[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 83 (Monday, May 1, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25516-25523]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-6422]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Parts 657 and 658

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2006-24134]
RIN 2125-AF17


Size and Weight Enforcement and Regulations

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This action updates the regulations governing the enforcement 
of commercial vehicle size and weight to incorporate provisions enacted 
in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity 
Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU); the Energy Policy Act of 2005; 
and, the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the 
Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies 
Appropriations Act of 2006. This action would further add various 
definitions; correct obsolete references, definitions, and footnotes; 
eliminate redundant provisions; amend numerical route changes to the 
National Highway designations; and incorporate statutorily mandated 
weight and length limit provisions.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 30, 2006. Late-filed 
comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at http://

[[Page 25517]]

dmses.dot.gov/submit, or fax comments to (202) 493-2251.
    Alternatively, comments may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking 
portal at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the 
docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All 
comments received will be available for examination and copying at the 
above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of 
comment must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may 
print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments 
electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, or labor union). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477-78) or you may visit 
http://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. William Mahorney, Office of 
Freight Management and Operations, (202) 366-6817, or Mr. Raymond 
Cuprill, Office of the Chief Counsel (202) 366-0791, Federal Highway 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office 
hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may submit or retrieve comments online through the Document 
Management System (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov/submit. Electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the 
help section of the Web site. Alternatively, internet users may access 
all comments received by the U.S. DOT Docket Facility by using the 
universal resource locator (URL) http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 
hours each day, 365 days each year. Please follow the instructions. An 
electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded by accessing 
the Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://
www.archives.gov or the Government Printing Office's Web page at http:/
/www.gpoaccess.gov/nara.

Background

    The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity 
Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144), 
the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-58, 119 Stat. 544), and the 
Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, 
the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act 
of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-115, 119 Stat. 2396) amended several areas of the 
size and weight regulations in the areas of auxiliary power units, 
custom harvesters, over-the-road buses, and drive-away saddlemount 
vehicle combinations.
    Additionally, the transfer of motor carrier safety functions to the 
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established by the 
Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA) (Pub. L. 106-159, 
113 Stat. 1748) affected the internal organizational structure of the 
FHWA. Although the responsibility for commercial motor vehicle size and 
weight limitation remained in the FHWA, the references in the 
regulations to the old FHWA's Office of Motor Carriers (OMC) and its 
officials are obsolete. This action will update these references to 
reflect the changes in the agency's organizational structure.

Section-by-Section Discussion of the Proposals

Section 657.1 Purpose

    Section 657.1 indicates that the purpose of the regulations is to 
prescribe requirements for administering a program of vehicle size and 
weight enforcement on ``Federal-aid (FA) highways.'' This term refers 
to the Federal-aid primary (FAP), Federal-aid secondary (FAS), and 
Federal-aid urban (FAU) systems, as indicated in the current definition 
of ``Enforcing or Enforcement'' in 23 CFR 657.3 and as provided in 23 
U.S.C. 141. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 
1991 (ISTEA) (Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914) eliminated these old 
highway system categories and replaced them with the National Highway 
System (NHS) as the Federal-aid highway system for the purpose of 
apportioning Federal highway funds. It left unchanged the requirement 
in 23 U.S.C. 141 that States enforce their size and weight laws on the 
FAP, FAS, and FAU. Section 4006(c) of the ISTEA did preserve the 
Secretary's authority to designate FAP routes as part of the National 
Network but limited it to FAP routes in existence as of June 1, 1991. 
The requirements of 23 U.S.C. 141 were reflected in 23 CFR 657.15(c)(1) 
by requiring States to certify that their size and weight laws are 
being enforced on those highways which, prior to October 1, 1991, were 
designated as part of the FAP, FAS, and FAU. This date was selected 
because it is the start of the States' yearly enforcement period.
    Therefore, the FHWA proposes to amend 23 CFR 657.1 to replace the 
reference to ``Federal-aid (FA) highways'' with ``highways which, prior 
to October 1, 1991, were designated as part of the Federal-aid 
Interstate, Federal-aid primary, Federal-aid secondary, or Federal-aid 
urban systems.'' The October 1, 1991, date is the same as that adopted 
in connection with the certification in 23 CFR 657.15(c)(1).

