49 CFR 369.9 - Requests for exemptions from public release.
(a) General. This section governs requests for exemptions from public release of the report required under § 369.1.
(b) Criteria. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will grant a request upon a proper showing that the carrier is not a publicly held corporation or that the carrier is not subject to financial reporting requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and that the exemption is necessary to avoid competitive harm and to avoid the disclosure of information that qualifies as trade secret or privileged or confidential information under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4). Information is considered to be confidential when:
(1) Disclosure of the information in the carrier's report would be likely to cause substantial harm to the carrier's competitive position; or
(2) Disclosure of information in the report would be likely to impair protectable government interests.
(c) Contents of a request. A request for an exemption from public release must contain information supporting the claim. While the supporting information may contain opinions, the request must consist of objective data to the extent possible. General or nonspecific assertions or analysis will be insufficient to support a request if FMCSA is unable to find that the criteria are met. The supporting information must show:
(1) That the information claimed to be confidential is a trade secret, or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential.
(2) Measures taken by the carrier to ensure that the information has not been disclosed or otherwise made available to any person, company, or organization other then the carrier.
(3) Insofar as is known by the carrier, the extent to which the information has been disclosed, or otherwise become available, to persons other than the carrier, and why such disclosure or availability does not compromise the confidential nature of the information.
(4) If the carrier asserts that disclosure would be likely to result in substantial competitive harm, what the harmful effects of disclosure would be, why the effects should be viewed as substantial, and the causal relationship between the effects and disclosure.
(5) If the carrier asserts that disclosure would be likely to impair protectable government interests, what the effects of disclosure are likely to be and why disclosure is likely to impair such interests.
(d) When requests are due.
(1) Requests for an exemption under this section may be made at any time during the year. However, a request will be deemed applicable to only those reports due on or after the date the request is received. Requests received after a report's due date will only be considered for the following year's report.
(2) A request will be deemed received on the date the request is physically received or, if it is sent by mail, on the date it is postmarked.
(3) FMCSA will only allow a late request if there are extenuating circumstances and the carrier gives adequate notice within a reasonable time of the extenuating circumstances.
(e) Decision to grant or deny a request.
(1) After each due date of each annual report specified in § 369.1, FMCSA will publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on any requests received under this section that are valid and pending.
(2) A request will be granted only if it provides all of the supporting information required in paragraph (c) of this section and if the supporting information is sufficient to establish that information in the carrier's report meets the criteria in paragraph (b) of this section.
(3) If the carrier fails to comply with the timing requirements of paragraph (d) of this section, the claim for confidentiality will be waived unless FMCSA is notified of extenuating circumstances before the information is disclosed to the public and FMCSA finds that the extenuating circumstances warrant consideration of the claim.
(4) FMCSA will grant or deny each request no later than 90 days after the request's due date as defined in paragraph (d) of this section. The decision by FMCSA shall be administratively final. For Annual Form M, both the report and the request are due by March 31, and the decision is due by June 30.
(5) If a request is granted, FMCSA will notify carrier of that decision and of any appropriate limitations.
(6) If a request for confidentiality is denied, FMCSA will notify the carrier of that decision and that the information will be made available to the public not less than ten working days after the carrier has received notice of the denial. The notice will specify the reasons for denying the request.
(f) Pendency. A request is deemed pending from the date it is received by FMCSA until it is granted or denied by FMCSA. FMCSA will not release publicly, unless otherwise required by law, any report for which a valid request for an exemption from public release is pending.
(g) Period of exemptions. If a request for an exemption under this section is granted, FMCSA will not publicly release the reports covered by the granted exemption, unless otherwise required by law, for a period of three years from the report's due date.
(h) Modification of a decision to grant a request. If a request is granted it remains in effect in accordance with its terms, unless modified by a later finding that the decision was clearly erroneous. If FMCSA believes such a finding should be made, FMCSA will notify the requesting carrier in writing of the reasons for the modification and that the carrier's report will be made available to the public in not less than ten working days from the date of receipt of notice under this paragraph. The carrier may seek reconsideration of the modification.