Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 61493-61495 [05-21203]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 204 / Monday, October 24, 2005 / Notices I or III of chapter 135, title 49, U.S.C., must agree to offer arbitration to HHGs shippers as a means of settling disputes concerning damage or loss to the household goods transported. Under 49 U.S.C. 14708(g)), the Secretary is required to complete an assessment of the dispute settlement program and if, after notice and comment, it is determined that changes to the program are necessary, the Secretary will implement such changes and provide a report to Congress on the changes made. The General Accountability Office (GAO) recommended such an assessment in their March 2001 review (Report Number GAO–01–318). The Secretary has delegated authority pertaining to these registrations and arbitration matters to FMCSA. Since the passage of the ICCTA, the level of Federal involvement in mitigating interstate HHGs disputes has been significantly reduced. FMCSA is responsible for overseeing the arbitration process, but has provided only limited attention, staffing, and resources to this non-safety related function. Shippers of household goods unhappy about loss or damage to property during their move with an interstate HHGs carrier may follow one of several paths to settle disputes: (1) File a complaint with consumer assistance organizations or FMCSA; (2) agree to participate in a binding arbitration process with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) or some other organization that runs an arbitration process; or (3) pursue civil litigation. Each carrier providing transportation of household goods must agree to offer to shippers of HHGs neutral arbitration, as well as a concise easy-to-read, accurate summary of the arbitration procedure, any applicable costs, and disclosure of the legal effects of election to utilize arbitration and inform shippers about the availability of this process to resolve complaints (49 U.S.C. 14708 (a) and (b)(2)). As mandated by Congress, FMCSA is required to determine the effectiveness of arbitration as a means of settling HHGs disputes from the point of view of both interstate household goods shippers and carriers. The increasing number of consumer complaints related to HHGs shipments received by FMCSA and other consumer protection organizations demonstrates the current need for such an assessment. Type of Information Collection Request: New collection. Title of Information Collection: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Arbitration Program as a Means of Settling Household Goods Disputes. OMB Approval Number: 2126–XXXX. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:19 Oct 21, 2005 Jkt 208001 Frequency: Annually. Use: This collection will be used by FMCSA to assess the effectiveness of the arbitration program as a means of settling disputes from the perspective of the household goods shippers and carriers. Estimated Number of Respondents: 300 [100 respondents × 3 surveys = 300 respondents]. Respondents: Household goods shippers and carriers. Total Annual Hours Requested: The estimated total annual burden is 150 hours for the information collection comprised of three arbitration satisfaction surveys—one for HHGs carriers, one for HHGs shippers who have used arbitration, and one for HHGs shippers who have filed claims (or complaints with FMCSA). Each survey requires 100 responses to achieve statistical significance of the results [100 respondents per survey × 1⁄2 hour per respondent × 3 surveys = 150 hours]. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended; 49 U.S.C. 13901, 13902, 13903, 13904 and 14708; the ICC Termination Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–88, 109 Stat. 803 (December 29, 1995)); and 49 CFR § 1.73. Issued on: October 17, 2005. Annette M. Sandberg, Administrator. [FR Doc. 05–21202 Filed 10–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA–2005–21711] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces its decision to grant exemptions from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for 40 individuals. The exemptions will enable these individuals to qualify as drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without meeting the vision standard prescribed in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). DATES: This decision is effective October 24, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, (202) 366–4001, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61493 SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Document Management System (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov. Background On August 19, 2005, the FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications from 40 individuals, and requested comments from the public (70 FR 48797). The 40 individuals petitioned the FMCSA for exemptions from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce. They are: Roy L. Allen, Calvin D. Atwood, Gregory W. Babington, Lennie D. Baker, Jr., John E. Breslin, Arturo Cardozo, William P. Doolittle, Steve R. Felks, William M. Gales, III, Jonathan M. Gentry, John N. Guilford, Benny D. Hatton, Jr., Robert W. Healey, Jr., Nathaniel H. Herbert, Jr., Thomas D. Lambert, Thomas (Tom) W. Markham, Eugene P. Martin, Raul Martinez, Joseph L. Mast, Randy G. McCloud, Richard L. McEwen, David McKinney, Ralph L. Means, Kevin L. Moody, Woody M. Moore, William G. Mote, Charles W. Mullenix, James R. Murphy, Kenneth R. Murphy, Gary S. Partridge, Nathan (Nate) D. Peterson, John N. Poland, Neal A. Richard, Chris A. Ritenour, Brent L. Seaux, Gerald M. Smith, James T. Smith, Nicholas J. Turpin, Gary M. Wolff, and George R. Zenor. Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an exemption for a 2-year period if it finds ‘‘such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.’’ The statute also allows the agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. Accordingly, the FMCSA has evaluated the 40 applications on their merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to all of them. The comment period closed on September 19, 2005. Two comments were received, and their contents were carefully considered by the FMCSA in reaching the final decision to grant the exemptions. Vision and Driving Experience of the Applicants The vision requirement in the FMCSRs provides: A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 61494 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 204 / Monday, October 24, 2005 / Notices person has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 70° in the horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)). The FMCSA also recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision standard, but have adapted their driving to accommodate their vision limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 40 applicants fall into this category. They are unable to meet the vision standard in one eye for various reasons, including amblyopia, macular and retinal scars, and loss of an eye due to trauma. In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. All but thirteen of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had them since childhood. The thirteen individuals who sustained their vision conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging from 4 to 32 years. Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), each has at least 20/40 corrected vision in the other eye, and in a doctor’s opinion has sufficient vision to perform all the tasks necessary to operate a CMV. The doctors’ opinions are supported by the applicants’ possession of valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or non-CDLs to operate CMVs. Before issuing CDLs, States subject drivers to knowledge and performance tests designed to evaluate their qualifications to operate a CMV. All these applicants satisfied the testing standards for their State of residence. By meeting State licensing requirements, the applicants demonstrated their ability to operate a commercial vehicle, with their limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State. While possessing a valid CDL or nonCDL, these 40 drivers have been authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their vision disqualifies them from driving in interstate commerce. They have driven CMVs with their limited vision for careers ranging from 3 to 45 years. In the past 3 years, four of the drivers have had convictions for traffic violations. Three of these convictions were for speeding. One involved a collision but the driver did not receive a citation. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:19 Oct 21, 2005 Jkt 208001 The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the August 19, 2005, notice (70 FR 48797). Since there were no substantial docket comments on the specific merits or qualifications of any applicant, we have not repeated the individual profiles here. Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an exemption from the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) if the exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved without the exemption. Without the exemption, applicants will continue to be restricted to intrastate driving. With the exemption, applicants can drive in interstate commerce. Thus, our analysis focuses on whether an equal or greater level of safety is likely to be achieved by permitting each of these drivers to drive in interstate commerce as opposed to restricting him or her to driving in intrastate commerce. To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, the FMCSA considered not only the medical reports about the applicants’ vision, but also their driving records and experience with the vision deficiency. To qualify for an exemption from the vision standard, the FMCSA requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he or she has driven a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for 3 years. Recent driving performance is especially important in evaluating future safety, according to several research studies designed to correlate past and future driving performance. Results of these studies support the principle that the best predictor of future performance by a driver is his/her past record of crashes and traffic violations. Copies of the studies may be found at docket number FMCSA–98– 3637. We believe we can properly apply the principle to monocular drivers, because data from a former FMCSA waiver study program clearly demonstrates that the driving performance of experienced monocular drivers in the program is better than that of all CMV drivers collectively. (See 61 FR 13338, 13345, March 26, 1996.) The fact that experienced monocular drivers with good driving records in the waiver program demonstrated their ability to drive safely supports a conclusion that other monocular drivers, meeting the same qualifying conditions as those required by the waiver program, are also likely to have adapted to their vision PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 deficiency and will continue to operate safely. The first major research correlating past and future performance was done in England by Greenwood and Yule in 1920. Subsequent studies, building on that model, concluded that crash rates for the same individual exposed to certain risks for two different time periods vary only slightly. (See Bates and Neyman, University of California Publications in Statistics, April 1952.) Other studies demonstrated theories of predicting crash proneness from crash history coupled with other factors. These factors ‘‘ such as age, sex, geographic location, mileage driven and conviction history ‘‘ are used every day by insurance companies and motor vehicle bureaus to predict the probability of an individual experiencing future crashes. (See Weber, Donald C., ‘‘Accident Rate Potential: An Application of Multiple Regression Analysis of a Poisson Process,’’ Journal of American Statistical Association, June 1971.) A 1964 California Driver Record Study prepared by the California Department of Motor Vehicles concluded that the best overall crash predictor for both concurrent and nonconcurrent events is the number of single convictions. This study used 3 consecutive years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first 2 years with their experiences in the final year. Applying principles from these studies to the past 3-year record of the 40 applicants receiving an exemption, we note that the applicants have had only one collision and three speeding violations in the last 3 years. The applicants achieved this record of safety while driving with their vision impairment, demonstrating the likelihood that they have adapted their driving skills to accommodate their condition. As the applicants’ ample driving histories with their vision deficiencies are good predictors of future performance, the FMCSA concludes their ability to drive safely can be projected into the future. We believe the applicants’ intrastate driving experience and history provide an adequate basis for predicting their ability to drive safely in interstate commerce. Intrastate driving, like interstate operations, involves substantial driving on highways on the interstate system and on other roads built to interstate standards. Moreover, driving in congested urban areas exposes the driver to more pedestrian and vehicular traffic than exists on interstate highways. Faster reaction to traffic and traffic signals is generally required because distances between them are more compact. These E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 204 / Monday, October 24, 2005 / Notices conditions tax visual capacity and driver response just as intensely as interstate driving conditions. The veteran drivers in this proceeding have operated CMVs safely under those conditions for at least 3 years, most for