[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 147 (Friday, July 31, 1998)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 40837-40839]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-20519]



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: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The FHWA is modifying 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 vehicle identification requirement of Sec. 376.31. This action 
eliminates the need for carriers to obtain individual waivers from 
these requirements from the FHWA.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 31, 1998.

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 


Electronic Access

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    The FHWA's regulations at 49 CFR part 376 govern motor carrier 
transportation provided in nonowned equipment. Section 376.22 permits 
motor carriers of property who must register with the FHWA under 49 
U.S.C. 13901 and Sec. 13902 (authorized carriers) to trip lease 
nonowned equipment between themselves and private motor carriers under 
specified conditions. Section 376.22(a) requires that trip-leasing 
carriers comply with certain equipment identification and equipment 
receipt requirements contained in 49 CFR 376.11. Under these 
requirements, trip-leased vehicles must display the trade name and 
other pertinent information regarding the motor carrier operating the 
vehicle. Equipment receipts must be exchanged between the owner and 
authorized carrier when possession of the equipment is transferred.
    Section 376.31 of the regulations imposes a similar vehicle 
identification requirement on authorized carriers which interchange 
equipment to continue a through movement, and also requires that either 
a copy of the interchange agreement or a detailed interchange statement 
be carried in each vehicle.
    On December 30, 1997, the FHWA published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) and a request for comments in the Federal Register 
(62 FR 67821) on amending part 376 to exempt commonly-owned and 
controlled motor carriers from the vehicle identification and exchange 
of receipt requirements of Sec. 376.22 and the vehicle identification 
and documentation requirements of Sec. 376.31. Commonly-owned or 
controlled carriers have routinely been granted individual waivers from 
these requirements by the former Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) 
and the FHWA on the ground that compliance is unnecessary and 
burdensome as long as the carriers remained under joint ownership and 
    The FHWA believes that the vehicle identification and exchange of 
receipt requirements serve little useful 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, elimination 
of these requirements would allow such carriers to operate more 
efficiently and economically by fostering improved equipment use and 
eliminating a significant and unproductive paperwork and placarding 
burden. This amendment would also allow the FHWA to conserve its own 
resources by eliminating the need to grant waivers on an individual 

Discussion of Public Comments

    The public comment period for the NPRM closed on March 2, 1998. 
Comments were received from the California Highway Patrol (CHP); 
Landstar System, Inc., and its 10 motor carrier subsidiaries; and the 
National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA). Landstar and the 
NSWMA support the proposed rule on the ground that it will eliminate 
burdensome administrative and paperwork requirements which no longer 
serve a useful purpose. The CHP, however, believes that exempting 
commonly-owned and controlled carriers from vehicle identification 
requirements will create problems for enforcement personnel issuing 
traffic citations and conducting routine vehicle inspections and 
accident investigations. According to the CHP, the carrier information 
displayed on the vehicle is used to identify the carrier for purposes 
of preparing inspection, citation and accident reports, which are 
incorporated into State and Federal motor carrier databases. In order 
to ensure the accuracy of this data, the CHP requests that the proposed 
rule be amended to require that each vehicle carry documentation 
identifying the operating carrier which would have to be presented to 
law enforcement personnel on request.
    We agree with the CHP that it is important for enforcement 
personnel to be able to accurately identify the

[[Page 40838]]

operating motor carrier when issuing traffic citations and conducting 
vehicle inspections and accident investigations. However, vehicles 
trip-leased among commonly-owned and controlled carriers will still be 
required to carry a copy of either the trip-leasing agreement under 
Sec. 376.22(c)(3) or a master lease under Sec. 376.22(c)(4). 
Consequently, enforcement personnel will be able to identify the 
operating motor carrier of trip-leased equipment.
    With respect to interchanged equipment, Sec. 376.31(d)(2) is the 
only regulatory provision requiring interchanged vehicles to carry 
documentation identifying the operating motor carrier. Instead of 
achieving consistency with Sec. 376.22 as intended, the proposed 
exemption from Sec. 376.31(d)(2) would actually create inconsistent 
identification requirements because vehicles interchanged among 
commonly-owned and controlled carriers would no longer have to carry 
documents identifying the operating carrier. Accordingly, the final 
rule will retain the requirement that equipment interchanged among 
commonly-owned and controlled carriers carry either a copy of the 
interchange agreement or a detailed interchange statement. Inasmuch as 
individual petitions for waivers have generally sought relief from the 
provisions of Sec. 376.22 rather than Sec. 376.31, retaining this 
requirement should not be a burden on commonly-owned and controlled 
motor carriers.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

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 exempts a small 
number of transportation entities from complying with identification 
and documentation requirements which the 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 effects of this rule on 
small entities. Based on the evaluation, the FHWA hereby certifies that 
this action will 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 rule, while beneficial, would not have a 
significant economic impact.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (the Act) (Pub. L. 104-4) 
requires each agency to assess the effects of its regulatory actions on 
State, local and tribal governments and the private sector. Any agency 
promulgating a rule likely to result in a Federal mandate requiring 
expenditures by a State, local or tribal government or by the private 
sector of $100 million or more in any one year must prepare a written 
statement incorporating various assessments, estimates and descriptions 
that are delineated in the Act. The FHWA has determined that the 
changes in this rule will not have an impact of $100 million or more in 
any one year.

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: July 21, 1998.
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, Pub. L. 104-88, 109 
Stat. 803, and 49 CFR 1.48, the FHWA amends title 49, chapter III, as 


    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

[[Page 40839]]

section pertaining to removal of identification from equipment.

[FR Doc. 98-20519 Filed 7-30-98; 8:45 am]