Section 657.3 Definitions

    The FHWA proposes to amend the definition of ``Enforcing or 
Enforcement'' to delete the old references to ``Federal-aid (FA) 
highways'' and to replace this reference with ``highways which, prior 
to October 1, 1991, were designated as part of the Federal-aid 
Interstate, Federal-aid primary, Federal-aid secondary, or Federal-aid 
urban systems'' for the reasons noted above.
    Prior to a final rule published June 13, 1994 (59 FR 30392, 30416), 
section 657.15(b) required States to identify and analyze enforcement 
efforts in ``urban areas'' not subject to State size and weight 
enforcement. The FHWA recognized such areas as those with a population 
of 5,000 or more. Since the intent of section 658.15(b) was to ensure 
adequate enforcement in larger cities, the 1994 final rule changed the 
requirement to ``urbanized areas,'' meaning those with a population of 
50,000 or more. However, the 1994 rule failed to define ``urbanized 
areas.'' In order to clarify the intent of the change, this notice 
proposes to adopt a definition of ``urbanized areas'' in 23 CFR 657.3 
as areas with a population of 50,000 or more, as defined in 23 U.S.C. 
101.

Section 657.11 Evaluation of Operations

    Prior to creation of the FMCSA, the responsibility for the 
enforcement of vehicle size and weight laws and regulations was a 
function of the Office of Motor Carriers within the FHWA. Evaluation or 
operations reports were forwarded through the Regional Director of 
Motor Carriers. After the creation of the FMCSA, various driver and 
vehicle safety inspection functions were transferred from the FHWA's 
Office of Motor Carriers to the FMCSA in a final rule published on 
October 19, 1999 (64 FR 56270). Not transferred, but remaining within 
FHWA, was enforcement of commercial motor vehicle size and weight laws 
and regulations. The FHWA proposes to

[[Page 25518]]

remove outdated references to the Office of Motor Carriers and the 
Regional Director of Motor Carriers in paragraphs (a) and (b). The 
proposed changes reflect changes to the agency's organizational 
structure, but do not change the intent or requirements of the section.

Section 657.15 Certification Content

    The FHWA proposes to add a period after the citation, ``* * * 49 
U.S.C. 31112'' in 23 CFR 657.15(b) so that the word ``Urbanized'' is 
the start of a new sentence. It also proposes to delete the last 
sentence in 23 CFR 657.15(e) because it is out of date. The requirement 
that laws and regulations pertaining to special permits and penalties 
be specifically identified and analyzed in accordance with section 123 
of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-599, 
92 Stat. 2689) has been eliminated by section 3003 of the Federal 
Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-66, 109 Stat. 1914). 
Therefore, the FHWA proposes to eliminate the requirement to collect 
this data, since it not only serves no purpose, but also is duplicative 
of other requirements for this information. The States would still be 
required to report on penalties and permits because policies and 
practices in regard to each would still be included as part of the 
State enforcement plans required pursuant to 23 CFR 657.9(b)(1)(ii) and 
(iii).
    The FHWA is further proposing to eliminate a burdensome regulatory 
requirement found in section 657.15(f)(3)(iii) related to the reporting 
of overwidth movements for divisible loads. The requirement for States 
to report the number of permits issued for overwidth movement of a 
divisible load is no longer necessary and therefore the FHWA proposes 
that it be eliminated. Section 3003 of the Federal Reports Elimination 
and Sunset Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-66, 109 Stat. 707) eliminated this 
reporting requirement. In addition, the number of divisible overwidth 
permits issued by States has never been considered in determining 
whether a State is adequately enforcing its size and weight laws. The 
States have retained the authority to allow overwidth vehicles on the 
National Network by requiring a permit, and may issue any number of 
such permits on any basis that is deemed appropriate. Consequently, 
eliminating the need to report on the number of divisible overwidth 
permits issued would relieve States of an unnecessary and burdensome 
reporting requirement. This requirement would be deleted from section 
657.15(f)(3)(iii).

Section 657.17 Certification Submittal

    References to the Office of Motor Carriers in 657.17(a) and (b) 
would be replaced in this proposed rule by references to the FHWA. In 
addition, the references in 657.17(b) to the ``Office of Motor 
Carriers'' and ``Associate Administrator for Motor Carriers'' would be 
eliminated, because those positions no longer exist.

Section 657.19 Effect of Failure To Certify or To Enforce State Laws 
Adequately

    The FHWA proposes to amend this section to replace the outdated 
reference to ``Federal-aid highways.'' The requirements in this section 
apply not to current Federal-aid highways (which comprise the National 
Highway System (NHS)), but to highways which, prior to October 1, 1991, 
were designated as part of the Federal-aid primary (FAP), Federal-aid 
secondary, (FAS) and Federal-aid urban (FAU) systems.
    The second Federal-aid reference is correct because it refers to 
Federal-aid funds for the NHS that would be withheld if a State failed 
to adequately enforce its size and weight limits on highways that, 
prior to October 1, 1991, were designated as the FAP, FAS, and FAU 
systems.

