FMCSA grants carrier exemption to use flashing brake light system

May 17, 2024

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted an exemption to Gemini Motor Transport that will allow the Oklahoma-based carrier to operate a flashing brake light system.

FMCSA published a notice of the exemption last week. The exemption, which allows the company to operate commercial motor vehicles equipped with a system manufactured by Intellistop, will run through May 12, 2029.

The Intellistop module is designed to pulse the required rear clearance, identification and brake lamps from a lower-level lighting intensity to a higher-level lighting intensity four times in two seconds when the brakes are applied and then return the lights to a steady-burning state while the brakes remain engaged.

The manufacturer is noteworthy, as FMCSA denied Intellistop’s application for an industry-wide exemption in 2022.

In that denial, the agency said the scope of Intellistop’s exemption request was too broad. However, the agency said that “individual motor carrier applications for exemption may be more closely aligned with FMCSA authorities.”

Gemini’s exemption is narrower, limiting it to a defined number of commercial motor vehicles with the pulsating-brake module, according to the agency.

“FMCSA will be able to monitor the performance of these commercial motor vehicles to determine whether they were involved in a crash and whether they appear to be overrepresented in crashes compared to a control group,” the agency wrote in the notice.

Court case and other exemptions

FMCSA’s decision to grant Gemini’s exemption request follows Intellistop appealing its denial to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Intellistop argued that FMCSA’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious,” but the court sided with the agency’s approach.

Instead of granting a broad exemption, the agency appears set on examining each case.

FMCSA already has granted similar exemptions to National Tank Truck Carriers, Grote Industries and Waste Management. The agency also granted an exemption to Groendyke Transport in 2019. However, that exemption expired in April. As of Thursday, May 16, the agency had not appeared to publish an application for renewal. LL