[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 25 (Wednesday, February 6, 2019)]
[Pages 2304-2305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-01276]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0334]

Hours of Service of Drivers: National Cattlemen's Beef 
Association; Livestock Marketing Association; American Farm Bureau 
Federation; American Beekeeping Federation; American Honey Producers 
Association; and National Aquaculture Association; Application for 

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

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


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that it has received a joint application from 
the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Livestock Marketing 
Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping 
Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National 
Aquaculture Association for an exemption from certain provisions in the 
hours-of-service (HOS) rules. The applicants request approval to, after 
10 consecutive hours off duty: drive through the 16th consecutive hour 
after coming on duty; and drive a total of 15 hours during that 16-hour 
period. The requests are made on behalf of drivers who transport 
livestock, insects, and aquatic animals. FMCSA requests public comment 
on the joint applicants' request for exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 8, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Number FMCSA-2018-0334 by any of the following 
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. See the 
Public Participation and Request for Comments section below for further 
     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. 
E.T., 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 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 

Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle 
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-2722. Email: [email protected]. If you 
have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.


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-2018-0334), 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 comment online, go to www.regulations.gov and put 
the docket number, ``FMCSA-2018-0334'' 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 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 
    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)).

[[Page 2305]]

III. Request for Exemption

    A joint exemption application has been submitted by the National 
Cattlemen's Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American 
Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey 
Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association 
    The applicants seek an exemption from the hours-of-service (HOS) 
requirements that: (1) Limit the maximum driving hours for property-
carrying drivers to 11 [49 CFR 395.3(a)(3))]; and (2) limit the duty 
period for those drivers to 14 consecutive hours [49 CFR 395.3(a)(2))]. 
The applicants seek an exemption that after 10 consecutive hours off 
duty would allow them to: (1) Drive through the 16th consecutive hour 
after coming on duty; and (2) drive a total of 15 hours during that 16-
hour period. The applicants cite the fact that livestock haulers are 
currently permitted to operate in ``an exempt zone within a radius of 
150 air miles'' of the source of an agricultural commodity. The Agency, 
in implementing this provision, has stated that time spent working 
within the 150 air-mile radius does not count toward the driver's daily 
and weekly HOS limits. Accordingly, the 15- and 16-hour limits 
requested by the applicants would begin after a livestock hauler 
travels outside the 150 air-mile radius.The requested exemptions would 
apply to all livestock, insect, and aquatic animal transporters and 
their drivers.
    According to applicants, for purposes of this exemption 
application, livestock is defined in sec. 602 of the Emergency 
Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 [7 U.S.C. 1471]. The term 
``insects'' should be interpreted to mean insects that are used as 
pollinators such as honeybees. The term ``aquatic species'' is defined 
in the National Aquaculture Policy Act as ``any species of finfish, 
mollusk, crustacean, or other aquatic invertebrate, amphibian, reptile, 
or aquatic plant.'' 16 U.S.C. 2801. However, this application does not 
seek to include aquatic plants.
    Applicants advise that their drivers would comply with all other 
HOS rules, including the 60/70 hour limits. They advise that drivers 
operating under the proposed exemption would reach the 60-hour on-duty 
limit as early as at the end of the 90th hour and would then take 34 
consecutive hours off duty. They then could resume duty at the start of 
the 125th hour.
    The applicants cite 2018 Motor Carrier Management Information 
System data from the Agency that identified 60,569 livestock motor 
carriers with 179,406 vehicles and 190,661 drivers. The FMCSA noted 
that 78,154 of those drivers operated within a 100 air-mile radius HOS 
exemption, leaving 112,507 CMV drivers who would likely be subject to 
the Agency's HOS regulations. The applicants are concerned that the 11- 
and 14-hour rules were not crafted with livestock haulers in mind and 
thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature 
of their trips. In certain circumstances, livestock haulers are 
required to carry live animals over significant distances. Those 
circumstances are dictated by factors primarily related to the health 
and welfare of the livestock; the lifecycle of the livestock; and the 
locations of farms and ranches, viable grazing lands and feedlots, and 
final processing facilities. The applicants state that the maximum 
driving and on-duty limits of the HOS regulations as applied to their 
operations may place the well-being of livestock at risk during 
transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, 
particularly in rural communities across the country.
    The applicants state that, while the majority of their trips fall 
within the current HOS regulations, some of the longer trips cannot be 
completed under the 11- and 14-hour rules. These trips are affected by 
``immutable factors'' such as weather. In the cattle industry, the 
locations of cow-calf operations, grazing lands, feedlots, and 
processing facilities necessarily determine how far a livestock hauler 
must travel in a single trip. Livestock haulers transport animals from 
farms and ranches to auction markets, where the stock is sold. Once 
sold, the animals are often transported to grazing lands and feed 
yards, mostly located in the Central Plains and Southwest. After 
grazing and feeding, livestock are transported a final time to 
processing facilities, where they are transformed into consumable meat 
and sold. In addition, transportation of bees necessary to pollinate 
numerous crops, tree nuts, fruits, and vegetables are some of the 
longest trips in the country. While most these trips can be concluded 
within the current HOS rules, the applicants estimate that 25-30 
percent of livestock-hauling trips would be conducted under the 
requested exemption.
    The applicants cite the following negative impacts to their 
industry if the exemption is not granted: (1) Livestock haulers would 
be unable to test innovative fatigue risk-management safety 
countermeasures; (2) public safety measures to ensure animal welfare 
and prevent the spread of disease would continue to be hampered by the 
current HOS rules; and (3) driver shortages and resulting 
transportation cost increases would be further aggravated.
    The applicants assert that granting this exemption would not 
negatively impact motor vehicle safety because the exemption would 
likely be used by a limited number of commercial drivers who are 
experienced, plan their trips carefully, operate specialized equipment, 
and routinely undergo transportation training. The applicants add the 
following relating to an equivalent level of safety if the exemption is 
granted: (1) Livestock haulers are a defined, safe subset of all CMV 
drivers; (2) transporting live animals requires prudent route planning, 
specialized equipment, and safe driving practices; and (3) many 
livestock haulers already undergo specialized training that includes 
fatigue prevention, recognition, and management. As this last point 
relates to an equivalent level of safety, according to the applicants, 
the HOS rules are intended to mitigate the risk of driver fatigue and 
its role in CMV crashes. However, research demonstrates that the number 
of driving hours is only one aspect of fatigue management--as many 
factors contribute to safe driving. The applicants propose to craft 
industry-sponsored training programs that include appropriate fatigue 
management principles.
    The exemption is requested for a period of five years. A copy of 
the application for exemption is available for review in the docket for 
this notice.

    Issued on: January 30, 2019.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator of Policy.
[FR Doc. 2019-01276 Filed 2-5-19; 8:45 am]