[Federal Register: July 31, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 146)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-22937]
Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Summit
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received an application from
Summit Helicopters, Inc. (Summit) for an exemption from the commercial
motor vehicle drivers' hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for their
drivers who transport materials to and from job sites to assist in the
company's aerial application of herbicides. The exemption, if granted,
would enable Summit's drivers to conduct these operations, including
transportation to and from the herbicides application sites, without
having to comply with the HOS regulations. Summit believes that relief
from the HOS regulations would permit their drivers to work longer
periods of time and at the same time maintain a high level of safety.
FMCSA requests public comment on the Summit Helicopters, Inc.
application for exemption.
DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 30, 2006.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Number
FMCSA-2005-22937 by any of the following methods:
- Web site: http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401,
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on 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.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and
docket number for this notice. Note that all comments received will be
posted without change to http://dms.dot.gov including any personal
information [[Page 43279]] provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading for further information.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or Room PL-401
on 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
Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments
received into any of DOT's dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, or other
entity). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the
Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477, Apr. 11,
2000). This statement is also available at http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and
Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and
Operations, MC-PSD, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Telephone: 202-366-4009. E-mail: MCPSD@dot.gov.
Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
[Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998, 49 U.S.C. 31315 and
31136(e)] provided authority to grant exemptions from the motor carrier
safety regulations. On December 8, 1998, FMCSA's predecessor published
an interim final rule implementing sec. 4007 (63 FR 67600). On August
20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589), which requires
FMCSA to 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 the safety analyses and the public comments, and
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level
of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The Agency's
decision must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)).
If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason for doing
so. If the Agency grants the exemption, the notice must specify the
person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the regulatory
provision or provisions from which exemption is being granted. The
notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption (up to 2
years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The
exemption may also be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
Under 49 CFR part 395, the Federal hours of service (HOS)
regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers generally apply
to motor carriers and drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce, as
defined under 49 CFR 390.5.
In relation to the HOS regulations, Summit Helicopters, Inc.
(Summit) states that its situation is unique in that its drivers
operate in remote areas during the early morning and late evening
hours. Due to this extended schedule, there are occasions when Summit's
drivers cannot maintain their desired schedule and comply with the HOS
requirements. To clarify this scenario, Summit provided an outline of a
typical day's schedule, and identified when the problem with HOS
Summit is a private motor carrier comprised of approximately 25
drivers responsible for operating 21 tank trucks. All of their trucks
are based in Cloverdale, Virginia. Their trucks are dispatched to
various jobsites in the states of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina,
South Carolina, and Arkansas. These tank trucks will arrive at
jobsites, and go to a "water source" to be loaded with water. They
will subsequently add a herbicide from a box-truck to the water to
create the mixture to be dispensed from a helicopter. The tank trucks,
once at the jobsites, will normally travel no more than 20 miles
between the tracts of land where the chemicals are dispersed. Once the
morning jobs are complete, the drivers will drive a pick-up truck to a
motel, where they will have an off-duty period of around 6 hours
(usually from around 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The drivers will then repeat
the same work process during a night shift.
The HOS compliance problem arises during the night shift. The
drivers have already worked a day shift consisting of several hours of
driving and on-duty time, followed by approximately 6 hours spent in
the motel. All of this time is counted towards their "running 14-hour
clock" (49 CFR 395.3(a)(2)), and therefore the driver would not have
the necessary available driving hours during the night shift.
Summit indicates that their drivers would operate only under the
requested exemption while they are conducting the aerial operations.
They believe that there would be no adverse affects on safety while
their drivers are operating under the requested exemption for the
following reasons: (1) They do the majority of their traveling on
logging roads; (2) their drivers are allowed to sleep in the motel
rooms during their time off-duty; (3) they will require their drivers
to fill out a daily log book, even while operating under the exemption;
and (4) during their 25 years of operation, they have never had an
accident that could be related to fatigue.
Summit believes that an exemption will provide them the flexibility
they need to complete their extended workday under safe operating
A copy of Summit's exemption application is available for review in
the docket for this notice.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA
requests public comment on Summit Helicopters, Inc.'s application for
exemption from the 49 CFR part 395 HOS requirements. The Agency will
consider all comments received by close of business on August 30, 2006.
Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the
location listed under the Addresses section of this notice. The Agency
will file comments received after the comment closing date in the
public docket, and will consider them to the extent practicable. In
addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the
public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the
comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the public
docket for new material.
Issued on: July 21, 2006.
David H. Hugel,
[FR Doc. E6-12163 Filed 7-28-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P