[Federal Register: October 24, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 204)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-21952]
Agency Information Activities; Clearance of a New Information
Collection: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Arbitration Program as a
Means of Settling Household Goods Disputes
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department
of Transportation (DOT).
ACTION: Request for public comments and Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) approval of a new information collection.
SUMMARY: This notice seeks comments from the public regarding the need
for FMCSA to collect information by using three new surveys to assess
how household goods (HHGs) carriers and shippers (persons who arrange
for the transportation of, or those who move, household goods) are
satisfied with current arbitration dispute resolution procedures. The
information collection (IC) meets the statutory requirements of the
Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA). This
notice is published (pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995)
to measure the need for the proposed information collection, to find
ways to minimize the burden on household goods shippers and carriers,
to find ways to enhance the quality of information collected, and to
verify the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (measured in
work hours) on household goods shippers and carriers.
DATES: Please submit comments on or before December 23, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments to the docket by any of the
Mail: Dockets Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation,
Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Anyone
wanting confirmation of mailed comments must include a self-addressed
Hand delivery or courier: Room PL-401 on plaza level of
the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington DC. The
Dockets Facility is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except on Federal holidays.
Web site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov, click on "Comments/
Submissions" and follow instructions at the site.
All written comments should identify the docket number and notice
number stated in the heading of this notice.
Docket access: For copies of this notice or other materials in the
docket, you may contact the Dockets Facility by phone (202-366-9329) or
visit the facility at the above street address. For Web access to the
dockets to read and download filed material, go to http://dms.dot.gov/search.
Then type in the last four digits of the docket number shown in
the heading of this notice, and click on "Search."
Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments filed in any
of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or
signing the comment, if submitted for an association, business, labor
union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in
the April 11, 2000 issue of the Federal Register (65 FR 19477) or go to
Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the
burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information,
including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility
of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of
the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3)
ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to
be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or
other forms of information technology to minimize the information
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Darrell Ruban, (202) 385-2400,
Commercial Enforcement Division (MC-ECC), Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street,
SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Secretary of Transportation (Secretary)
is authorized to register for-hire motor carriers of regulated
commodities under the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 13902, surface freight
forwarders under the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 13903, and property
brokers under the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 13904. These persons may
conduct interstate transportation services only if they are registered
pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 13901. As a condition of registration under 49
U.S.C. 13902 and 13903 (ICCTA (Pub. L. 104-88, 109 Stat. 803) (December
29, 1995); (49 U.S.C. 14708 (a)), a carrier providing transportation of
household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter [[Page 61493]]
I or III of chapter 135, title 49, U.S.C., must agree to offer
arbitration to HHGs shippers as a means of settling disputes concerning
damage or loss to the household goods transported. Under 49 U.S.C.
14708(g)), the Secretary is required to complete an assessment of the
dispute settlement program and if, after notice and comment, it is
determined that changes to the program are necessary, the Secretary
will implement such changes and provide a report to Congress on the
changes made. The General Accountability Office (GAO) recommended such
an assessment in their March 2001 review (Report Number GAO-01-318).
The Secretary has delegated authority pertaining to these registrations
and arbitration matters to FMCSA.
Since the passage of the ICCTA, the level of Federal involvement in
mitigating interstate HHGs disputes has been significantly reduced.
FMCSA is responsible for overseeing the arbitration process, but has
provided only limited attention, staffing, and resources to this non-
safety related function. Shippers of household goods unhappy about loss
or damage to property during their move with an interstate HHGs carrier
may follow one of several paths to settle disputes: (1) File a
complaint with consumer assistance organizations or FMCSA; (2) agree to
participate in a binding arbitration process with the American Moving
and Storage Association (AMSA) or some other organization that runs an
arbitration process; or (3) pursue civil litigation. Each carrier
providing transportation of household goods must agree to offer to
shippers of HHGs neutral arbitration, as well as a concise easy-to-
read, accurate summary of the arbitration procedure, any applicable
costs, and disclosure of the legal effects of election to utilize
arbitration and inform shippers about the availability of this process
to resolve complaints (49 U.S.C. 14708 (a) and (b)(2)). As mandated by
Congress, FMCSA is required to determine the effectiveness of
arbitration as a means of settling HHGs disputes from the point of view
of both interstate household goods shippers and carriers. The
increasing number of consumer complaints related to HHGs shipments
received by FMCSA and other consumer protection organizations
demonstrates the current need for such an assessment.
Type of Information Collection Request: New collection.
Title of Information Collection: Assessing the Effectiveness of the
Arbitration Program as a Means of Settling Household Goods Disputes.
OMB Approval Number: 2126-XXXX.
Use: This collection will be used by FMCSA to assess the
effectiveness of the arbitration program as a means of settling
disputes from the perspective of the household goods shippers and
Estimated Number of Respondents: 300 [100 respondents x 3 surveys =
Respondents: Household goods shippers and carriers.
Total Annual Hours Requested: The estimated total annual burden is
150 hours for the information collection comprised of three arbitration
satisfaction surveys--one for HHGs carriers, one for HHGs shippers who
have used arbitration, and one for HHGs shippers who have filed claims
(or complaints with FMCSA). Each survey requires 100 responses to
achieve statistical significance of the results [100 respondents per
survey x \1/2\ hour per respondent x 3 surveys = 150 hours].
Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C.
chapter 35, as amended; 49 U.S.C. 13901, 13902, 13903, 13904 and
14708; the ICC Termination Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-88, 109 Stat.
803 (December 29, 1995)); and 49 CFR Sec. 1.73.
Issued on: October 17, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-21202 Filed 10-21-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P