Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Waste Management Inc., 3166-3169 [2022-01023]

Download as PDF 3166 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 13 / Thursday, January 20, 2022 / Notices The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA–2013–0123, FMCSA– 2014–0104, FMCSA–2017–0058, FMCSA–2018–0139, FMCSA–2019– 0111, or FMCSA–2019–0112. Their exemptions are applicable as of February 14, 2022 and will expire on February 14, 2024. As of February 19, 2022, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following nine individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the hearing requirement in the FMCSRs for interstate CMV drivers: Wyatt Baldwin (NV) Richard Davis (OH) Adam Hayes (CA) Adrian Lopez (TX) Jeffrey Schulkers (KY) Jason Thomas (TX) Joshua J. Tinley (AZ) Roderick Thomas (GA) Kerri Wright (OK) The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA–2014–0385, FMCSA– 2016–0003, or FMCSA–2017–0057. Their exemptions are applicable as of February 19, 2022 and will expire on February 19, 2024. lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 V. Conditions and Requirements The exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions: (1) Each driver must report any crashes or accidents as defined in § 390.5; and (2) report all citations and convictions for disqualifying offenses under 49 CFR 383 and 49 CFR 391 to FMCSA; and (3) each driver prohibited from operating a motorcoach or bus with passengers in interstate commerce. The driver must also have a copy of the exemption when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. In addition, the exemption does not exempt the individual from meeting the applicable CDL testing requirements. Each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was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 before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b). VI. Preemption During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with this exemption with respect to a person operating under the exemption. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jan 19, 2022 Jkt 256001 VII. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 17 exemption applications, FMCSA renews the exemptions of the aforementioned drivers from the hearing requirement in § 391.41 (b)(11). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2022–00987 Filed 1–19–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2021–0059] Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Waste Management Inc. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of exemption. AGENCY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces its decision to grant the limited 5-year exemption requested by Waste Management Inc. (Waste Management) to allow all of its operating companies, which currently number 106, to replace the highmounted brake lights on their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks with red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The Agency has determined that granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided by the regulation. DATES: This exemption is effective January 20, 2022 and ending January 20, 2027. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jose´ R. Cestero, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC–PSV, (202) 366–5541, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590– 0001. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments submitted to notice requesting public comments on the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Dockets Operations, 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. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366–9317 or (202) 366–9826 before visiting Dockets Operations. The on-line Federal document management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain parts of the 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 and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)). Waste Management’s Application for Exemption Section 393.25(e) of the FMCSRs requires all exterior lamps (both required lamps and any additional lamps) to be steady-burning, except turn signal lamps, hazard warning signal lamps, school bus warning lamps, amber warning lamps or flashing warning lamps on tow trucks and commercial motor vehicles (CMV) transporting oversized loads, and warning lamps on emergency and service vehicles authorized by State or local authorities. Waste Management applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.25(e) to E:\FR\FM\20JAN1.SGM 20JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 13 / Thursday, January 20, 2022 / Notices allow all of its operating companies, which currently number 106, to replace the rear high-mounted brake lights with red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps required by the FMCSRs. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. Waste Management contended that the addition of brake-activated pulsating lamps would improve safety and stated that research shows that pulsating brake lamps installed improve visibility and prevent rear end accidents. Waste Management noted that FMCSA has previously granted similar, but not identical, temporary exemptions to the National Tank Truck Carriers Inc. (NTTC), (85 FR 63643), Grote Industries, LLC. (Grote), (85 FR 78918). Inc. (Grote), and Groendyke Transport Inc. (Groendyke) (84 FR 17910). Waste Management included in the application several studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), another agency in the U.S. Department of Transportation, on the issues of rear-end crashes, distracted driving, and braking signals. Waste Management stated that the addition of brake-activated pulsating lamp(s) will not have an adverse impact on safety, and that adherence to the terms and conditions of the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety achieved without the exemption. lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 Comments FMCSA published a notice of the application in the Federal Register on June 3, 2021 and asked for public comment (86 FR 29876). The Agency received comments from the Transportation Safety Equipment Institute (TSEI), the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), the