much longer. Their experience and driving records lead us to believe that each applicant is capable of operating in interstate commerce as safely as he or she has been performing in intrastate commerce. Consequently, the FMCSA finds that exempting these applicants from the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. For this reason, the agency is granting the exemptions for the 2-year period allowed by 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to the 40 applicants listed in the notice of August 19, 2005 (70 FR 21711). We recognize that the vision of an applicant may change and affect his/her ability to operate a commercial vehicle as safely as in the past. As a condition of the exemption, therefore, the FMCSA will impose requirements on the 40 individuals consistent with the grandfathering provisions applied to drivers who participated in the agency’s vision waiver program. Those requirements are found at 49 CFR 391.64(b) and include the following: (1) That each individual be physically examined every year (a) by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who attests that the vision in the better eye continues to meet the standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), and (b) by a medical examiner who attests that the individual is otherwise physically qualified under 49 CFR 391.41; (2) that each individual provide a copy of the ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s report to the medical examiner at the time of the annual medical examination; and (3) that each individual provide a copy of the annual medical certification to the employer for retention in the driver’s qualification file, or keep a copy in his/her driver’s qualification file if he/she is selfemployed. The driver must also have a copy of the certification when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. Discussion of Comments The FMCSA received two comments in this proceeding. The comments were considered and are discussed below. An individual, wishing to remain anonymous, commented that they have been driving with a vision exemption for several years safely and does not believe that vision impaired drivers VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:19 Oct 21, 2005 Jkt 208001 pose any additional danger to the public because of their vision impairment. This individual believes drivers who are granted a vision exemption perform better than those with normal vision, and hopes that those who oppose the Federal exemption program understand that its mere existence is to focus on safety on the highways. The second comment was received by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) expressing continued opposition to the FMCSA’s policy to grant exemptions from the FMCSRs, including the driver qualification standards. Specifically, Advocates: (1) Objects to the manner in which the FMCSA presents driver information to the public and makes safety determinations; (2) objects to the agency’s reliance on conclusions drawn from the vision waiver program; (3) claims the agency has misinterpreted statutory language on the granting of exemptions (49 U.S.C. §§ 31315 and 31136(e)); and finally (4) suggests that a 1999 Supreme Court decision affects the legal validity of vision exemptions. The issues raised by Advocates were addressed at length in 70 FR 16887 (April 1, 2005). We will not address these points again here, but refer interested parties to those earlier discussions. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 40 exemption applications, the FMCSA exempts Roy L. Allen, Calvin D. Atwood, Gregory W. Babington, Lennie D. Baker, Jr., John E. Breslin, Arturo Cardozo, William P. Doolittle, Steve R. Felks, William M. Gales, III, Jonathan M. Gentry, John N. Guilford, Benny D. Hatton, Jr., Robert W. Healey, Jr., Nathaniel H. Herbert, Jr., Thomas D. Lambert, Thomas (Tom) W. Markham, Eugene P. Martin, Raul Martinez, Joseph L. Mast, Randy G. McCloud, Richard L. McEwen, David McKinney, Ralph L. Means, Kevin L. Moody, Woody M. Moore, William G. Mote, Charles W. Mullenix, James R. Murphy, Kenneth R. Murphy, Gary S. Partridge, Nathan (Nate) D. Peterson, John N. Poland, Neal A. Richard, Chris A. Ritenour, Brent L. Seaux, Gerald M. Smith, James T. Smith, Nicholas J. Turpin, Gary M. Wolff, and George R. Zenor, from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), subject to the requirements cited above (49 CFR 391.64(b)). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The exemption will be PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61495 revoked if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136. If the exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply to the FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time. Issued on: October 18, 2005. Rose A. McMurray, Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development. [FR Doc. 05–21203 Filed 10–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Agency Request for Emergency Processing of Collection of Information by the Office of Management and Budget Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). AGENCY: ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: FRA hereby gives notice that it has submitted the following information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for emergency processing under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). FRA requests that OMB authorize the collection of information identified below on or before October 31, 2005, for a period of 180 days after the date of issuance of this notice in the Federal Register. A copy of this individual ICR, with applicable supporting documentation, may be obtained by calling FRA’s clearance officers, Robert Brogan (telephone number (202) 493– 6292) or Victor Angelo (telephone number (202) 493–6470; these numbers are not toll-free), or by contacting Mr. Brogan via facsimile at (202) 493–6270 or Mr. Angelo via facsimile at (202) 493–6170, or via e-mail by contacting Mr. Brogan at robert.brogan@fra.dot.gov. or by contacting Mr. Angelo at victor.angelo@fra.dot.gov. Comments and questions about the ICR identified below should be directed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for FRA. Title: FRA Emergency Order No. 24, Notice No. 1. E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 204 (Monday, October 24, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61493-61495]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-21203]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2005-21711]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces its decision to grant exemptions from the 
vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs) for 40 individuals. The exemptions will enable these 
individuals to qualify as drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) 
in interstate commerce without meeting the vision standard prescribed 
in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10).