Part 658

Section 658.5 Definitions

    The current definition for ``Commercial motor vehicle'' was issued 
in a final rule published March 12, 2004 (69 FR 11994) and excluded RVs 
during the relatively small amounts of time when they are operated for 
a commercial purpose, such as being driven from a manufacturer to a 
dealer. However, the definition as currently written is flawed because 
it would exclude them only when ``operated'' as RVs, i.e., when used 
for a private recreational purpose. As a result, RVs operated for a 
commercial purpose remained CMVs subject to Federal width limits. The 
FHWA is proposing to amend the definition to clarify those movements 
that include transportation to/from the manufacturer for customer 
delivery, sale, or display purposes are not subject to the provisions 
of this part. The FHWA believes that the rare occasions and limited 
periods of time in which a recreational vehicle is operated to/from the 
manufacturer does not change the characteristic of a vehicle enough to 
merit inclusion in the regulation. The FHWA invites comments on the 
possible safety effects of this proposed change.
    The definition of ``nondivisible'' load or vehicle'' provides 
criteria to determine whether or not a load is nondivisible. This 
definition is important, because with few exceptions, a State may not 
issue an overweight permit for a divisible load. This notice proposes 
to expand these criteria to include vehicles loaded with salt, sand, 
chemicals or a combination of these materials, to be used in spreading 
the materials on any winter roads, and when operating as emergency 
response vehicles. These vehicles may be equipped with, or without, a 
plow or blade in front. These vehicles would necessarily use the 
Interstate System while performing its duties in order to access other 
roads. Although these vehicles transport divisible loads and could be 
loaded to less than capacity in order to comply with Federal Interstate 
weight limits, it would be counterproductive to their mission to 
require them to return to their depots for reloading more often. This 
would render them less effective in responding to emergency road 
conditions. In addition, the vehicles would be overweight for only a 
portion of their movement, since the load would be reduced as the 
material was deployed.
    The FHWA has recognized the importance of treating snow or ice-
covered highways quickly and efficiently. The proposed revision to the 
definition of ``non-divisible load or vehicle'' will facilitate the 
ability of States to meet emergency snow and ice conditions through the 
issuance of special overweight permits for emergency response vehicles. 
This proposed change would not extend to vehicles transporting sand, 
salt, and/or chemicals for other purposes than those specified above. 
The FHWA believes that this proposed change would be a reasonable 
action, balancing the safety of the motoring public during harsh winter 
weather against the effects of a temporarily overweight snow and ice 
removal vehicle. FHWA invites public comment on this proposed change to 
the regulations.
    Section 4141 of SAFETEA-LU amended section 31111(a) of title 49, 
United States Code, to include a definition of ``Drive-away Saddlemount 
with Fullmount Vehicle Transporter Combination'' and to impose a 
vehicle length limitation of not less than or more than 97 feet on a 
drive-away saddlemount with fullmount vehicle transporter combinations. 
The SAFETEA-LU section 4141 defines the term ``Drive-away Saddlemount 
with Fullmount Vehicle Transporter Combination'' to mean ``a vehicle 
combination designed and specifically used to tow up to 3 trucks or 
truck tractors, each connected by a saddle to

[[Page 25519]]

the frame or fifth-wheel of the forward vehicle of the truck or truck 
tractor in front of it.'' House committee staff that drafted the 
amendment alerted the FHWA that the lack of reference in the definition 
to the fullmount vehicle was intended to expand the term to include 
saddlemount combinations with or without fullmount. The FHWA believes 
that this is a reasonable interpretation of the SAFETEA-LU provision. 
As a result, the FHWA proposes to add the definition of ``Drive-away 
Saddlemount Vehicle Transporter Combination'' to its regulations, 
omitting the term fullmount, and amend its regulations at 23 CFR part 
658 to extend the 97 foot length limitation to all drive-away 
saddlemount vehicle combinations that are specifically designed to tow 
up to 3 trucks or truck tractors, each connected by a saddle to the 
frame or fifth wheel of the forward vehicle of the truck or truck 
tractor in front of it.
    Section 347 of the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 
(Pub. L. 108-7, 117 Stat. 419) included ``over-the-road bus(es)'' in 
the temporary exemption already provided for transit vehicles that 
allows them to exceed established Federal Interstate axle weights 
during Interstate operations. Section 658.5, however, does not contain 
a definition of ``over-the-road bus.'' The FHWA therefore proposes 
incorporating the previously established definition of ``over-the-road 
bus'' found in section 12181(5) of title 42, United States Code into 
Sec.  658.5.