Florida Highway Patrol-Bureau of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (FHP), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the National Waste Recycling Association (NWRA), and from 18 other stakeholders and individuals. Twenty of the 23 comments favored the exemption application. NWRA and TSEI supported granting the application. CVSA supported the use of amber brake-activated warning lamps, but was opposed to the use of red brake-activated pulsating warning lamps. Florida Highway Patrol expressed concern regarding the use of red brake-activated pulsating warning lamps because traffic approaching from VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jan 19, 2022 Jkt 256001 the rear might confuse the flashing red lights with law enforcement vehicles. NWRA supports the Waste Management application, noting that the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Injuries classified 40 of the 70 fatal incidents for waste and remediation services as transportation incidents. NWRA also provided research data from a report 1 noting that flashing brake systems and flashing hazard systems reduced drivers’ brake response times by 0.14–0.62 seconds, and 0.03–0.95 seconds respectively, while flashing amber lamps reduced drivers’ brake response times by 0.11 seconds on average compared with red lamps. NWRA noted that the requested exemption should not only improve the safety for Waste Management’s workers, but also improve the overall safety of the motoring public. TSEI acknowledged the safety benefits of brake-activated warning lamps when used in conjunction with steady burning red brake lamps and identified its support of previous exemption requests for Groendyke, NTTC, and Grote. TSEI stated that it does not believe the Agency should grant the temporary exemption to Waste Management to allow brake-activated required lamps to pulsate without a thorough consideration of safety data and research with the aim of setting standards to ensure consistency across all vehicles equipped with such lamps. NTEA expressed concern that some NTEA members are manufacturers and alterers of motor vehicles that receive requests from commercial motor vehicle fleets to install brake-activated pulsating warning lamps on certain new vehicles they construct or modify. As manufacturers of new motor vehicles, NTEA members are required to certify these vehicles to applicable NHTSA Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). NTEA noted that FMCSA does not have the authority to exempt manufacturers of commercial motor vehicles from their obligation to certify compliance with affected FMVSS. NTEA noted that FMCSA temporary exemptions for brake-activated warning lamps are narrowly restricted to motor carriers making the exempted modification to their own vehicles. CVSA stated that the Agency should allow motor carriers to equip commercial motor vehicles with amber brake-activated pulsating lights, but is opposed to red brake-activated pulsating lights. CVSA and FHP noted that pulsating red lights are typically associated with law enforcement or 1 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1155/ 2014/792670. PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3167 emergency vehicles. Allowing red pulsating lamps on the rear of commercial motor vehicles may negatively impact the driving public’s recognition and response to emergency vehicles. Further, many States have laws prohibiting nonemergency vehicles from having pulsating red lights. Eighteen stakeholders and individuals submitted comments in support of granting the exemption. These commenters believe that any technology that has been shown to reduce rear end crashes should be allowed and cited various benefits of brake-activated pulsating lamps, including (1) enhanced awareness that the vehicle is making a stop, especially at railroad crossings, and (2) increased visibility in severe weather conditions. FMCSA Decision The FMCSA has evaluated the Waste Management exemption application and the comments received. The Agency believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow its operating companies to replace the high-mounted brake lights on their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks with red or amber brakeactivated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), will likely provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. Rear-end crashes generally account for approximately 30 percent of all crashes. These types of crashes often result from a failure to respond (or delays in responding) to a stopped or decelerating lead vehicle. Data between 2010 and 2016 show that large trucks are consistently three times more likely than other vehicles to be struck in the rear in two-vehicle fatal crashes.2 3 Both FMCSA and NHTSA have conducted research regarding alternative rear signaling systems to address rear-end crashes. FMCSA has conducted research and development of an Enhanced Rear Signaling (ERS) 2 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2012), Traffic Safety Facts—2010 Data; Large Trucks, Report No. DOT HS 811 628, Washington, DC (June 2012). 3 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2018), Traffic Safety Facts—2016 Data; Large Trucks, Report No. DOT HS 812 497, Washington, DC (May 2018). E:\FR\FM\20JAN1.SGM 20JAN1 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 3168 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 13 / Thursday, January 20, 2022 / Notices system for CMVs.4 The study noted that, while brake lights are activated only with the service brakes, and the visual warning is provided only during conditions when the lead vehicle is decelerating using its braking system, brake lights are not activated during other conditions when rear-end collisions can occur (e.g., when the CMV is (1) stopped along the roadway or in traffic, (2) traveling slower, or (3) decelerating using an engine retarder). Because of the limitations of the existing brake system described above, along with issues relating to visual distraction, the study examined ways for CMVs to detect rear-end crash threats and to provide drivers of following vehicles a supplemental visual warning—located on the lead