FMCSA Grants Exemption To American Pyrotechnics Association

WASHINGTON, DC (TruckingNewsNow.com) — FMCSA announces its decision to grant the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) an exemption from the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that require a motor carrier to install and require each of its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver’s HOS. APA requested the exemption for APA member companies currently holding an exemption from the HOS 14-hour rule during the Independence Day season. These member companies will continue to use paper records of duty status (RODS) in lieu of an ELD during the designated Independence Day periods. FMCSA has determined that the terms and conditions of the exemption ensure a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

DATES: The exemption is effective from June 28 through July 8, at 11:59 p.m. local time, in 2019 and 2020.

ADDRESSES:

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to www.regulations.gov at 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 Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line.

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 CONTACTMs. LaTonya Mimms, Chief, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: (202) 366–9220, Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366–9826.SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation

Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go towww.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, ‘‘FMCSA–2018–0140’’ in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ button and choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTFor information concerning this notice, contact Ms. Pearlie Robinson, FMCSA Driver and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards; Telephone: 202–366– 4225. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366–9826.

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 APA reports that it is a national safety and trade association of the U.S. fireworks industry, representing manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers and professional display companies. APA has over 250 member companies. Along with their subsidiaries, APA’s member companies are responsible for nearly 90 percent of the fireworks manufactured, imported, distributed and professionally displayed in the United States.

The Agency published a notice of APA’s exemption application on April 24, 2018 (83 FR17877). APA sought a limited exemption from the ELD requirements to allow member companies currently holding an exemption from the 14-hour rule to continue to maintain paper RODs in lieu of ELDs. Various APA members have held 2-year exemptions during Independence Day periods from 2005 through 2014. On May 9, 2016, the current exemption for APA members was extended to July 8, 2020, pursuant to section 5206(b)(2)(A) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (81 FR 28115).

APA asserted that granting this exemption would be appropriate because there is no basis to believe that continuing to allow paper record keeping for this limited subset of the regulated community, and for a limited period of time, would impact operational safety in any regard. In addition, due to the unique nature of the fireworks industry, requiring the use of ELDs for this limited seasonal delivery period would impose a substantial financial burden on members because it would require them to purchase/lease ELD systems for use for only a short period every year.

APA explained that its members rely upon intermittent casual drivers periodically throughout the year and particularly during the busy Independence Day season when the industry depends upon short-term rental trucks. The fireworks industry is unique in that it rents or leases approximately 90% of its vehicles throughout the year for less than 30 days at a time. However, most rental companies require a minimum rental period of 14 to 21 days, although APA member companies may only use the trucks in commerce for up to 11 days. The mix of vehicles rented includes pick-up trucks, cargo vans, city vans and straight trucks with a GVW of less than 26,000 pounds. The industry relies heavily upon short-term rental trucks to transport and deliver 98% of the 16,000 Independence Day fireworks displays nationwide. This exemption would only apply when the carriers designated in the APA HOS exemption, including revisions, are operating within the specified Independence Day periods.

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