Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 4623-4625 [2010-1766]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 18 / Thursday, January 28, 2010 / Notices required the assistance of another person, or resulted in impaired cognitive function without warning symptoms in the past 5 years (with one year of stability following any such episode). In each case, an endocrinologist has verified that the driver has demonstrated willingness to properly monitor and manage his/her diabetes, received education related to diabetes management, and is on a stable insulin regimen. These drivers report no other disqualifying conditions, including diabetes-related complications. Each meets the vision standard at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). The qualifications and medical condition of each applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the December 11, 2009 Federal Register Notice; therefore, they will not be repeated in this notice. mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption from the diabetes standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) if the exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved without the exemption. The exemption allows the applicants to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, FMCSA considered medical reports about the applicants’ ITDM and vision, and reviewed the treating endocrinologists’ medical opinion related to the ability of the driver to safely operate a CMV while using insulin. Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these applicants from the diabetes standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. Conditions and Requirements The terms and conditions of the exemption will be provided to the applicants in the exemption document and they include the following: (1) That each individual submit a quarterly monitoring checklist completed by the treating endocrinologist as well as an annual checklist with a comprehensive medical evaluation; (2) that each individual reports within 2 business days of occurrence, all episodes of severe hypoglycemia, significant complications, or inability to manage diabetes; also, any involvement in an accident or any other adverse event in a CMV or personal vehicle, whether or not it is related to an episode of hypoglycemia; (3) that each individual provide a copy of the ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s report to the medical VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:16 Jan 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 examiner at the time of the annual medical examination; and (4) 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. FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the fortysix exemption applications, FMCSA exempts Bob A. Bauer, Michael P. Berger, William D. Blosch, Michael Bohlen, Bradley N. Brown, Victor M. Brunner, Tom L. Cooley, Wallace E. Crouse, Jr., Jesse A. DeCoux, Robert G. Dohman, Jr., Andrew J. Dreyer, Danny E. Edmondson, Steven W. Edwards, Mark W. Espeaignette, Andrew C. Everett, Paul J. Failla, Wendell G. Fordham, Eugene G. Friedman, Edward L. Gilbert, Donald W. Hansen, Joseph S. Hernandez, Corrine J. Hoffman, Robert E. Holden, Shondell S. Ivy, Kevin Joaquin, Jordan T. Johnston, Jere W. Kirkpatrick, Joshua J. Kramer, Kyle A. Leach, Robert J. Lewis, Jr., Mitchell D. Luft, Martin E. Marandola, Richard W. McNeil, Stacy R. Oberholzer, Michael S. Ogle, Walter L. Patrick, Clifford A. Peters, Richard L. Piercefield, Steven F. Riley, Kevin A. Roginski, Herman Smalls, Jr., Bruce M. Stockton, Rick M. Tiu, Todd R. Vickers, Shaun M. Wheeler and Charles A. Witt from the ITDM standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3), subject to the conditions listed under ‘‘Conditions and Requirements’’ above. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 each exemption will be valid for two years unless revoked earlier by 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. 31136(e) and 31315. If the exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time. Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Issued on: January 22, 2010. Charles A. Horan III, Acting Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development. [FR Doc. 2010–1732 Filed 1–27–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket ID. FMCSA–2009–0303] Discussion of Comments PO 00000 4623 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 27 individuals from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision standard. The Agency has concluded that granting these exemptions will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety maintained without the exemptions for these CMV drivers. DATES: The exemptions are effective January 28, 2010. The exemptions expire on January 30, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Director, Medical Programs, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W64– 224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at http:// www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or Room W12–140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self- E:\FR\FM\28JAN1.SGM 28JAN1 4624 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 18 / Thursday, January 28, 2010 / Notices addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments online. Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476). This information is also available at http://Docketsinfo.dot.gov. mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Background On November 19, 2009, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications from certain individuals, and requested comments from the public 74 FR 60022). That notice listed 27 applicants’ case histories. The 27 individuals applied for exemptions from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), for drivers who operate CMVs in interstate commerce. Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption for a 2year 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, FMCSA has evaluated the 27 applications on their merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to all of them. 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 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 a 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)). FMCSA 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 27 exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They are VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:16 Jan 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 unable to meet the vision standard in one eye for various reasons, including amblyopia, optic nerve hyperplasia, retinopathy of prematurity, macular hole, central serous retinopathy, prosthesis, macular degeneration, cataract, extropia, diabetic retinopathy, aphakia, and loss of vision due to trauma. In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. All but 7 of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had them since childhood. The 7 individuals who sustained their vision conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging from 13 to 44 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. 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 skills 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 27 drivers have been authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. They have driven CMVs with their limited vision for careers ranging from 3 to 38 years. In the past 3 years, three of the drivers had convictions for traffic violations and one of the drivers was involved in a crash. The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the November 19, 2009 notice (74 FR 60022). Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, 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 PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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, 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, FMCSA requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he/she has driven a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for the past 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–1998– 3637. We believe we can properly apply the principle to monocular drivers, because data from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) former waiver study program clearly demonstrate 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 demonstrated safe driving records in the waiver program 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 E:\FR\FM\28JAN1.SGM 28JAN1 mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 18 / Thursday, January 28, 2010 / Notices Application of Multiple Regression Analysis of a Poisson Process,’’ Journal of the 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 27 applicants, one of the applicants had a traffic violation for speeding, one of the applicants had a traffic violation for failure to obey a traffic sign and another had a traffic violation for failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle, and one applicant was involved in a crash. 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, FMCSA concludes their ability to drive safely can be projected into the future. We believe that 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 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/she has been performing in intrastate commerce. Consequently, 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. 31136(e) and 31315 to the 27 applicants VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:16 Jan 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 listed in the notice of November 19, 2009 (74 FR 60022). We recognize that the vision of an applicant may change and affect his/her ability to operate a CMV as safely as in the past. As a condition of the exemption, therefore, FMCSA will impose requirements on the 27 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 FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 27 exemption applications, FMCSA exempts Teddy S. Bioni, John K. Butler, James J. Coffield, Roy E. Crayne, Ralph G. DeBardi, James A. DuBay, Chad D. Grose, Donald E. Halvorson, Gerald Harrison, Roger D. Kool, Curtis M. Lawless, Michael E. Lindquist, Philip J.C. Locke, Travis J. Luce, Cameron S. McMillen, Carl L. Miles, Rashawn L. Morris, Brian T. Nelson, James C. New, Thomas E. O’Compo, Christopher M. Rivera, Richard J. Robb, Larry L. Sapp, Temesgn H. Teklezig, Robert E. Whitney, Robert D. Williams, and James M. Wood 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. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by 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 PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4625 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. 31136 and 31315. If the exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time. Issued on: January 11, 2010. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development. [FR Doc. 2010–1766 Filed 1–27–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–1999–5578; FMCSA– 1999–5748; FMCSA–2001–9258; FMCSA– 2002–12844; FMCSA–2003–15892; FMCSA– 2005–21711] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Renewals; Vision AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. SUMMARY: FMCSA previously announced its decision to renew the exemptions from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for 22 individuals. FMCSA has statutory authority to exempt individuals from the vision requirement if the exemptions granted will not compromise safety. The Agency has concluded that granting these exemptions will provide a level of safety that will be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety maintained without the exemptions for these commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Director, Medical Programs, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W64– 224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at http:// www.regulations.gov. E:\FR\FM\28JAN1.SGM 28JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 18 (Thursday, January 28, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4623-4625]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-1766]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket ID. FMCSA-2009-0303]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 27 individuals from the 
vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs). The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate 
commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without meeting 
the prescribed vision standard. The Agency has concluded that granting 
these exemptions will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, 
or greater than, the level of safety maintained without the exemptions 
for these CMV drivers.