vehicle, and in addition to the current brake lights—so followingvehicle drivers can quickly recognize impending collision threats. During Phase I of this effort, researchers performed crash database analyses to determine causal factors of rear-end collisions and to identify potential countermeasures. Phase II continued through prototype development based on recommendations from Phase I. During Phase II field testing, potential benefits of using such countermeasures were realized. During Phase III, a multiphased approach was executed to design, develop, and test multiple types of countermeasures on a controlled test track and on public highways. Phase III yielded positive results for a rearwarning prototype system comprising 12 light-emitting diode (LED) units that would flash at 5 Hz to provide a visual warning to the following-vehicle drivers indicating that, with continued closing rate and distance, a collision will occur with the lead vehicle. Finally, the prototype system was further developed and refined to include modification of the system into a unit designed for simple CMV installation, collisionwarning activation refinements, and rear-lighting brightness adjustments for nighttime conditions. Formal closed test-track and real-world testing were then performed to determine the ERS system collision-warning activation performance. While the efforts described above demonstrated a promising system for follow-on research, FMCSA ultimately decided not to pursue formal field operational testing of the prototype system because of concerns relating to 4 U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2014), Expanded Research and Development of an Enhanced Rear Signaling System for Commercial Motor Vehicles, Report No. FMCSA–RRT–13–009, Washington, DC (April 2014). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jan 19, 2022 Jkt 256001 (1) the cost to implement the ERS system as configured, and (2) fleets’ willingness to invest in the technology, given the cost of the system. Nonetheless, the preliminary research showed that the ERS system performed well at detecting and signaling rear-end crash threats and drawing the gaze of following-vehicle drivers to the forward roadway which, if implemented, could potentially reduce the number and frequency of rear-end crashes into CMVs. Separately, NHTSA has performed a series of research studies intended to develop and evaluate rear-signaling applications designed to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes via enhancements to rear-brake lighting by redirecting drivers’ visual attention to the forward roadway (for cases involving a distracted driver), and/or increasing the saliency or meaningfulness of the brake signal (for inattentive drivers).5 6 Initially, the study quantified the attention-getting capability and discomfort glare of a set of candidate rear brake lighting configurations, using driver judgments, as well as eyedrawing metrics. This study served to narrow the set of candidate lighting configurations to those that would most likely be carried forward for additional on-road study. Both look-up (eyedrawing) data and interview data supported the hypothesis that simultaneous flashing of all rear lighting combined with increased brightness would be effective in redirecting the driver’s eyes to the lead vehicle when the driver is looking away with tasks that involve visual load. Subsequently, the study quantified the attention-getting capability of a set of candidate rear brake lighting configurations, including proposed approaches from automotive companies. This study was conducted to provide data for use in a simulation model to assess the effectiveness and safety benefits of enhanced rear brake light countermeasures. Among other things, this research demonstrated that flashing all lights simultaneously or alternately flashing is a promising signal for use in 5 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2009), Traffic Safety Facts—Vehicle Safety Research Notes; Assessing the Attention-Gettingness of Brake Signals: Evaluation of Optimized Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals; Report No. DOT HS 811 129, Washington, DC (May 2009). 6 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2010), Traffic Safety Facts—Vehicle Safety Research Notes; Assessing the Attention-Getting Capability of Brake Signals: Evaluation of Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals and Features; Report No. DOT HS 811 330, Washington, DC (June 2010). PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 enhanced brake light applications, even at levels of brightness within the current regulated limits. Specifically, the study concluded that substantial performance gains may be realized by increasing brake-lamp brightness levels under flashing configurations; however, increases beyond a certain brightness threshold will not return substantive performance gains. Both FMCSA and NHTSA have conducted extensive research and development programs to examine alternative rear-signaling systems to reduce the incidence of rear-end crashes. However, while these efforts concluded that improvements could be realized through rear-lighting systems that flash, neither the FMCSRs nor the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) currently permit the use of pulsating, brake-activated lamps on the rear of CMVs. With respect to the use of amber lights, NHTSA has conducted research on the effectiveness of rear turn signal color on the likelihood of being involved in a rear-end crash.7 FMVSS No. 108 allows rear turn signals to be either red or amber in color. The study concluded that amber signals show a 5.3 percent effectiveness in reducing involvement in two-vehicle crashes where a lead vehicle is rear-struck in the act of turning left, turning right, merging into traffic, changing lanes, or entering/ leaving a parking space. The advantage of amber, compared to red, rear turn signals was shown to be statistically significant. FMCSA acknowledges the concern of NTEA that FMCSA has the authority to grant the temporary exemption only to motor carriers and not to commercial motor vehicle manufacturers or vehicle alterers. FMCSA has met with NHTSA to discuss research