[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 160 (Tuesday, August 19, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 49044-49045]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19637]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 380, 383, and 384

[Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27748]
RIN 2126-AB66


Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Drivers' 
License Applicants; Consideration of Negotiated Rulemaking Process

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that the Agency is exploring the feasibility 
of conducting a negotiated rulemaking (Reg Neg) concerning entry-level 
training for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Specifically, 
the Agency is exploring a Reg Neg to implement the entry-level driver 
training (ELDT) provisions in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st 
Century Act (MAP-21). The FMCSA has hired a convener to speak with 
interested parties about the feasibility of conducting of an ELDT Reg 
Neg. FMCSA anticipates that these interested parties may include driver 
organizations, CMV training organizations, motor carriers (of property 
and passengers) and industry associations, State licensing agencies, 
State enforcement agencies, labor unions, safety advocacy groups, and 
insurance companies.

DATES: Please submit your comments no later than September 18, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number FMCSA-
2007-27748 using any one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department 
of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this 
document, call or email Mr. Richard Clemente, Transportation 
Specialist, FMCSA, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, 
202-366-4325, [email protected]. If you have questions on viewing or 
submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Barbara Hairston, Program 
Manager, Docket Operations, 202-366-3024, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the early 1980s, the Federal Highway 
Administration's (FHWA) Office of Motor Carriers, predecessor agency to 
the FMCSA, determined that there was a need for technical guidance in 
the area of truck driver training. Research showed that few driver 
training institutions offered a structured curriculum or a standardized 
training program for any type of CMV driver. A 1995 study entitled 
``Assessing the Adequacy of Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Training'' 
(the Adequacy Report) concluded, among other things, that effective 
ELDT needs to include behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction on how to 
operate a heavy vehicle.
    In 2004, FMCSA implemented a driver training rule that focused on 
areas unrelated to the hands-on operation of a CMV, relying instead on 
the commercial driver's license (CDL) knowledge and skills tests to 
encourage training in the operation of CMVs. These current training 
regulations in 49 CFR Part 380, subpart E cover four areas: (1) Driver 
qualifications; (2) hours of service limitations; (3) wellness; and (4) 
whistleblower protection. In 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 
District of Columbia Circuit (the Court) remanded the rule to the 
Agency for further consideration because the Court found that the 
decision to issue a rule that did not mandate behind the wheel training 
was not supported by the documentation in the rulemaking record--the 
final rule ignored the BTW training component covered by the 1995 
Adequacy Report. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety v. Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Admin., 429 F.3d 1136, 1152 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
    On December 26, 2007, FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking public comment on enhanced ELDT requirements 
(72 FR 73226). The proposed rule would have applied to drivers who 
apply for a CDL beginning 3 years after a final rule went into effect. 
Following that date, persons applying for new or upgraded CDLs would 
have been required to successfully complete specified minimum classroom 
and BTW training from an accredited institution or program. The Agency 
proposed that the State driver-licensing agency issue a CDL only if the 
applicant presented a valid driver training certificate from an 
accredited institution or program.
    Following publication of the NPRM, the Agency reviewed the public 
responses to the proposal. Additionally, FMCSA held ELDT listening 
sessions on January 7, 2013 (ABA Marketplace), and March 22, 2013 (Mid-
America Trucking Show). Finally, the Agency tasked its Motor Carrier 
Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) to provide ideas the Agency should 
consider in implementing the MAP-21 requirements. Based on the feedback 
received during the listening session and in light of the new 
requirements imposed by MAP-21, the Agency withdrew the 2007 NPRM on 
September 19, 2013 (78 FR 57585). Copies of the transcripts from the 
listening sessions and the MCSAC's report are included in the docket 
referenced at the beginning of this document.
    FMCSA is now assessing the feasibility of using Reg Neg for this 
rulemaking. In a Reg Neg, an agency invites representatives of 
interested parties that are likely to be affected by a regulation to 
work with each other and the agency on a negotiating committee to 
develop a consensus draft of a proposed rule. If a consensus is 
reached, the Agency would then publish the proposal for public comment 
under customary regulatory procedures. FMCSA believes this cooperative 
problem-solving approach should be given serious consideration. To do 
so, the Agency must determine, among other statutory factors, whether 
an appropriate advisory committee can be assembled that would fairly 
represent all affected interests, will negotiate in good faith and 
whether consensus on the issues is likely.
    FMCSA has retained a neutral convener, Mr. Richard Parker from the 
University of Connecticut, School of Law, to undertake the initial 
stage in the Reg Neg process. Mr. Parker's credentials have been placed 
in docket FMCSA-2007-27748 for the public's convenience.
    The neutral convener will interview affected interests, including 
but not limited to, CMV driver organizations,

[[Page 49045]]

CMV training organizations, motor carriers (of property and passengers) 
and industry associations, State licensing agencies, State enforcement 
agencies, labor unions, safety advocacy groups, and insurance companies 
and associations. The convener will determine whether additional 
categories of interested parties may be necessary. The convenor will, 
among other things, examine the potential for adequate and balanced 
representation of these varied interests on an advisory committee that 
would be convened to negotiate the regulation. The convener will then 
submit a written ``convening'' report of findings and recommendations 
to the Agency, and the final report will be available to the public. 
The convener's report will provide a basis for FMCSA to decide whether 
to proceed with a Reg Neg, and, if so, to determine the scope of the 
issues the committee would address. In the alternative, FMCSA may 
decide to forgo the Reg Neg and proceed with traditional notice-and-
comment rulemaking.
    All interested parties are advised that the confidentiality 
provisions of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, 5 U.S.C. 574, 
will apply to the convener's activities. The Federal Government will 
make no claim to the convener's notes, memoranda, or recollections or 
to documents provided to the convener in confidence in the course of 
the convening process.
    The convenor will not interpret FMCSA or DOT policy on behalf of 
the Agency or the Department nor make decisions on items of policy, 
regulation, or statute. The convenor will not take a stand on the 
merits of substantive items under discussion.
    The FMCSA will provide the convener any comments it receives in 
reaction to this notice and will file the comments in docket FMCSA-
2007-27748. If you want to submit comments to this notice directly to 
the docket, use the addresses above under the heading ADDRESSES.
    Should the FMCSA decide to proceed with a Reg Neg process, the 
Agency will follow the procedures set forth in the Negotiated 
Rulemaking Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 561 et seq. This would include the 
mandatory publication of a notice of intent to solicit comment on 
membership and invite interested persons to apply for nomination to the 
committee. It also includes the establishment of a negotiating 
committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. Appendix 
2).

    Issued under the authority of delegation in 49 CFR 1.87.

    Dated: August 12, 2014.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-19637 Filed 8-15-14; 11:15 am]
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