[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 9 (Monday, January 14, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2711-2713]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00510]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0370]


Hours of Service of Drivers: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); 
Application for Exemption

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA has received an application from the U.S. Department of 
Energy (DOE) for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision 
of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor 
vehicle drivers. The exemption would enable DOE's contract motor 
carriers and their employee-drivers engaged in the transportation of 
security-sensitive radioactive materials to be treated similarly to 
drivers of shipments of explosives. The exempted drivers would be 
allowed to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the HOS 
rest break requirements providing they do not perform any other work 
during the break. FMCSA requests public comment on DOE's application 
for exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 13, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2012-0370 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: //www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     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-

[[Page 2712]]

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 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 www.regulations.gov, and follow the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street address 
listed above.
    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 the 
U.S. Department of Transportation's online privacy policy at 
www.dot.gov/privacy or the complete Privacy Act Statement in the 
Federal Register published on December 29, 2010 (75 FR 82133).
    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: Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Bus and Truck Standards and 
Operations; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
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 any safety analyses that have been conducted. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
request.
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 
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 decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application 
and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving 
the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is 
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period and explain 
the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed 
(49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Request for Exemption

    Certain motor carriers under contract to the U.S. Department of 
Energy (DOE) transport ``security-sensitive radioactive materials.'' 
DOE notes that the term includes transuranic waste; spent nuclear fuel; 
radioactive sources classified as category 1 and 2 materials by the 
International Atomic Energy Agency, including ``Highway route 
controlled quantities,'' as defined in 49 CFR 173.403; or known 
radionuclides in forms listed as RAM-QC by the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission.
    DOE requests a limited exemption from the HOS regulation pertaining 
to rest breaks [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)], to allow contract driver-
employees transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials to be 
treated the same as drivers transporting explosives, as provided in 
Sec.  395.1(q). Section 395.1(q) states that operators of commercial 
motor vehicles (CMV) carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives 
subject to the requirement for a 30-minute rest break in Sec.  
395.3(a)(3)(ii) may use 30 minutes or more of ``attendance time'' to 
meet the requirement for a rest break. Section 395.3(a)(3) becomes 
effective on July 1, 2013.
    DOE contends that shipments of security-sensitive radioactive 
materials require a team of two drivers and the use of a sleeper berth 
to minimize risk and expedite delivery in a safe and secure manner. DOE 
asserts that granting the exemption would allow team drivers to manage 
their en-route rest periods efficiently and also perform mandated 
shipment security surveillance, resulting in a safe and secure driving 
performance during a long distance trip.
    DOE states that it has instituted several technical and 
administrative controls to ensure the effective use of driver on-duty 
and rest-break time, which would remain in effect under the requested 
exemption. They include the following:
     Real-time tracking and monitoring of transuranic waste and 
security-sensitive shipments using DOE's satellite-based systems.
     Use of electronic on-board recorders on trucks, which is 
contractually required by for motor carriers involved in the Waste 
Isolation Pilot Plant to ensure compliance with driver HOS rules.
     Continuous monitoring of the safety performance of DOE-
qualified motor carriers using the FMCSA Compliance Safety 
Accountability Program's Safety Measurement System, and DOE's Motor 
Carrier Evaluation Program.
    Further details regarding DOE's safety controls can be found in its 
application for exemption. The application can be accessed in the 
docket identified at the beginning of this notice. DOE contends that 
these controls enable them to achieve a high level of safety and 
security for transportation of security-sensitive radioactive 
materials.
    DOE anticipates no safety impacts from this exemption and notes 
that in the preamble to the FMCSA final rule on the ``Hours of Service 
of Drivers,'' dated December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81134), the Agency 
addressed concerns from commenters regarding rest breaks for carriers 
of hazardous materials. Section 395.1(q) allows drivers who are 
required by Sec.  397.5 to attend a motor vehicle transporting certain 
types of explosives but perform no other work, to log at least a half-
hour of their attendance time toward the break. The Agency cited a 
recent study showing that on-duty breaks reduce the risk of crashes 
after the break [76 FR 81154].
    DOE believes that its contract employee drivers should be allowed 
to follow the requirements in Sec.  395.1(q) when transporting 
shipments of security-sensitive radioactive materials. DOE believes 
that shipments made under the requested exemption would achieve a level 
of safety and security that is at least equivalent to that which would 
be obtained by following the normal break requirement in Sec.  
395.3(a)(3)(ii).
    DOE estimates that 30 power units and 53 drivers would currently be 
eligible for the exemption, if granted. The proposed exemption would be 
effective from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015, the maximum period 
allowed

[[Page 2713]]

by Sec.  381.300. A copy of DOE's exemption application is available 
for review in the docket for this notice.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment on DOE's application for an exemption from 
certain provisions of the driver's record of duty status rules in 49 
CFR part 395. The Agency will consider all comments received by close 
of business on February 13, 2013. 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 comment period.

    Issued on: January 8, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-00510 Filed 1-11-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P