a fireworks display

Fireworks for the Fourth Will Roll On

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday it has renewed the American Pyrotechnics Association's exemption from the hours of service regulation for 61 member motor carriers and about 3,000 of their drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday it has renewed the American Pyrotechnics Association's exemption for 61 member motor carriers and about 3,000 of their drivers from the hours of service regulation, which says drivers of commercial motor vehicles may not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty, to ensure they can deliver and set up fireworks displays for the Fourth of July. The exemption is in effect June 28 to July 8, 2009, and June 28 to July 8, 2010.

FMCSA's earlier publication of the association's request for a renewal of the exemption drew no comments from the public, according to the notice issued Friday. The drivers have a limited exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2) that allows them to exclude off-duty and sleeper-berth time of any length from the calculation of the 14-hour limit. These drivers must continue to obtain 10 consecutive hours off duty prior to the 14-hour period and remain subject to the 11-hour driving time limit, the 60- and 70-hour on-duty limits, and all other requirements of 49 CFR part 395.

APA said complying with the 14-hour rule would impose a substantial economic hardship on cities, towns, and member companies. It also said the operational demands of this fireworks industry minimize the risk of commercial motor vehicle crashes. "It also maintains that renewal of the exemption will not adversely affect the safety of the fireworks transportation provided by these motor carriers, and actually improve safety in the storage of hazardous materials," FMCSA said.

"The Agency continues to believe that these APA operations, conducted under the terms and conditions of this limited exemption, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be absent such exemption," the notice states. It was signed by Larry W. Minor, FMCSA associate administrator for Policy and Program Development.

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