avenues that would support NHTSA updates to 49 CFR 571.108—Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment, such that the commercial motor vehicle manufacturers would be able to install brake activated warning light systems for which FMCSA has already granted temporary exemptions to motor carriers. FMCSA believes that the FMCSA and NHTSA research programs demonstrating the ability of alternative rear-signaling systems to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes, are sufficient to conclude that implementation of red or amber brake activated pulsating lamps is likely to provide a level of safety that 7 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2009), The Effectiveness of Amber Rear Turn Signals for Reducing Rear Impacts; Report No. DOT HS 811 115, Washington, DC (April 2009). E:\FR\FM\20JAN1.SGM 20JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 13 / Thursday, January 20, 2022 / Notices is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. FMCSA acknowledges the concerns of FHP and CVSA that flashing, rotating, or pulsating red lamps are generally permitted only on emergency vehicles. FMCSA notes that police and other State-authorized emergency vehicles utilize high intensity, constantly flashing, rotating, or pulsating red lamps visible from all directions on the vehicle and that continuously operate when activated. The amber or red brakeactivated pulsating lamps requested by Waste Management are visible only to the rear of their vehicles and are similar in lamp intensity and flash rate of the vehicle’s standard rear hazard warning lamps system currently allowed by the regulations. FMCSA believes that the FMCSA and NHTSA research programs that demonstrated the ability of alternative rear signaling systems to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes are sufficient to conclude that the implementation of red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps in the upper center position or in an upper dual outboard position on the rear of their vehicles, in addition to the steady-burning brake lamps required by the regulations, is likely to provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption. lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 Terms and Conditions for the Exemption 17:16 Jan 19, 2022 Jkt 256001 Preemption In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31313(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. States may, but are not required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in intrastate commerce. Meera Joshi, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2022–01023 Filed 1–19–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a 5-year period, beginning January 20, 2022 and ending January 20, 2027. During the temporary exemption period, Waste Management’s operating companies will be allowed to replace the high-mounted brake lights on their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks and will be allowed to install a red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamp in the upper center position or in an upper dual outboard position on the rear of their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks in addition to the steady-burning brake lamps required by the FMCSRs. The exemption will be valid for 5 years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Waste Management 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 before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b). VerDate Sep<11>2014 Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate that Waste Management’s 106 operating companies’ owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks with red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) is not achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any such information and, if safety is being compromised or if the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2022–0011] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of denials. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to deny applications from 33 individuals who requested an exemption from the vision standard in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, Medical Programs Division, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W64–224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3169 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing materials in the docket, contact Dockets Operations, (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Public Participation A. Viewing Comments To view comments go to www.regulations.gov. Insert the docket number, FMCSA–2022–0011, in the keyword box, and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, sort the results by ‘‘Posted (NewerOlder),’’ choose the first notice listed, and click ‘‘Browse Comments.’’ If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting Dockets Operations in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, 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. B. 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.transportation.gov/privacy. II. Background FMCSA received applications from 33 individuals who requested an exemption from the vision standard in the FMCSRs. FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and concluded that granting these exemptions would not provide a level of safety that would be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with § 391.41(b)(10). III. Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the FMCSRs for no longer than a 5-year period if it finds such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption. FMCSA grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a 2-year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver’s medical certification. The Agency’s decision regarding these exemption applications is based on E:\FR\FM\20JAN1.SGM 20JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 13 (Thursday, January 20, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3166-3169]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-01023]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0059]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application 
for an Exemption From Waste Management Inc.