Section 658.13 Length

    Section 4112 of SAFETEA-LU explicitly adds special rules for 
certain property-carrying units operating in Nebraska. Specifically, 
truck-tractors pulling trailers or semitrailers, used to transport 
custom harvester equipment during harvest months, may be allowed to 
operate on Nebraska highways at a length of up to 81 feet, 6 inches. 
The FHWA therefore proposes to amend Sec.  658.13 to reflect this 
statutory change.
    Section 4141 of SAFETEA-LU amended 49 U.S.C. 31111(a) and (b) by 
inserting a definition of ``Drive-away Saddlemount with Fullmount 
Vehicle Transporter Combination'' and preempted the States from 
prescribing or enforcing a regulation that ``imposes a vehicle length 
limitation of not less than or more than 97 feet'' on these vehicle 
combinations. As discussed above, the FHWA is proposing to amend the 
specialized equipment provision Sec.  658.13(e)(1)(iii) to incorporate 
this statutory length limit that is now applicable to drive-away 
saddlemount vehicle transporter combinations.

Section 658.15 Width

    Section 658.15(c)(2) currently exempts recreational vehicles from 
width limitations. Because, as discussed above, the FHWA is proposing 
to amend 23 CFR 658.5 to eliminate any Federal role in regulating the 
width of RVs as commercial motor vehicles, the agency is also proposing 
to eliminate this paragraph.

Section 658.17 Weight

    Section 347 of the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 
(Pub. L. 108-7, 117 Stat. 419) included over-the-road buses in the 
temporary exemption for transit vehicles. The definition of over-the-
road bus used is that found in section 12181(5) of title 42, United 
States Code. Section 1309 of SAFETEA-LU extended the temporary 
exemption until October 1, 2009. Subsequently, the Transportation, 
Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of 
Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 
109-115, 199 Stat. 2396) provided that a covered State, or any 
political subdivision in such State, may not enforce a single axle 
weight limitation of less than 24,000 pounds, including enforcement 
tolerances, on any transit or over-the-road bus. A ``covered state'' 
means a State that has enforced, in the period beginning October 6, 
1992, and ending on November 30, 2005, a single axle weight limitation 
of 20,000 pounds or greater but less than 24,000 pounds. As a result, 
the FHWA proposes to amend the regulations in order to reflect the new, 
24,000-pound axle weight provision mandated by Congress.
    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-58, 119 Stat. 594) 
amended 23 U.S.C. 127(a) to allow an increase in the Federal weight 
limits by up to 400 pounds to account for idle reduction systems or 
auxiliary power units installed in any heavy-duty vehicle. The intent 
of this provision is to promote the use of technologies that reduce 
fuel consumption and emissions that result from engine idling. To 
qualify for this exception, drivers must present proof by demonstration 
and/or certification from the manufacturer, that the idle reduction 
technology is functional at all times, does not exceed 400 pounds gross 
weight (including fuel), and that the unit cannot be used for any other 
purpose. The FHWA is therefore proposing regulations to implement the 
standards for certification and weight tolerances of this new statutory 
provision. The FHWA encourages public comment on how the certification 
and demonstration required by this provision might best be carried out 
by State enforcement authorities or other sources.

Section 658.23 LCV Freeze; Cargo-Carrying Unit Freeze

    As previously noted, prior to creation of the FMCSA, the 
responsibility for the enforcement of vehicle size and weight laws and 
regulations was a function delegated to the Office of Motor Carriers 
within the FHWA. After the creation of the FMCSA, various driver and 
vehicle safety inspection functions were transferred from the FHWA and 
the Office of Motor Carriers was eliminated. Consequently, the FHWA 
proposes to replace obsolete references to the Office of Motor Carriers 
with references to the FHWA.

Appendix A to 23 CFR 658--National Network--Federally-Designated Routes

    Section 411(e)(1) of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 
1982 (Pub. L. 97-424, 96 Stat. 2100) authorized the Secretary to 
designate Federal-Aid Primary (FAP) routes (including the Interstate 
System) where States must allow vehicles subject to Federal length and 
width requirements to operate. The resulting ``National Network'' is 
shown in appendix A to 23 CFR part 658. However, the explanatory column 
headings in appendix A currently contain an improper reference to the 
Federal-aid Primary highways.
    This heading is not only incorrect but also unnecessary. It is 
incorrect because the final rule implementing the Intermodal Surface 
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (Pub. L. 102-240, 105 
Stat. 1914) published June 13, 1991 (59 FR 30392) noted that, ``The 
ISTEA [in section 4006(c)] effectively replaced what had been known as 
the FAP system with the NHS (National Highway System).'' Thus, it is 
inappropriate to refer to the Federal-aid Primary Highway as it no 
longer exists. Further, the explanation is unnecessary because there is 
no need to indicate how the routes were derived since they are 
specifically listed. Therefore, the FHWA proposes to revise the 
explanatory heading of the columns in appendix A to read as follows:

    [The federally-designated routes on the National Network consist 
of the Interstate System, except as noted, and the following 
additional highways.]