DATES: This decision is effective October 24, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Office of Bus and 
Truck Standards and Operations, (202) 366-4001, FMCSA, Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. 
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Document Management 
System (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov.

Background

    On August 19, 2005, the FMCSA published a notice of receipt of 
exemption applications from 40 individuals, and requested comments from 
the public (70 FR 48797). The 40 individuals petitioned the FMCSA for 
exemptions from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which 
applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce. They are: Roy L. 
Allen, Calvin D. Atwood, Gregory W. Babington, Lennie D. Baker, Jr., 
John E. Breslin, Arturo Cardozo, William P. Doolittle, Steve R. Felks, 
William M. Gales, III, Jonathan M. Gentry, John N. Guilford, Benny D. 
Hatton, Jr., Robert W. Healey, Jr., Nathaniel H. Herbert, Jr., Thomas 
D. Lambert, Thomas (Tom) W. Markham, Eugene P. Martin, Raul Martinez, 
Joseph L. Mast, Randy G. McCloud, Richard L. McEwen, David McKinney, 
Ralph L. Means, Kevin L. Moody, Woody M. Moore, William G. Mote, 
Charles W. Mullenix, James R. Murphy, Kenneth R. Murphy, Gary S. 
Partridge, Nathan (Nate) D. Peterson, John N. Poland, Neal A. Richard, 
Chris A. Ritenour, Brent L. Seaux, Gerald M. Smith, James T. Smith, 
Nicholas J. Turpin, Gary M. Wolff, and George R. Zenor.
    Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an 
exemption for a 2-year period if it finds ``such exemption would likely 
achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level that would be achieved absent such exemption.'' The statute also 
allows the agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. 
Accordingly, the FMCSA has evaluated the 40 applications on their 
merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to all of them. The 
comment period closed on September 19, 2005. Two comments were 
received, and their contents were carefully considered by the FMCSA in 
reaching the final decision to grant the exemptions.

Vision and Driving Experience of the Applicants

    The vision requirement in the FMCSRs provides:
    A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor 
vehicle if that

[[Page 61494]]

