July 4 Fireworks Drivers Need New Hours Exemption, Association Says

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asked for comments May 30 on a request from the American Pyrotechnics Association that nine motor carriers receive exemptions from the hours of service rule that bars someone from driving a commercial motor vehicle after the 14th hour of coming on duty. The exemption, sought for the periods in both 2007 and 2008 beginning seven days ahead of Independence Day and ending two days after it, would not cause drivers to drive after accumulating a total of 14 hours of on-duty time, and the drivers would still be sujbect to the 11-hour driving time limit and the 60- and 70-hour weekly limits, FMCSA said in its request.

The association said it believes the exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to what drivers of other property-carrying vehicles experience when they comply with the 14-hour rule, according to the document. Comments are due by June 14, referencing Docket Number FMCSA-2007-28090, via http://dmses.dot.gov/ or www.regulations.gov.

The nine companies are Alpha-Lee Enterprises, Inc. of Friendswood, Texas; American Fireworks Co. of Hudson, Ohio; Cartwright Fireworks Inc. of Franklin, Pa.; Entertainment Fireworks Inc. of Olympia, Wash.; Fireworks Products of Arizona Ltd. of Chandler, Ariz.; Great Lakes Fireworks of Eastpointe, Mich.; Rainbow Fireworks Inc. of Inman, Kansas; Skyworks Ltd. of Carrier, Okla.; and Stellar Fireworks Inc. of Wichita, Kansas. FMCSA granted a similar exemption to 72 APA member companies in July 2005, but it expired in July 2006. APA has applied a renewal for all of those companies, and FMCSA is evaluating that request separately. These drivers are trained pyrotechnicians who hold commercial driver's licenses with a hazardous materials endorsement; they transport fireworks and equipment to remote locations under demanding schedules, the association says.

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