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of exemption.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant the limited 5-year exemption requested 
by Waste Management Inc. (Waste Management) to allow all of its 
operating companies, which currently number 106, to replace the high-
mounted brake lights on their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty 
refuse and support trucks with red or amber brake-activated pulsating 
lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual 
outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps 
required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The 
Agency has determined that granting the exemption would likely achieve 
a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety 
provided by the regulation.

DATES: This exemption is effective January 20, 2022 and ending January 
20, 2027.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jos[eacute] R. Cestero, Vehicle 
and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and 
Vehicle Safety, MC-PSV, (202) 366-5541, Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments submitted to notice requesting public comments on the 
exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit 
Dockets Operations, 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. To be sure 
someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-
9826 before visiting Dockets Operations. The on-line Federal document 
management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. 
The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the 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 and explain 
the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed 
(49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Waste Management's Application for Exemption

    Section 393.25(e) of the FMCSRs requires all exterior lamps (both 
required lamps and any additional lamps) to be steady-burning, except 
turn signal lamps, hazard warning signal lamps, school bus warning 
lamps, amber warning lamps or flashing warning lamps on tow trucks and 
commercial motor vehicles (CMV) transporting oversized loads, and 
warning lamps on emergency and service vehicles authorized by State or 
local authorities.
    Waste Management applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.25(e) to

[[Page 3167]]

allow all of its operating companies, which currently number 106, to 
replace the rear high-mounted brake lights with red or amber brake-
activated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or 
in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning 
brake lamps required by the FMCSRs.
    A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at 
the beginning of this notice.
    Waste Management contended that the addition of brake-activated 
pulsating lamps would improve safety and stated that research shows 
that pulsating brake lamps installed improve visibility and prevent 
rear end accidents. Waste Management noted that FMCSA has previously 
granted similar, but not identical, temporary exemptions to the 
National Tank Truck Carriers Inc. (NTTC), (85 FR 63643), Grote 
Industries, LLC. (Grote), (85 FR 78918). Inc. (Grote), and Groendyke 
Transport Inc. (Groendyke) (84 FR 17910).
    Waste Management included in the application several studies 
conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA), another agency in the U.S. Department of Transportation, on 
the issues of rear-end crashes, distracted driving, and braking 
signals. Waste Management stated that the addition of brake-activated 
pulsating lamp(s) will not have an adverse impact on safety, and that 
adherence to the terms and conditions of the exemption would likely 
achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of 
safety achieved without the exemption.