person has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each 
eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 
20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant binocular 
acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without 
corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 70[deg] in the 
horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the 
colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and 
amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)).
    The FMCSA also recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision 
standard, but have adapted their driving to accommodate their vision 
limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely.
    The 40 applicants fall into this category. They are unable to meet 
the vision standard in one eye for various reasons, including 
amblyopia, macular and retinal scars, and loss of an eye due to trauma. 
In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. All 
but thirteen of the applicants were either born with their vision 
impairments or have had them since childhood. The thirteen individuals 
who sustained their vision conditions as adults have had them for 
periods ranging from 4 to 32 years.
    Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision 
standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), each has at least 20/40 corrected 
vision in the other eye, and in a doctor's opinion has sufficient 
vision to perform all the tasks necessary to operate a CMV. The 
doctors' opinions are supported by the applicants' possession of valid 
commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) or non-CDLs to operate CMVs. Before 
issuing CDLs, States subject drivers to knowledge and performance tests 
designed to evaluate their qualifications to operate a CMV. All these 
applicants satisfied the testing standards for their State of 
residence. By meeting State licensing requirements, the applicants 
demonstrated their ability to operate a commercial vehicle, with their 
limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State.
    While possessing a valid CDL or non-CDL, these 40 drivers have been 
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their 
vision disqualifies them from driving in interstate commerce. They have 
driven CMVs with their limited vision for careers ranging from 3 to 45 
years. In the past 3 years, four of the drivers have had convictions 
for traffic violations. Three of these convictions were for speeding. 
One involved a collision but the driver did not receive a citation.
    The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each 
applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the August 19, 2005, 
notice (70 FR 48797). Since there were no substantial docket comments 
on the specific merits or qualifications of any applicant, we have not 
repeated the individual profiles here.

Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an 
exemption from the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) if the 
exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety 
than would be achieved without the exemption. Without the exemption, 
applicants will continue to be restricted to intrastate driving. With 
the exemption, applicants can drive in interstate commerce. Thus, our 
analysis focuses on whether an equal or greater level of safety is 
likely to be achieved by permitting each of these drivers to drive in 
interstate commerce as opposed to restricting him or her to driving in 
intrastate commerce.
    To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, the FMCSA 
considered not only the medical reports about the applicants' vision, 
but also their driving records and experience with the vision 
deficiency. To qualify for an exemption from the vision standard, the 
FMCSA requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he or she 
has driven a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for 3 
years. Recent driving performance is especially important in evaluating 
future safety, according to several research studies designed to 
correlate past and future driving performance. Results of these studies 
support the principle that the best predictor of future performance by 
a driver is his/her past record of crashes and traffic violations. 
Copies of the studies may be found at docket number FMCSA-98-3637.
    We believe we can properly apply the principle to monocular 
drivers, because data from a former FMCSA waiver study program clearly 
demonstrates that the driving performance of experienced monocular 
drivers in the program is better than that of all CMV drivers 
collectively. (See 61 FR 13338, 13345, March 26, 1996.) The fact that 
experienced monocular drivers with good driving records in the waiver 
program demonstrated their ability to drive safely supports a 
conclusion that other monocular drivers, meeting the same qualifying 
conditions as those required by the waiver program, are also likely to 
have adapted to their vision deficiency and will continue to operate 
safely.
    The first major research correlating past and future performance 
was done in England by Greenwood and Yule in 1920. Subsequent studies, 
building on that model, concluded that crash rates for the same 
individual exposed to certain risks for two different time periods vary 
only slightly. (See Bates and Neyman, University of California 
Publications in Statistics, April 1952.) Other studies demonstrated 
theories of predicting crash proneness from crash history coupled with 
other factors. These factors `` such as age, sex, geographic location, 
mileage driven and conviction history `` are used every day by 
insurance companies and motor vehicle bureaus to predict the 
probability of an individual experiencing future crashes. (See Weber, 
Donald C., ``Accident Rate Potential: An Application of Multiple 
Regression Analysis of a Poisson Process,'' Journal of American 
Statistical Association, June 1971.) A 1964 California Driver Record 
Study prepared by the California Department of Motor Vehicles concluded 
that the best overall crash predictor for both concurrent and 
nonconcurrent events is the number of single convictions. This study 
used 3 consecutive years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers 
in the first 2 years with their experiences in the final year.
    Applying principles from these studies to the past 3-year record of 
the 40 applicants receiving an exemption, we note that the applicants 
have had only one collision and three speeding violations in the last 3 
years. The applicants achieved this record of safety while driving with 
their vision impairment, demonstrating the likelihood that they have 
adapted their driving skills to accommodate their condition. As the 
applicants' ample driving histories with their vision deficiencies are 
good predictors of future performance, the FMCSA concludes their 
ability to drive safely can be projected into the future.
    We believe the applicants' intrastate driving experience and 
history provide an adequate basis for predicting their ability to drive 
safely in interstate commerce. Intrastate driving, like interstate 
operations, involves substantial driving on highways on the interstate 
system and on other roads built to interstate standards. Moreover, 
driving in congested urban areas exposes the driver to more pedestrian 
and vehicular traffic than exists on interstate highways. Faster 
reaction to traffic and traffic signals is generally required because 
distances between them are more compact. These

