[Federal Register: March 20, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 55)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2008-0036]
Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Standards; Rotel North American
Tours, LLC; Application for Exemption and Request for Comments
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that Rotel North American Tours, LLC (Rotel)
has applied for exemption from the Agency's requirement that drivers of
certain commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) possess a valid commercial
driver's license (CDL). Rotel has requested this exemption for 22
German bus drivers who would transport German tourists in the United
States by means of Rotel's specially equipped passenger-carrying CMVs.
Rotel hires the bus drivers to conduct the tours in addition to
operating the CMVs. Rotel previously was able to conduct these
operations without exemption because its drivers had been able to
obtain (and renew) non-resident CDLs from certain States. However,
because of the recent emphasis upon security in the U.S., Rotel reports
that no State currently issues non-resident CDLs. Rotel believes these
drivers possess the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure a level of
safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that
would be obtained by complying with the U.S. requirement for a CDL.
FMCSA requests public comment on the Rotel application for exemption.
DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 21, 2008.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket
Management System Number FMCSA-2008-0036 by any of the following
Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket site.
Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington,
Hand Delivery: Ground Floor, Room W12-140, DOT Building,
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and
docket number. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and
additional information on the exemption process, see the Public
Participation heading below. Note that all comments received will be
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to
the ground floor, room W12-140, DOT Building, New Jersey Avenue, SE.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
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 19476) or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov.
Public participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is
generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get
electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the
"help" section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site and also at
the DOT's http://docketsinfo.dot.gov Web site. 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 online.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert F. Schultz, Jr., FMCSA
Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck
Standards and Operations. Telephone: 202-366-4325. E-mail:
Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1998) amended 49 U.S.C. 31315
and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from motor
carrier safety regulations. Under its regulations, 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 the
results of 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(a)). The decision of
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR
381.315(b)) with the reason for denying or, in the alternative, the
specific 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 be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
Rotel, headquartered in Terre Haute, Indiana, is engaged in
conducting bus tours of the United States for Europeans. It currently
has 22 bus drivers and 11 customized buses dedicated to these
operations. The buses qualify as passenger commercial motor vehicles
(CMVs) as defined in section 383.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations (FMCSRs) (49 CFR 350 et. seq.); therefore, the operators of
the buses must possess a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) (49
CFR 383.110) with passenger endorsement (49 CFR 383.93).
Rotel drivers operate the buses and deliver oral commentary during
the trip. Rotel prefers to use native German drivers to conduct the
tours. It tried to use non-native Germans who were fluent in German,
but states that the quality of its service was affected adversely.
Rotel's drivers hold German CDLs, but these are not recognized in
the U.S. Until recently, the German drivers could obtain (and renew) a
non-resident CDL in one of several States of the U.S. However, because
of the recent heightening of security in the U.S., no State currently
issues or renews non-resident CDLs. Therefore, Rotel's drivers [[Page 15045]]
cannot obtain or renew non-resident CDLs.
Rotel requests FMCSA to allow its 22 bus drivers to operate these
11 buses without a CDL for a period of two years. It believes these
drivers possess the knowledge and skills to ensure a level of safety
that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would
be obtained by complying with the U.S. requirement for a CDL. A copy of
Rotel's application for exemption 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 Rotel's application for exemption from the
FMCSRs. The Agency will consider all comments received by close of
business on April 21, 2008. Comments will be available for examination
in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of
this notice. The Agency will consider to the extent practicable
comments received in the public docket after the closing date of the
Issued on: March 13, 2008.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. E8-5639 Filed 3-19-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P