[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 177 (Thursday, September 14, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43283-43285]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-19512]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0243]


Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Power and 
Communication Contractors Association (PCCA)

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that the Power and Communication Contractors 
Association (PCCA) has requested an exemption from the requirement that 
a motor carrier install and require each of its drivers to use an 
electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver's hours-of-service 
(HOS) no later than December 18, 2017. PCCA requests the exemption for 
all operators of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the power and 
communications construction industry. Construction contractors spend 
considerable time working off-road on varying jobsites, and a single 
CMV may have several different drivers over the course of a day, moving 
the vehicle short distances around the jobsite. Because of the limited 
time within a workday that their drivers spend driving on public roads, 
PCCA states that ELD and record of duty status (RODS) requirements for 
drivers in their industries do not result in a significant safety 
benefit. PCCA's drivers would remain subject to the standard HOS limits 
and maintain a paper RODS for HOS compliance. PCCA believes that the 
exemption, if granted, will achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent 
the exemption. FMCSA requests public comment on PCCA's application for 
exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 16, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Number FMCSA-2017-0243 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. See the 
Public Participation and Request for Comments section below for further 
information.
     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., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments 
received without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading 
below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at

[[Page 43284]]

any time or visit Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The on-
line FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning this 
notice, contact Mr. Tom Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier 
Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety 
Standards; Telephone: 614-942-6477. Email: [email protected]. If you have 
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and 
related materials.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2017-0243), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which the comment applies, and provide a reason for 
suggestions or recommendations. You may submit your comments and 
material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only 
one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a 
mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of 
your document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions 
regarding your submission.
    To submit your comments online, go to www.regulations.gov and put 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2017-0243'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and 
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment 
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following 
screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual 
or on behalf of a third party, and then submit. If you submit your 
comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no 
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they 
reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard 
or envelope. FMCSA will consider all comments and material received 
during the comment period and may grant or not grant this application 
based on your comments.

II. Legal Basis

    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 (FMCSRs). 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)).

III. Request for Exemption

    The PCCA represents contractors, manufacturers, and distributors 
who build and repair America's power and communications infrastructure, 
including electric transmission, distribution, and substation 
facilities and broadband, telephone, and cable television systems. PCCA 
members also engage in directional drilling, local area and premises 
wiring, and improvements to water and sewer infrastructure, as well as 
gas and oil pipelines. While PCCA is not aware of a confirmed, finite 
number of drivers in the power and communication construction industry, 
they believe there are tens of thousands of them across the U.S. These 
are construction workers--driving is incidental to their core job 
function.
    PCCA contractors maintain a wide range of different vehicles, 
including dump trucks, water-related vehicles, skid trucks, and 
flatbeds used to carry heavy excavation equipment. Buses are also used 
to transport workers to and from a construction jobsite.
    The exemption would apply to drivers in the power and 
communications construction industry, who operate under significantly 
different circumstances than interstate truck drivers. CMV operators 
working on broadband and/or electric infrastructure projects commonly 
drive multiple vehicles for short distances within a single day, and a 
single vehicle is often driven by multiple drivers.
    Numerous exemptions to the ELD and RODS requirements are available 
depending on varying job functions, including for those operating 8 
days in 30-day period, short haul 100 air-mile rule, 150 air-mile rule, 
utility service vehicle (USV) exemption, ready mix trucks, pipeline 
welders, etc. The complexity of navigating the ELD and RODS 
requirements and exemptions make compliance difficult, exposing their 
drivers to unknowing violations. According to PCCA, application of 
these requirements to their drivers is confusing even for law 
enforcement officials. When contrasted against the requirements' 
minimal benefit to the safety of their drivers, application of the ELD 
and RODS requirements to their construction personnel proves to be 
quite unnecessary.
    Drivers in the power and communication construction industry 
commonly operate under the USV exemption as defined under Sec.  395.2 
of FMCSRs, which exempts drivers of a USV ``used in the furtherance of 
repairing, maintaining, or operating any structures or any other 
physical facilities necessary for the delivery of public utility 
services, including the furnishing of electric, gas, water, sanitary 
sewer, telephone, and television cable or community antenna service.'' 
Requiring installation of ELD technology in USVs operated in an 
industry that is normally exempt from HOS requirements because of the 
critical nature of its work presents an unnecessary burden.
    PCCA's application requests an exemption from requirements to use 
ELDs in lieu of written logs to document their RODS under 49 CFR 
395.8(a). The exemption they are requesting would be limited to their 
drivers: (1) Who are on duty no more than 14 hours per day; (2) Who 
drive less than 200 miles per day, regardless of start and stop 
location; and (3) For whom the driving of CMVs is incidental to their 
core employment.

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IV. Method To Ensure an Equivalent or Greater Level of Safety

    According to PCCA, exempting power and communication contractors 
from ELD requirements would not compromise the safety of drivers in the 
industry in any way. All rules related to the short-haul exemption 
would still apply, and drivers would continue to comply with written 
RODS requirements when short-haul limitations are exceeded. Unlike 
long-haul interstate truckers, drivers in the construction industry 
meet a variety of job functions and spend the vast majority of their 
time on a jobsite within a short distance of their daily assembly 
point, not on public roads and highways. Power and communication 
contractors would continue to meet all other HOS requirements overseen 
by FMCSA.
    PCCA believes an equivalent level of safety will be achieved if 
drivers in the power and communication construction industry are exempt 
from ELD requirements as described above.
    A copy of PCCA's application for exemption is available for review 
in the docket for this notice.

    Issued on: September 8, 2017.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-19512 Filed 9-13-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P