    Similarly, the listing for 16 States (AR, CO, IN, KS, LA, MS, MT, 
NE, NV, OH, OK, SD, TX, UT, WA, and WY) in appendix A are followed by 
an explanatory statement that reads as follows:


[[Page 25520]]


    No additional routes have been federally designated; STAA 
dimensioned commercial vehicles may legally operate on all Federal-
aid Primary highways under State law.

    This statement is incorrect because there are no longer any 
highways designated as FAP, however highways on the National Network 
have not been specifically listed for these States so a general 
description is necessary. As noted earlier, the ISTEA preserved the 
Secretary's authority to designate National Network routes from FAP 
routes in existence as of June 1, 1991. Therefore, the FHWA proposes to 
revise the explanatory statement to read as follows:

    No additional routes have been federally designated; STAA 
dimensioned commercial vehicles may legally operate on all highways 
which, prior to June 1, 1991, were designated as Federal-aid Primary 
highways.

    The State of New Mexico has notified the FHWA of route number 
changes for routes on its portion of the National Network. These 
changes are numerical only and will not change the original network. 
The FHWA is therefore proposing to amend appendix A to reflect these 
route number changes. A portion of NM 550 has been re-designated NM 
516, U.S. 80 has been re-designated NM 80, U.S. 64 now terminates at NM 
516 Farmington, and U.S. 666 has been re-designated as NM 491.

Appendix B to Part 658--Grandfathered Semitrailer Lengths

    Footnotes 1, 2, and 3 in appendix B to 23 CFR 658 refer to 23 CFR 
658.13(h). However, section 658.13 was reorganized in a previous 
rulemaking action, at 67 FR 15110, March 29, 2002, and the provisions 
that formerly appeared in paragraph (h) are now found in paragraph (g). 
The footnotes will be corrected accordingly.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    All comments received before the close of business on the comment 
closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available 
for examination in the docket at the above address. Comments received 
after the comment closing date will be filed in the docket and will be 
considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, the 
FHWA will also continue to file relevant information in the docket as 
it becomes available after the comment period closing date, and 
interested persons should continue to examine the docket for new 
material. A final rule may be published at any time after close of the 
comment period.

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined preliminarily that this action is not a 
significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 
12866 and would not be significant within the meaning of the U.S. 
Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This 
proposed rule will not adversely affect, in a material way, any sector 
of the economy. This proposed action changes out-dated references to 
offices within the FHWA and updates the current regulations to reflect 
changes made by the Congress in SAFETEA-LU and other recent 
legislation. Additionally, this proposed action would add various 
definitions; correct obsolete references, definitions, and footnotes; 
eliminate redundant provisions; amend numerical route changes to the 
National Highway designations; and incorporate a statutorily mandated 
weight limit provision. There will not be any additional costs incurred 
by any affected group as a result of this rule. In addition, these 
proposed changes will not interfere with any action taken or planned by 
another agency and will not materially alter the budgetary impact of 
any entitlements, grants, user fees or loan programs. Consequently, a 
regulatory evaluation is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have evaluated the effects of this proposed 
action on small entities and have determined that the proposed action 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The FHWA certifies that this action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This proposed action has been analyzed in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, and the 
FHWA has preliminarily determined that this proposed action would not 
warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. Any federalism 
implications arising from this proposed rule are attributable to 
SAFETEA-LU sections 4112 and 4141. The FHWA has determined that this 
proposed action would not affect the States' ability to discharge 
traditional State government functions.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program. Accordingly, the 
FHWA solicits comments on this issue.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501), 
Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, 
or require through regulations. The FHWA has determined that this 
proposal does not contain collection of information requirements for 
the purposes of the PRA.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This proposed rule would not impose unfunded mandates as defined by 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48). 
This proposed rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local 
and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of 
$120.7 million or more in any one year. (2 U.S.C. 1532) Further, in 
compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, the FHWA will 
evaluate any regulatory action that might be proposed in subsequent 
stages of the proceeding to assess the effects on State, local, and 
tribal governments and the private sector.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This proposed action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize 
litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action under Executive Order 
13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and 
Safety Risks. The FHWA certifies that this proposed action would not 
cause any environmental risk to health or safety that may 
disproportionately affect children.

