[Federal Register: March 21, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 53)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2004-19933]
Physical Qualification of Drivers; Medical Examination and
Certification; Exemption Application--National Cooperative Refinery
Association and Jayhawk Pipeline, LLC
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA received an application from the National Cooperative
Refinery Association ("NCRA") and its affiliate Jayhawk Pipeline,
LLC, for an exemption from the driver's physical qualification rule
which requires drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in
interstate commerce to be medically examined and certified every 24
months. NCRA states an exemption is needed to extend the expiration of
the qualification date up to eight days for 130 of its drivers who were
qualified to operate a CMV on various dates in April [[Page 13569]] of 2004. If granted, an exemption would allow NCRA to schedule its
drivers' medical examinations in April of 2006, after the expiration of
their physical qualification certification.
DATES: Comments must be received by April 20, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by any of the following
methods. Please identify your comments by the FMCSA Docket Number
- Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow instructions for
submitting comments to the docket.
- Fax: (202) 493-2251.
- Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management
Facility, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Plaza level, Washington, DC 20590-
- Hand Delivery: Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday
through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
Docket: For access to the Docket Management System (DMS) to read
background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at
any time or to the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through
Friday, except Federal Holidays. The DMS is available 24 hours each
day, 365 days each year. If you want us to notify you that we received
your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or
postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after
submitting comments on-line.
Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Maggi Gunnels, (202) 366-4001,
Division of Physical Qualifications, Office of Bus and Truck Standards
and Operations, FMCSA, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-
0001; e-mail address: email@example.com. Office hours are
from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., et, Monday through Friday, except Federal
On December 8, 1998 (63 FR 67600), FMCSA issued an interim final
rule adding part 381 to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSRs) and implementing section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act
for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107). Section
4007 of TEA-21 amended 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136 concerning waivers and
exemptions. On August 20, 2004, FMCSA issued a final rule adopting the
interim regulations in part 381 as final (69 FR 51589).
The regulations (49 CFR part 381) established the procedures one
must follow to request waivers and apply for exemptions from the
FMCSRs, and the procedures that are used to process them. FMCSA must
publish a notice in the Federal Register for each exemption requested,
explain that the request has been filed, provide the public with an
opportunity to inspect the safety analysis and any other relevant
information known to the agency, and provide an opportunity to comment
on the request. Prior to granting a request for exemption, FMCSA must
publish a notice in the Federal Register identifying the person who
will receive the exemption, the provisions from which the person will
be exempt, the effective period, and the terms and conditions of the
exemption. The terms and conditions established by FMCSA must ensure
that the exemption will likely achieve a level of safety that is
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by
complying with the regulation.
NCRA's Request for an Exemption
The National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA) and its
affiliate, Jayhawk Pipeline, LLC, have requested an exemption from the
physical qualification of drivers provision at 49 CFR 391.45(b)(1). A
copy of NCRA's application is in the docket referenced at the beginning
of this notice. This rule requires that drivers must be medically
examined and certified as physically qualified every 24 months. FMCSA
is responsible for administering and enforcing the FMCSRs. NCRA
complains that the medical examination rule is enforced as 24 months to
the day in Kansas and Nebraska. It seeks an exemption to extend the
expiration of the qualification date up to "eight days" for 130 of
its drivers who were qualified to operate a CMV on April 5, 6, 8, 12,
13, and 14 of 2004. Such relief would allow NCRA to schedule and
perform its drivers' medical examinations in April of 2006 after their
physical qualification certification had expired. This means, for
example, that an employee who was examined and certified on April 5,
2004, could be scheduled for his/her physical as late as April 13,
2006. NCRA states the nature of its business is less demanding during
the first two weeks of each month, thus making it desirable to schedule
and perform medical examinations during that particular time. NCRA
opines that medical examinations could also be cancelled due to adverse
weather, thereby resulting in medical cards expiring if there is not
some flexibility provided in the expiration date.
NCRA uses the University of Kansas Medical Center (KU) to perform
medical examinations. KU provides a mobile service that includes a
medical team of doctors and nurses who are knowledgeable about DOT and
OSHA requirements. Before KU was hired, NCRA drivers obtained medical
examinations from the physician of their choice, usually in rural areas
of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. NCRA states using one medical team
to perform the medical examinations has proven effective in eliminating
NCRA points to Sec. 396.17(c) relating to periodic inspections in
support of its application. It suggests that if similar language were
adopted in Sec. 391.45(b)(1), NCRA would not need this exemption.
Section 396.17(c) states, in part: A motor carrier shall not use a
commercial motor vehicle unless each component identified in appendix G
has passed an inspection in accordance with the terms of this section
at least once during the preceding 12 months and documentation of such
inspection is on the vehicle.
Lastly, NCRA claims it would suffer unnecessary economic hardship
for a minor technical date issue if we do not grant its request.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA
requests public comment from all interested persons on this exemption
application. All comments received before the close of business on the
comment closing date shown in the DATES section above will be
considered and will be available for examination in the docket.
Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the
public docket and will be considered to the extent possible. However,
FMCSA may make its decision at any time after the comment period
closes. FMCSA also will continue to file in the public docket relevant
information that becomes [[Page 13570]] available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should
continue to examine the docket for new material.
Issued on: March 14, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-5491 Filed 3-18-05; 8:45 am]