[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 249 (Tuesday, December 30, 1997)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 67821-67823]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-33902]



Federal Highway Administration

49 CFR Part 376

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-97-3050]
RIN 2125-AE26

Exemption of Commonly-Owned Motor Carriers From Equipment 
Identification and Receipt Requirements Applicable to Leased and 
Interchanged Vehicles

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The FHWA is proposing to modify its regulations under 49 CFR 
part 376 governing the lease and interchange of motor vehicle equipment 
by exempting commonly-owned and controlled motor carriers from the 
vehicle identification and exchange of receipt requirements of 
Sec. 376.22 and the identification of equipment requirement of 
Sec. 376.31. The FHWA routinely grants waivers from these requirements 
on an individual basis. This proposed action would eliminate the need 
for carriers to obtain individual waivers from the FHWA.

DATES: Comments to this NPRM should be received no later than March 2, 
1998. Late comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: All signed, written comments should refer to the docket 
number appearing at the top of this document and must be submitted to 
the Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. All comments received will be available 
for examination at the above address between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring 
notification of receipt of comments must include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or postcard.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John F. Grimm, Director, Office of 
Motor Carrier Information Analysis, (202) 366-4039, or Mr. Michael J. 
Falk, Motor Carrier Law Division, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 
366-1384, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, 
400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 8 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FHWA's regulations at 49 CFR part 376 
govern motor carrier transportation provided in nonowned equipment. 
These regulations, originally promulgated by the Interstate Commerce 
Commission (ICC), were formerly codified at 49 CFR part 1057 until 
redesignated on October 21, 1996. The ICC Termination Act of 1995 
(ICCTA), Public Law 104-88, 109 Stat. 803, transferred jurisdiction 
over motor carrier leasing and interchange of equipment practices to 
the Secretary of Transportation, who delegated this function to the 
FHWA under 49 CFR 1.48(h)(6).
    Section 376.22 permits motor carriers of property, subject to 
registration under the ICCTA (authorized carriers), to trip lease 
equipment between themselves and private motor carriers under specified 
conditions. A trip lease is a contract for the use of nonowned vehicles 
for single point-to-point hauls. Section 376.22(a) requires that trip-
leasing carriers comply with the identification of equipment

[[Page 67822]]

requirements of Sec. 376.11(c). Under Sec. 376.22(c)(2), the carriers 
must also have a written agreement placing control and responsibility 
for the equipment with the lessee during the lease period, as 
determined by an exchange of equipment receipts required under 
Sec. 376.11(b). Section 376.22(c)(4) permits the use of a master lease 
under certain conditions to comply with the trip-leasing requirements.

Vehicle Identification Requirements

    Under Sec. 376.11(c)(1), an authorized carrier acquiring the use of 
nonowned equipment must identify the equipment in accordance with the 
marking of commercial vehicle regulations at 49 CFR part 390, subpart D 
(formerly 49 CFR part 1058). These regulations require that commercial 
vehicles display the name or trade name of the motor carrier operating 
the vehicle, as well as its principal place of business and motor 
carrier identification number.

Equipment Receipt Requirements

    Under Sec. 376.11(b), at the time the authorized carrier acquires 
the use of nonowned equipment, it must give the owner of the equipment 
a receipt specifically identifying the equipment and the date and time 
of day possession is transferred. A receipt must also be given when the 
authorized carrier returns possession of the equipment to the owner, if 
required by the lease agreement.

Purpose of These Requirements

    The leasing regulations are intended to ensure that motor carriers 
providing transportation in vehicles owned and operated by others 
assume responsibility for, and control the transportation service in, 
equipment they do not own to the same extent as if they owned the 
vehicles themselves. This not only affixes carrier responsibility and 
liability for the protection of shippers and the general public, but 
also facilitates enforcement of applicable regulatory requirements. The 
equipment identification and exchange of receipt requirements in 
Secs. 376.22(a) and (c) are designed to monitor control and 
responsibility for the operation of leased vehicles.

