[Federal Register: February 5, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 23)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2006-25756]
Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Standards; Volvo Trucks North
America, Renewal of Exemption
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of renewal of exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew Volvo Trucks North
America's (Volvo) exemption from the Agency's requirement that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs)
possess a commercial driver's license (CDL) issued in the United States
(U.S.). Volvo requested that its exemption for seven Swedish engineers
and technicians be renewed to enable these individuals to continue test
driving CMVs in the U.S. All seven individuals are employees of Volvo
and each holds a valid Swedish CDL. FMCSA believes the knowledge and
skills testing and training program that Swedish drivers must undergo
for a Swedish CDL ensures 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. requirements for a CDL.
DATES: This exemption will be effective from April 23, 2009 through
April 23, 2011. Comments must be received on or before March 9, 2009.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket
Management System Number FMCSA-2006-25756, by any of the following
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.regulations.gov. Follow
the online instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 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://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.regulations.gov, and follow the online
instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address
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://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://DocketInfo.dot.gov.
Public Participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is 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 Federal eRulemaking Portal 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. Comments received after the
comment closing date will be included in the docket, and we will
consider late comments to the extent practicable.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Clemente, FMCSA Driver and
Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and
Operations; Telephone: 202-366-4325. e-mail: MCPSD@dot.gov.
Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA may renew an exemption
for a maximum 2-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." The procedures
for requesting an exemption (including a renewal) are prescribed in 49
CFR part 381. FMCSA has evaluated Volvo's application for a renewal on
its merits and has decided to grant renewal of the exemption for seven
of Volvo's engineers and technicians for a 2-year period.
Volvo Application for an Exemption Renewal
Volvo has applied for the renewal of an exemption from the
commercial driver's licensing rules, specifically 49 CFR 383.23, which
establishes licensing requirements for drivers operating CMVs in
interstate commerce. The exemption was originally granted on April 23,
2007 (72 FR 20166). Volvo is seeking a renewal of this exemption
because the drivers it employs are citizens and residents of Sweden,
and as such they cannot apply for a CDL from a State in the U.S. A copy
of the request for a renewal is in the docket identified at the
beginning of this notice.
The renewal of the exemption will enable these seven drivers to
operate CMVs in the U.S. and continue to support Volvo's field tests to
meet future clean air standards, to test drive prototype vehicles at
their test site, and to deliver the vehicles, if necessary. The drivers
are: Peter Hofsten, Thorbjorn Ohlund, Freddy Blixt, Johnny Adolfsson,
Goran Alsen, Kjell Jansson, and Lars Svensson.
Together, these drivers comprise a team of designers, currently
employed by Volvo in Sweden, who want to continue driving CMVs in the
U.S., to test and evaluate prototype and production CMVs in order to
design safe and well-tested vehicles for use on U.S. highways. They are
experienced CMV operators with valid Swedish-issued CDLs. It is
estimated that each driver would continue to drive approximately 2,500
miles per year on U.S. roads. Because each of the drivers was required
to satisfy strict regulations in Sweden to obtain a CDL, and has
extensive CMV training and experience, Volvo believes that the renewal
of the exemption will continue to achieve a level of safety equivalent
to the level of safety that would be obtained absent the exemption.
Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety
Drivers applying to obtain a Swedish CDL must take both a knowledge
test and skills test before a license to operate CMVs is issued. This
process is considered comparable to, or as effective as, the
requirements of 49 CFR part 383 and adequately assesses the driver's
ability to operate CMVs in the U.S.
Request for Comments
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and 31136(e), FMCSA
requests public comments on the renewal of Volvo's exemption from the
requirements of 49 CFR 383.23. The Agency requests that interested
parties with specific data concerning the safety records of the drivers
listed in this notice submit comments by March 9, 2009. FMCSA will
review all comments received by this date and determine whether the
renewal of the exemption is consistent with the requirements of 49
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e). Comments received after the comment closing
date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the
extent practicable, but FMCSA may make its final decision at any time
after the close of the comment period.
FMCSA believes the requirements for a renewal of an exemption under
49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) can be satisfied by initially granting the
renewal and then requesting and subsequently evaluating comments
submitted by interested parties. As indicated above, the Agency
published a notice of final disposition announcing its decision to
exempt these seven Volvo drivers from the CDL requirement in 49 CFR
383.23. The decision to renew the exemption for these drivers was based
on the merits of each driver's demonstrated knowledge and skills about
the safe operation of CMVs, and only after careful consideration of the
comments submitted in response to the April 23, 2007 original notice.
The notice of application for exemption indicated that detailed
information about the qualifications and experience of each of the
drivers was provided in Volvo's application and that a copy of the
application is in the docket referenced at the beginning of this
Interested parties or organizations possessing information that
would otherwise show that any or all of these drivers are not currently
achieving the requisite statutory level of safety should immediately
notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any adverse information
submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if the continuation of
the exemption is not consistent with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) and
31136(e), FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption of
the driver(s) in question.
Issued on: January 29, 2009.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. E9-2433 Filed 2-4-09; 8:45 am]
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