[[Page 25521]]

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 
12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally 
Protected Property Rights. The FHWA does not anticipate that this 
proposed action would affect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-
4347) and has determined that this proposed action will not have any 
effect on the quality of the environment.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, 
dated November 6, 2000, and believes that the proposed action would not 
have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; would not 
impose substantial compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and 
will not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact 
statement is not required.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a significant 
energy action under that order because it is not a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have 
a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution or use of 
energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory section listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross-reference this section with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Parts 657 and 658

    Grants Program--transportation, Highways and roads, Motor carriers.

    Issued on: April 21, 2006.
Frederick G. Wright,
Federal Highway Administration Executive Director.
    In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA proposes to amend 
Chapter I of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, by revising Parts 
657 and 658, respectively, as set forth below.

PART 657--CERTIFICATION OF SIZE AND WEIGHT ENFORCEMENT

    1. Revise the authority citation for part 657 to read as follows:

    Authority: Sec. 123, Pub. L. 95-599, 92 Stat. 2689, 23 U.S.C. 
127, 141 and 315; 49 U.S.C. 31111, 31113 and 31114; sec. 1023, Pub. 
L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914; and 49 CFR 1.48(b)(19), (b)(23), (c)(1) 
and (c)(19).

    2. Revise Sec.  657.1 to read as follows:


Sec.  657.1  Purpose.

    To prescribe requirements for administering a program of vehicle 
size and weight enforcement on highways which, prior to October 1, 
1991, were designated as part of the Federal-aid Interstate, Federal-
aid Primary, Federal-aid Secondary, or Federal-aid Urban Systems, 
including the required annual certification by the State.
    3. Revise Sec.  657.3 to read as follows:


Sec.  657.3  Definitions.

    Unless otherwise specified in this part, the definitions in 23 
U.S.C. 101(a) are applicable to this part. As used in this part:
    Enforcing or Enforcement means all actions by the State to obtain 
compliance with size and weight requirements by all vehicles operating 
on highways which, prior to October 1, 1991, were designated as part of 
the Federal-aid Interstate, Federal-aid Primary, Federal-aid Secondary, 
or Federal-aid Urban Systems.
    Urbanized area means an area with a population of 50,000 or more.
    4. Revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) and revise paragraph 
(b) of Sec.  657.11 to read as follows:


Sec.  657.11  Evaluation of operations.

    (a) The State shall submit its enforcement plan or annual update to 
the FHWA Division Office by July 1 of each year. * * *
    (b) The FHWA shall review the State's operation under the accepted 
plan on a continuing basis and shall prepare an evaluation report 
annually. The State will be advised of the results of the evaluation 
and of any needed changes in the plan itself or in its implementation. 
Copies of the evaluation reports and subsequent modifications resulting 
from the evaluation shall be forwarded to the FHWA's Office of 
Operations.
    5. Revise paragraphs (b), (e), and (f)(3)(iii) of Sec.  657.15 to 
read as follows:


Sec.  657.15  Certification content.

* * * * *
    (b) A statement by the Governor of the State, or an official 
designated by the Governor, that all State size and weight limits are 
being enforced on the Interstate System and those routes which, prior 
to October 1, 1991, were designated as part of the Federal-aid 
Interstate, Federal-aid Primary, Urban, and Secondary Systems, and that 
the State is enforcing and complying with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 
127(d) and 49 U.S.C. 31112. Urbanized areas not subject to State 
jurisdiction shall be identified. The statement shall include an 
analysis of enforcement efforts in such areas.
* * * * *
    (e) A copy of any State law or regulation pertaining to vehicle 
size and weights adopted since the State's last certification and an 
analysis of the changes made.
    (f) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iii) Permits. The number of permits issued for overweight loads 
shall be reported. The reported numbers shall specify permits for 
divisible and nondivisible loads and whether issued on a trip or annual 
basis.
    6. Revise Sec.  657.17 to read as follows:


Sec.  657.17  Certification submittal.

    (a) The Governor, or an official designated by the Governor, shall 
submit the certification to the FHWA division office prior to January 1 
of each year.
    (b) The FHWA division office shall forward the original 
certification to the FHWA's Office of Operations and one copy to the 
Office of Chief Counsel. Copies of appropriate evaluations and/or 
comments shall accompany any transmittal.
    7. Revise Sec.  657.19 to read as follows:


Sec.  657.19  Effect of failure to certify or to enforce State laws 
adequately.