Waivers for Commonly-Owned Carriers

    Over the years, motor carriers under joint ownership or control 
have requested individual waivers from the equipment identification and 
exchange of receipt requirements of Secs. 376.22(a) and (c), when 
exchanging equipment among themselves, on the grounds that compliance 
is unnecessary and unduly burdensome as long as the carriers remain 
under joint ownership and control. The FHWA, as did the ICC before it, 
has granted these waivers on the condition that the carriers continue 
to comply with other applicable provisions of Sec. 376.22 and that 
contractual relationships between owner-operators and the individual 
carriers will be governed by Secs. 376.11 and 376.12. The purpose of 
this notice of proposed rulemaking is to establish a blanket exemption 
from the vehicle identification and receipt requirements of Sec. 376.22 
for jointly-owned or controlled carriers, thus eliminating the need for 
individual waiver petitions. Such carriers would still be required to 
comply with the other applicable provisions of Sec. 376.22, as well as 
Secs. 376.11 and 376.12.
    The FHWA has granted individual waivers from the Sec. 376.22 
identification of vehicles and exchange of receipt requirements because 
these requirements serve little public purpose when vehicles are being 
exchanged between commonly-controlled companies which are jointly 
operated with respect to safety program administration and equipment 
utilization. Vehicle ownership and assignment information can be 
readily made available from computerized dispatch records and 
operational logs, obviating the need for strict identification, 
placarding and receipt issuance requirements. Furthermore, commonly-
controlled carriers seeking waivers claim that the elimination of these 
requirements would allow them to operate more efficiently and 
economically by fostering improved equipment use and eliminating a 
significant and unproductive paperwork and placarding burden.
    The proposed action is consistent with the National Transportation 
Policy because it will promote efficiency in the motor carrier 
transportation system and encourage more productive use of equipment 
and energy resources. See 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(B) and (E). It would 
also allow FHWA to conserve its own resources by eliminating the need 
to grant waivers on an individual basis.

Interchange Identification Requirements

    For purposes of consistency between the leasing regulations in 
subpart B of part 376 and the interchange regulations in subpart D of 
that part, we are also proposing to modify Sec. 376.31(d) with respect 
to the interchange of equipment between commonly-controlled authorized 
carriers. Interchange of equipment occurs when one motor common carrier 
receives equipment from another in order to continue a through 
movement. Section 376.31(d)(1) requires that the carrier giving up 
possession of the equipment remove all placarding identification 
showing it as the operating entity, and that the carrier receiving 
possession mark the equipment with its own name, place of business and 
identification number, in accordance with 49 CFR part 390, subpart D. 
New paragraph (d)(3) would eliminate this requirement for commonly-
controlled carriers interchanging equipment among themselves. It would 
also eliminate, for these carriers, the Sec. 376.31(d)(2) requirement 
that each vehicle carry a detailed interchange statement.
    The FHWA solicits public comment on the proposed modifications of 
Secs. 376.22 and 376.31(d), which are set forth below.

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, but the FHWA may issue a final 
rule at any time after the close of the comment period. In addition to 
late comments, the FHWA will also continue to file in the docket 
relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing 
date, and interested persons should continue to examine the docket for 
new material.

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

    The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or 
significant within the meaning of Department of Transportation 
regulatory policies and procedures. It is anticipated that the economic 
impact of this rulemaking will be minimal; therefore, a full regulatory 
evaluation is not required. The rulemaking merely proposes to exempt a 
small number of transportation entities from complying with 
identification and documentation requirements which FHWA has routinely 
waived upon request. Neither the individual nor cumulative impact of 
this action would be significant.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), the FHWA has evaluated the

[[Page 67823]]

effects of this rule on small entities. Based on the evaluation, the 
FHWA hereby certifies that this action would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FHWA 
receives less than ten petitions per year seeking waiver of vehicle 
identification and receipt issuance requirements. The proposed rule, 
while beneficial, would not have a significant economic impact.

Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that this action does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.217, Motor 
Carrier Safety. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 
regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and 
activities do not apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not contain a collection of information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq. It is specifically designed to eliminate certain 
existing paperwork requirements for commonly-controlled motor carriers 
leasing or interchanging vehicles among themselves. Thus, this action 
is consistent with goals of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has 
determined that this action would not have any effect on the quality of 
the environment.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action 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 number contained in the 
heading of this document can be used to cross reference this action 
with the Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 376

    Highways and roads, Motor carriers--equipment leasing, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements.

    Issued: December 18, 1997.
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Federal Highway Administrator.

    In consideration of the foregoing and under the authority of 
section 103 of the ICC Termination Act of 1995, Public Law 104-88, 109 
Stat. 803, and 49 CFR 1.48, the FHWA proposes to amend title 49, 
chapter III, as follows:
    1. The authority citation for part 376 continues to read as 

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 13301 and 14102; 49 CFR 1.48.

    2. Section 376.22 is amended by adding new paragraph (d) to read as 

Sec. 376.22  Exemption for private carrier leasing and leasing between 
authorized carriers.

* * * * *
    (d) Authorized and private carriers under common ownership and 
control may lease equipment to each other under this section without 
complying with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section 
pertaining to identification of equipment, and the requirements of 
paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(4) of this section pertaining to equipment 
receipts. The leasing of equipment between such carriers will be 
subject to all other requirements of this section.
    3. Section 376.31 is amended by adding paragraph (d)(3) to read as 

Sec. 376.31  Interchange of equipment.

* * * * *
    (d)(3) Authorized carriers under common ownership and control may 
interchange equipment with each other without complying with the 
requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section pertaining to removal 
of identification from equipment, and the requirements of paragraph 
(d)(2) of this section pertaining to the identification of equipment.

[FR Doc. 97-33902 Filed 12-29-97; 8:45 am]