Comments

    FMCSA published a notice of the application in the Federal Register 
on June 3, 2021 and asked for public comment (86 FR 29876). The Agency 
received comments from the Transportation Safety Equipment Institute 
(TSEI), the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), the Florida 
Highway Patrol-Bureau of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (FHP), the 
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the National Waste Recycling 
Association (NWRA), and from 18 other stakeholders and individuals. 
Twenty of the 23 comments favored the exemption application.
    NWRA and TSEI supported granting the application. CVSA supported 
the use of amber brake-activated warning lamps, but was opposed to the 
use of red brake-activated pulsating warning lamps. Florida Highway 
Patrol expressed concern regarding the use of red brake-activated 
pulsating warning lamps because traffic approaching from the rear might 
confuse the flashing red lights with law enforcement vehicles.
    NWRA supports the Waste Management application, noting that the 
2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Injuries classified 40 
of the 70 fatal incidents for waste and remediation services as 
transportation incidents. NWRA also provided research data from a 
report \1\ noting that flashing brake systems and flashing hazard 
systems reduced drivers' brake response times by 0.14-0.62 seconds, and 
0.03-0.95 seconds respectively, while flashing amber lamps reduced 
drivers' brake response times by 0.11 seconds on average compared with 
red lamps. NWRA noted that the requested exemption should not only 
improve the safety for Waste Management's workers, but also improve the 
overall safety of the motoring public.
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    \1\ https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1155/2014/792670.
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    TSEI acknowledged the safety benefits of brake-activated warning 
lamps when used in conjunction with steady burning red brake lamps and 
identified its support of previous exemption requests for Groendyke, 
NTTC, and Grote. TSEI stated that it does not believe the Agency should 
grant the temporary exemption to Waste Management to allow brake-
activated required lamps to pulsate without a thorough consideration of 
safety data and research with the aim of setting standards to ensure 
consistency across all vehicles equipped with such lamps.
    NTEA expressed concern that some NTEA members are manufacturers and 
alterers of motor vehicles that receive requests from commercial motor 
vehicle fleets to install brake-activated pulsating warning lamps on 
certain new vehicles they construct or modify. As manufacturers of new 
motor vehicles, NTEA members are required to certify these vehicles to 
applicable NHTSA Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). NTEA 
noted that FMCSA does not have the authority to exempt manufacturers of 
commercial motor vehicles from their obligation to certify compliance 
with affected FMVSS. NTEA noted that FMCSA temporary exemptions for 
brake-activated warning lamps are narrowly restricted to motor carriers 
making the exempted modification to their own vehicles.
    CVSA stated that the Agency should allow motor carriers to equip 
commercial motor vehicles with amber brake-activated pulsating lights, 
but is opposed to red brake-activated pulsating lights. CVSA and FHP 
noted that pulsating red lights are typically associated with law 
enforcement or emergency vehicles. Allowing red pulsating lamps on the 
rear of commercial motor vehicles may negatively impact the driving 
public's recognition and response to emergency vehicles. Further, many 
States have laws prohibiting nonemergency vehicles from having 
pulsating red lights.
    Eighteen stakeholders and individuals submitted comments in support 
of granting the exemption. These commenters believe that any technology 
that has been shown to reduce rear end crashes should be allowed and 
cited various benefits of brake-activated pulsating lamps, including 
(1) enhanced awareness that the vehicle is making a stop, especially at 
railroad crossings, and (2) increased visibility in severe weather 
conditions.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated the Waste Management exemption application 
and the comments received. The Agency believes that granting the 
temporary exemption to allow its operating companies to replace the 
high-mounted brake lights on their owned and operated fleets of heavy-
duty refuse and support trucks with red or amber brake-activated 
pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper 
dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning brake lamps 
required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), will 
likely provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater 
than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.
    Rear-end crashes generally account for approximately 30 percent of 
all crashes. These types of crashes often result from a failure to 
respond (or delays in responding) to a stopped or decelerating lead 
vehicle. Data between 2010 and 2016 show that large trucks are 
consistently three times more likely than other vehicles to be struck 
in the rear in two-vehicle fatal crashes.2 3
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    \2\ U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (2012), Traffic Safety Facts--2010 Data; Large 
Trucks, Report No. DOT HS 811 628, Washington, DC (June 2012).
    \3\ U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (2018), Traffic Safety Facts--2016 Data; Large 
Trucks, Report No. DOT HS 812 497, Washington, DC (May 2018).
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    Both FMCSA and NHTSA have conducted research regarding alternative 
rear signaling systems to address rear-end crashes. FMCSA has conducted 
research and development of an Enhanced Rear Signaling (ERS)