[[Page 61495]]

conditions tax visual capacity and driver response just as intensely as 
interstate driving conditions. The veteran drivers in this proceeding 
have operated CMVs safely under those conditions for at least 3 years, 
most for much longer. Their experience and driving records lead us to 
believe that each applicant is capable of operating in interstate 
commerce as safely as he or she has been performing in intrastate 
commerce. Consequently, the FMCSA finds that exempting these applicants 
from the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) is likely to achieve a 
level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. For this 
reason, the agency is granting the exemptions for the 2-year period 
allowed by 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to the 40 applicants listed in 
the notice of August 19, 2005 (70 FR 21711).
    We recognize that the vision of an applicant may change and affect 
his/her ability to operate a commercial vehicle as safely as in the 
past. As a condition of the exemption, therefore, the FMCSA will impose 
requirements on the 40 individuals consistent with the grandfathering 
provisions applied to drivers who participated in the agency's vision 
waiver program.
    Those requirements are found at 49 CFR 391.64(b) and include the 
following: (1) That each individual be physically examined every year 
(a) by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who attests that the vision in 
the better eye continues to meet the standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), 
and (b) by a medical examiner who attests that the individual is 
otherwise physically qualified under 49 CFR 391.41; (2) that each 
individual provide a copy of the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's 
report to the medical examiner at the time of the annual medical 
examination; and (3) that each individual provide a copy of the annual 
medical certification to the employer for retention in the driver's 
qualification file, or keep a copy in his/her driver's qualification 
file if he/she is self-employed. The driver must also have a copy of 
the certification when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized 
Federal, State, or local enforcement official.

Discussion of Comments

    The FMCSA received two comments in this proceeding. The comments 
were considered and are discussed below.
    An individual, wishing to remain anonymous, commented that they 
have been driving with a vision exemption for several years safely and 
does not believe that vision impaired drivers pose any additional 
danger to the public because of their vision impairment. This 
individual believes drivers who are granted a vision exemption perform 
better than those with normal vision, and hopes that those who oppose 
the Federal exemption program understand that its mere existence is to 
focus on safety on the highways.
    The second comment was received by Advocates for Highway and Auto 
Safety (Advocates) expressing continued opposition to the FMCSA's 
policy to grant exemptions from the FMCSRs, including the driver 
qualification standards. Specifically, Advocates: (1) Objects to the 
manner in which the FMCSA presents driver information to the public and 
makes safety determinations; (2) objects to the agency's reliance on 
conclusions drawn from the vision waiver program; (3) claims the agency 
has misinterpreted statutory language on the granting of exemptions (49 
U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  31315 and 31136(e)); and finally (4) suggests that a 
1999 Supreme Court decision affects the legal validity of vision 
exemptions. The issues raised by Advocates were addressed at length in 
70 FR 16887 (April 1, 2005). We will not address these points again 
here, but refer interested parties to those earlier discussions.

Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 40 exemption applications, the 
FMCSA exempts Roy L. Allen, Calvin D. Atwood, Gregory W. Babington, 
Lennie D. Baker, Jr., John E. Breslin, Arturo Cardozo, William P. 
Doolittle, Steve R. Felks, William M. Gales, III, Jonathan M. Gentry, 
John N. Guilford, Benny D. Hatton, Jr., Robert W. Healey, Jr., 
Nathaniel H. Herbert, Jr., Thomas D. Lambert, Thomas (Tom) W. Markham, 
Eugene P. Martin, Raul Martinez, Joseph L. Mast, Randy G. McCloud, 
Richard L. McEwen, David McKinney, Ralph L. Means, Kevin L. Moody, 
Woody M. Moore, William G. Mote, Charles W. Mullenix, James R. Murphy, 
Kenneth R. Murphy, Gary S. Partridge, Nathan (Nate) D. Peterson, John 
N. Poland, Neal A. Richard, Chris A. Ritenour, Brent L. Seaux, Gerald 
M. Smith, James T. Smith, Nicholas J. Turpin, Gary M. Wolff, and George 
R. Zenor, from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), subject 
to the requirements cited above (49 CFR 391.64(b)).
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), each exemption 
will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The 
exemption will be revoked if: (1) The person fails to comply with the 
terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted 
in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; 
or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the 
goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136. If the exemption is 
still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply 
to the FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time.

    Issued on: October 18, 2005.
Rose A. McMurray,
Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 05-21203 Filed 10-21-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P