    If a State fails to certify as required by this regulation or if 
the Secretary determines that a State is not adequately enforcing all 
State laws respecting maximum vehicle sizes and weights on highways 
which, prior to October 1, 1991, were designated as part of the 
Federal-aid Interstate, Federal-aid primary, Federal-aid secondary or 
Federal-aid urban systems, notwithstanding the State's certification, 
the Federal-aid funds for the National Highway System apportioned to 
the

[[Page 25522]]

State for the next fiscal year shall be reduced by an amount equal to 
10 percent of the amount which would otherwise be apportioned to the 
State under 23 U.S.C. 104, and/or by the amount required pursuant to 23 
U.S.C. 127.

PART 658--TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT, ROUTE DESIGNATIONS--LENGTH, WIDTH 
AND WEIGHT LIMITATIONS

    8. The authority citation for part 658 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 127 and 315; 49 U.S.C. 31111, 31112, and 
31114; 49 CFR 1.48(b)(19) and (c)(19).

    9. Amend Sec.  658.5 by revising the definition of ``commercial 
motor vehicle'' and paragraph (2) of the definition of ``nondivisible 
load or vehicle''; and adding definitions of ``drive-away saddlemount 
vehicle transporter combinations'' and ``over-the-road bus'' to read as 
follows:


Sec.  658.5  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Commercial motor vehicle. For purposes of this regulation, a motor 
vehicle designed or regularly used to carry freight, merchandise, or 
more than ten passengers, whether loaded or empty, including buses, but 
not including vehicles used for vanpools, or recreational vehicles.
    Drive-away saddlemount vehicle transporter combination. The term 
drive-away saddlemount vehicle transporter combination means a vehicle 
combination designed and specifically used to tow up to 3 trucks or 
truck tractors, each connected by a saddle to the frame or fifth wheel 
of the forward vehicle of the truck tractor in front of it. Such 
combinations may include up to one fullmount.
* * * * *
    Nondivisible load or vehicle.
    (1) * * *
    (2) A State may treat as nondivisible loads or vehicles: Emergency 
response vehicles, including those loaded with salt, sand, chemicals or 
a combination thereof, with or without a plow or blade attached in 
front, and being used for the purpose of spreading the material on 
highways that are or may become slick or icy; casks designed for the 
transport of spent nuclear materials; and military vehicles 
transporting marked military equipment or materiel.
    Over-the-road bus. The term over-the-road bus means a bus 
characterized by an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage 
compartment, and typically operating on the Interstate System or roads 
previously designated as making up the Federal-aid Primary System.
* * * * *
    10. Amend Sec.  658.13 by revising paragraph (e)(1)(iii) and by 
adding paragraph (h) to read as follows:


Sec.  658.13  Length.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) Drive-away Saddlemount vehicle transporter combinations are 
considered to be specialized equipment. No State shall impose an 
overall length limit of less or more than 97 feet on such combinations. 
This provision applies to drive-away saddlemount combinations with up 
to three saddlemounted vehicles. Such combinations may include one 
fullmount. Saddlemount combinations must also comply with the 
applicable motor carrier safety regulations at 49 CFR 393.71.
* * * * *
    (h) Truck-tractors, pulling 2 trailers or semitrailers, used to 
transport custom harvester equipment during harvest months within the 
State of Nebraska may not exceed 81 feet 6 inches.
    11. Revise paragraph (c) of Sec.  658.15 to read as follows:


Sec.  658.15  Width.

* * * * *
    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other 
provision of law, a State may grant special use permits to motor 
vehicles, including manufactured housing, that exceed 102 inches in 
width.
    12. In Sec.  658.17, revise paragraph (k) and add paragraph (n) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  658.17  Weight.

* * * * *
    (k) Any over-the-road bus, or any vehicle which is regularly and 
exclusively used as an intrastate public agency transit passenger bus, 
is excluded from the axle weight limits in paragraphs (c) through (e) 
of this section until October 1, 2009. Any State that has enforced, 
during the period beginning October 6, 1992 and November 30, 2005, a 
single axle weight limitation of 20,000 pounds or greater but less than 
24,000 pounds may not enforce a single axle weight limit on these 
vehicles of less than 24,000 pounds.
* * * * *
    (n) Any vehicle subject to this subpart that utilizes an auxiliary 
power or idle reduction technology unit in order to promote reduction 
of fuel use and emissions because of engine idling, may be allowed up 
to an additional 400 pounds total in gross, axle, and/or tandem axle 
weights. To be eligible for this exception, the operator of the vehicle 
must be able to prove, by demonstration and/or certification from the 
manufacturer, that the idle reduction technology is functional at all 
times, does not exceed 400 pounds gross weight (including fuel), and 
that the 400 pound weight increase is not used for any other purpose. 
Such certification must be available to law enforcement officers at all 
times.
    13. Revise paragraphs (c) and (e) of Sec.  658.23 to read as 
follows:


Sec.  658.23  LCV freeze; cargo-carrying unit freeze.