[[Page 3168]]

system for CMVs.\4\ The study noted that, while brake lights are 
activated only with the service brakes, and the visual warning is 
provided only during conditions when the lead vehicle is decelerating 
using its braking system, brake lights are not activated during other 
conditions when rear-end collisions can occur (e.g., when the CMV is 
(1) stopped along the roadway or in traffic, (2) traveling slower, or 
(3) decelerating using an engine retarder). Because of the limitations 
of the existing brake system described above, along with issues 
relating to visual distraction, the study examined ways for CMVs to 
detect rear-end crash threats and to provide drivers of following 
vehicles a supplemental visual warning--located on the lead vehicle, 
and in addition to the current brake lights--so following-vehicle 
drivers can quickly recognize impending collision threats.
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    \4\ U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration (2014), Expanded Research and Development of 
an Enhanced Rear Signaling System for Commercial Motor Vehicles, 
Report No. FMCSA-RRT-13-009, Washington, DC (April 2014).
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    During Phase I of this effort, researchers performed crash database 
analyses to determine causal factors of rear-end collisions and to 
identify potential countermeasures. Phase II continued through 
prototype development based on recommendations from Phase I. During 
Phase II field testing, potential benefits of using such 
countermeasures were realized. During Phase III, a multi-phased 
approach was executed to design, develop, and test multiple types of 
countermeasures on a controlled test track and on public highways. 
Phase III yielded positive results for a rear-warning prototype system 
comprising 12 light-emitting diode (LED) units that would flash at 5 Hz 
to provide a visual warning to the following-vehicle drivers indicating 
that, with continued closing rate and distance, a collision will occur 
with the lead vehicle. Finally, the prototype system was further 
developed and refined to include modification of the system into a unit 
designed for simple CMV installation, collision-warning activation 
refinements, and rear-lighting brightness adjustments for nighttime 
conditions. Formal closed test-track and real-world testing were then 
performed to determine the ERS system collision-warning activation 
performance.
    While the efforts described above demonstrated a promising system 
for follow-on research, FMCSA ultimately decided not to pursue formal 
field operational testing of the prototype system because of concerns 
relating to (1) the cost to implement the ERS system as configured, and 
(2) fleets' willingness to invest in the technology, given the cost of 
the system. Nonetheless, the preliminary research showed that the ERS 
system performed well at detecting and signaling rear-end crash threats 
and drawing the gaze of following-vehicle drivers to the forward 
roadway which, if implemented, could potentially reduce the number and 
frequency of rear-end crashes into CMVs.
    Separately, NHTSA has performed a series of research studies 
intended to develop and evaluate rear-signaling applications designed 
to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes via 
enhancements to rear-brake lighting by redirecting drivers' visual 
attention to the forward roadway (for cases involving a distracted 
driver), and/or increasing the saliency or meaningfulness of the brake 
signal (for inattentive drivers).5 6
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    \5\ U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (2009), Traffic Safety Facts--Vehicle Safety 
Research Notes; Assessing the Attention-Gettingness of Brake 
Signals: Evaluation of Optimized Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals; 
Report No. DOT HS 811 129, Washington, DC (May 2009).
    \6\ U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (2010), Traffic Safety Facts--Vehicle Safety 
Research Notes; Assessing the Attention-Getting Capability of Brake 
Signals: Evaluation of Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals and 
Features; Report No. DOT HS 811 330, Washington, DC (June 2010).
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    Initially, the study quantified the attention-getting capability 
and discomfort glare of a set of candidate rear brake lighting 
configurations, using driver judgments, as well as eye-drawing metrics. 
This study served to narrow the set of candidate lighting 
configurations to those that would most likely be carried forward for 
additional on-road study. Both look-up (eye-drawing) data and interview 
data supported the hypothesis that simultaneous flashing of all rear 
lighting combined with increased brightness would be effective in 
redirecting the driver's eyes to the lead vehicle when the driver is 
looking away with tasks that involve visual load.
    Subsequently, the study quantified the attention-getting capability 
of a set of candidate rear brake lighting configurations, including 
proposed approaches from automotive companies. This study was conducted 
to provide data for use in a simulation model to assess the 
effectiveness and safety benefits of enhanced rear brake light 
countermeasures. Among other things, this research demonstrated that 
flashing all lights simultaneously or alternately flashing is a 
promising signal for use in enhanced brake light applications, even at 
levels of brightness within the current regulated limits. Specifically, 
the study concluded that substantial performance gains may be realized 
by increasing brake-lamp brightness levels under flashing 
configurations; however, increases beyond a certain brightness 
threshold will not return substantive performance gains.
    Both FMCSA and NHTSA have conducted extensive research and 
development programs to examine alternative rear-signaling systems to 
reduce the incidence of rear-end crashes. However, while these efforts 
concluded that improvements could be realized through rear-lighting 
systems that flash, neither the FMCSRs nor the Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standards (FMVSS) currently permit the use of pulsating, brake-
activated lamps on the rear of CMVs.
    With respect to the use of amber lights, NHTSA has conducted 
research on the effectiveness of rear turn signal color on the 
likelihood of being involved in a rear-end crash.\7\ FMVSS No. 108 
allows rear turn signals to be either red or amber in color. The study 
concluded that amber signals show a 5.3 percent effectiveness in 
reducing involvement in two-vehicle crashes where a lead vehicle is 
rear-struck in the act of turning left, turning right, merging into 
traffic, changing lanes, or entering/leaving a parking space. The 
advantage of amber, compared to red, rear turn signals was shown to be 
statistically significant.
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    \7\ U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (2009), The Effectiveness of Amber Rear Turn 
Signals for Reducing Rear Impacts; Report No. DOT HS 811 115, 
Washington, DC (April 2009).
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    FMCSA acknowledges the concern of NTEA that FMCSA has the authority 
to grant the temporary exemption only to motor carriers and not to 
commercial motor vehicle manufacturers or vehicle alterers. FMCSA has 
met with NHTSA to discuss research avenues that would support NHTSA 
updates to 49 CFR 571.108--Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, 
and associated equipment, such that the commercial motor vehicle 
manufacturers would be able to install brake activated warning light 
systems for which FMCSA has already granted temporary exemptions to 
motor carriers. FMCSA believes that the FMCSA and NHTSA research 
programs demonstrating the ability of alternative rear-signaling 
systems to reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes, are 
sufficient to conclude that implementation of red or amber brake 
activated pulsating lamps is likely to provide a level of safety that

