requiring that the accompanying CDL holder be on duty 
and in the front seat while the vehicle is moving. Because these 
drivers have already met all the requirements for a CDL, but have yet 
to pick up the CDL document from their State of domicile, their safety 
performance is expected to be the same as any other newly-credentialed 
CDL holder.
    FMCSA has previously granted similar exemptions to C.R. England--
initially in 2015, renewed in 2017 [82 FR 48889, October 20, 2017]--and 
to CRST--initially in 2016, and subsequently renewed in 2018 [83 FR 
53149, October 19, 2018].
    A copy of Wilson Logistics' application for exemption is available 
for review in the docket for this notice.

VII. Terms and Conditions of the Exemption

Extent of the Exemption

    The exemption from 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) will allow Wilson Logistics 
drivers who hold a CLP and have successfully passed a CDL skills test, 
to drive a CMV without a CDL holder being present in the front seat of 
the vehicle. The CDL holder must remain in the vehicle, but not in the 
front seat, at all times while the CLP holder is driving. The exemption 
is contingent upon Wilson Logistics maintaining USDOT registration, 
minimum levels of public liability insurance, and not being subject to 
any ``imminent hazard'' or other out-of-service (OOS) order issued by 
FMCSA. Each driver covered by the exemption must maintain a valid 
driver's license and CLP with the required endorsements, have in his or 
her possession documentation that he or she has passed the CDL skills 
test, not be subject to any OOS order or suspension of driving 
privileges, and meet all physical qualifications required by 49 CFR 
part 391.

Preemption

    During the period this exemption is in effect no State may enforce 
any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with the 
exemption with respect to a person or entity operating under the 
exemption (49 U.S.C. 31315(d)).

Notification to FMCSA

    Wilson Logistics must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of any 
accidents (as defined by 49 CFR 390.5) involving the operation of any 
of its CMVs while utilizing this exemption. The notification must 
include the following information:
    (a) Date of the accident;
    (b) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or 
which is closest to the scene of the accident;
    (c) Driver's name and license number;
    (d) Vehicle number and State license number;
    (e) Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
    (f) Number of fatalities;
    (g) The police-reported cause of the accident;
    (h) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, 
or motor carrier safety regulations; and
    (k) The driver's total driving time and the total on-duty time of 
the CMV driver at the time of the accident.

[[Page 11052]]

    Reports filed under this provision shall be emailed to 
[email protected].

VIII. Termination

    The FMCSA does not believe the team drivers covered by the 
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 revocation of the exemption. The 
FMCSA will immediately revoke the exemption for failure to comply with 
its terms and conditions.

John W. Van Steenburg,
Assistant Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2021-03685 Filed 2-22-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P