* * * * *
    (c) For specific safety purposes and road construction, a State may 
make minor adjustments of a temporary and emergency nature to route 
designation and vehicle operating restrictions applicable to 
combinations subject to 23 U.S.C. 127(d) and 49 U.S.C. 31112 and in 
effect on June 1, 1991 (July 6, 1991, for Alaska). Adjustments which 
last 30 days or less may be made without notifying the FHWA. Minor 
adjustments which exceed 30 days require approval of the FHWA. When 
such adjustments are needed, a State must submit to the FHWA, by the 
end of the 30th day, a written description of the emergency, the date 
on which it began, and the date on which it is expected to conclude. If 
the adjustment involves route designations the State shall describe the 
new route on which vehicles otherwise subject to the freeze imposed by 
23 U.S.C. 127(d) and 49 U.S.C. 31112 are allowed to operate. To the 
extent possible, the geometric and pavement design characteristics of 
the alternate route should be equivalent to those of the highway 
section which is temporarily unavailable. If the adjustment involves 
vehicle operating restrictions, the State shall list the restrictions 
that have been removed or modified. If the adjustment is approved, the 
FHWA will publish the notice of adjustment, with an expiration date, in 
the Federal Register. Requests for extension of time beyond the 
originally established conclusion date shall be subject to the same 
approval and publications process as the original request. If upon 
consultation with the FHWA a decision is reached that minor adjustments 
made by a State are not legitimately attributable to road or bridge 
construction or safety, the FHWA will inform the State, and the 
original conditions of the freeze may be reimposed immediately. Failure 
to do so may subject the State to a penalty pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 141.
* * * * *

[[Page 25523]]

    (e) States further restricting or prohibiting the operation of 
vehicles subject to 23 U.S.C. 127(d) and 49 U.S.C. 31112 after June 1, 
1991, shall notify the FHWA within 30 days after the restriction is 
effective. The FHWA will publish the restriction in the Federal 
Register as an amendment to appendix C to this part. Failure to provide 
such notification may subject the State to a penalty pursuant to 23 
U.S.C. 141.
* * * * *

Appendix A to Section 658--National Network--Federally Designated 
Routes

    14. Amend appendix A to part 658 as follows:
    A. By removing the words ``[The federally-designated routes on the 
National Network consist of the Interstate System, except as noted, and 
the following additional highways.]'' and adding, in their place, the 
words ``[The federally-designated routes on the National Network 
consist of the Interstate System, except as noted, and the following 
additional highways.]'' in each place that they appear;
    B. By removing the explanatory phrase ``No additional routes have 
been federally designated; STAA-dimensioned commercial vehicles may 
legally operate on all Federal-aid Primary highways under State law'' 
for the States of Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, 
Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and add, in its place, the words, ``No 
additional routes have been federally designated; STAA-dimensioned 
commercial vehicles may legally operate on all highways which, prior to 
June 1, 1991, were designated as Federal-aid primary highways.'';
    C. By revising the entries for ``New Mexico'' to read as follows:

                                                   New Mexico
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
US 56................................  I-25 Springer................  OK State Line.
US 60................................  AZ State Line................  I-25 Socorro.
US 62................................  U.S. 285 Carlsbad............  TX State Line.
US 64................................  AZ State Line................  NM 516 Farmington.
US 70................................  AZ State Line................  I-10 Lordsburg.
US 70................................  I-10 Las Cruces..............  U.S. 54 Tularosa.
US 70................................  U.S. 285 Roswell.............  U.S. 84 Clovis.
NM 80................................  AZ State Line................  I-10 Road Forks.
US 84................................  TX State Line Clovis.........  CO State Line.
US 87................................  U.S. 56 Clayton..............  TX State Line.
US 160...............................  AZ State Line (Four Corners).  CO State Line.
US 285...............................  TX State Line s. of Carlsbad.  CO State Line.
NM 491...............................  1-40 Gallup..................  CO State Line.
US 516...............................  U.S. 64 Farmington...........  U.S. 550 Aztec.
US 550...............................  NM 516 Aztec.................  CO State Line.
US 666...............................  I-40 Gallup..................  CO State Line.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix B to Part 658--Grandfathered Semitrailer Lengths

    15. Amend appendix B to Part 658 in footnotes 1,2, and 3 by 
removing the reference ``23 CFR 658.13(h)'' and by adding in its place 
``23 CFR 658.13(g)'' each place it appears.

29 [FR Doc. E6-6422 Filed 4-28-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P