[[Page 3169]]

is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without 
the exemption.
    FMCSA acknowledges the concerns of FHP and CVSA that flashing, 
rotating, or pulsating red lamps are generally permitted only on 
emergency vehicles. FMCSA notes that police and other State-authorized 
emergency vehicles utilize high intensity, constantly flashing, 
rotating, or pulsating red lamps visible from all directions on the 
vehicle and that continuously operate when activated. The amber or red 
brake-activated pulsating lamps requested by Waste Management are 
visible only to the rear of their vehicles and are similar in lamp 
intensity and flash rate of the vehicle's standard rear hazard warning 
lamps system currently allowed by the regulations. FMCSA believes that 
the FMCSA and NHTSA research programs that demonstrated the ability of 
alternative rear signaling systems to reduce the frequency and severity 
of rear-end crashes are sufficient to conclude that the implementation 
of red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps in the upper center 
position or in an upper dual outboard position on the rear of their 
vehicles, in addition to the steady-burning brake lamps required by the 
regulations, is likely to provide a level of safety that is equivalent 
to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a 5-year period, 
beginning January 20, 2022 and ending January 20, 2027. During the 
temporary exemption period, Waste Management's operating companies will 
be allowed to replace the high-mounted brake lights on their owned and 
operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks and will be 
allowed to install a red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamp in the 
upper center position or in an upper dual outboard position on the rear 
of their owned and operated fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support 
trucks in addition to the steady-burning brake lamps required by the 
FMCSRs.
    The exemption will be valid for 5 years unless rescinded earlier by 
FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) Waste Management 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 
before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not 
be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 
31315(b).
    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that Waste Management's 106 operating companies' owned and operated 
fleets of heavy-duty refuse and support trucks with red or amber brake-
activated pulsating lamps positioned in the upper center position, or 
in an upper dual outboard position, in addition to the steady burning 
brake lamps required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs) is not achieving the requisite statutory level of safety 
should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any such 
information and, if safety is being compromised or if the continuation 
of the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 
31315(b), will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption.

Preemption

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31313(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. States may, but 
are not required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to 
operations in intrastate commerce.

Meera Joshi,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2022-01023 Filed 1-19-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P