DATES: The exemptions are effective January 28, 2010. The exemptions 
expire on January 30, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Director, Medical 
Programs, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W64-224, Washington, 
DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 
days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your 
comments, please include a self-

[[Page 4624]]

addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement 
page that appears after submitting comments online.
    Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). 
You may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal 
Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476). This information is 
also available at http://Docketsinfo.dot.gov.

Background

    On November 19, 2009, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of 
exemption applications from certain individuals, and requested comments 
from the public 74 FR 60022). That notice listed 27 applicants' case 
histories. The 27 individuals applied for exemptions from the vision 
requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), for drivers who operate CMVs in 
interstate commerce.
    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, 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, FMCSA has evaluated the 27 applications on their merits 
and made a determination to grant exemptions to all of them.

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 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 a 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)).
    FMCSA 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 27 exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this 
category. They are unable to meet the vision standard in one eye for 
various reasons, including amblyopia, optic nerve hyperplasia, 
retinopathy of prematurity, macular hole, central serous retinopathy, 
prosthesis, macular degeneration, cataract, extropia, diabetic 
retinopathy, aphakia, and loss of vision due to trauma. In most cases, 
their eye conditions were not recently developed. All but 7 of the 
applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had 
them since childhood. The 7 individuals who sustained their vision 
conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging from 13 to 44 
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. 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 skills 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 27 drivers have been 
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their 
vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce.
    They have driven CMVs with their limited vision for careers ranging 
from 3 to 38 years. In the past 3 years, three of the drivers had 
convictions for traffic violations and one of the drivers was involved 
in a crash.
    The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each 
applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the November 19, 2009 
notice (74 FR 60022).

Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, 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, 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, FMCSA 
requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he/she has driven 
a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for the past 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-1998-3637.
    We believe we can properly apply the principle to monocular 
drivers, because data from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) 
former waiver study program clearly demonstrate 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 demonstrated safe driving 
records in the waiver program 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

[[Page 4625]]

Application of Multiple Regression Analysis of a Poisson Process,'' 
Journal of the 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 27 applicants, one of the applicants had a traffic violation for 
speeding, one of the applicants had a traffic violation for failure to 
obey a traffic sign and another had a traffic violation for failure to 
yield the right of way to another vehicle, and one applicant was 
involved in a crash. 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, FMCSA 
concludes their ability to drive safely can be projected into the 
future.
    We believe that 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 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/she has been performing in intrastate commerce. Consequently, 
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. 
31136(e) and 31315 to the 27 applicants listed in the notice of 
November 19, 2009 (74 FR 60022).
    We recognize that the vision of an applicant may change and affect 
his/her ability to operate a CMV as safely as in the past. As a 
condition of the exemption, therefore, FMCSA will impose requirements 
on the 27 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

    FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding.

Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 27 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts Teddy S. Bioni, John K. Butler, James J. Coffield, Roy E. 
Crayne, Ralph G. DeBardi, James A. DuBay, Chad D. Grose, Donald E. 
Halvorson, Gerald Harrison, Roger D. Kool, Curtis M. Lawless, Michael 
E. Lindquist, Philip J.C. Locke, Travis J. Luce, Cameron S. McMillen, 
Carl L. Miles, Rashawn L. Morris, Brian T. Nelson, James C. New, Thomas 
E. O'Compo, Christopher M. Rivera, Richard J. Robb, Larry L. Sapp, 
Temesgn H. Teklezig, Robert E. Whitney, Robert D. Williams, and James 
M. Wood 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. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption 
will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by 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. 31136 and 31315. If the exemption is 
still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply 
to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time.

    Issued on: January 11, 2010.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 2010-1766 Filed 1-27-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P