Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 75943-75945 [2011-31164]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2011 / Notices jlentini on DSK4TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES The exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions: (1) That each individual has a physical examination every year (a) by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who attests that the vision in the better eye continues to meet the requirements 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 provides 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 and retains a copy of the certification on his/her person while driving for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. Each exemption will be valid for two years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was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. Basis for Renewing Exemptions Under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), an exemption may be granted for no longer than two years from its approval date and may be renewed upon application for additional two year periods. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each of the 28 applicants has satisfied the entry conditions for obtaining an exemption from the vision requirements (64 FR 27027; 64 FR 51568;64 FR 68195; 65 FR 20251; 66 FR 48504; 66 FR 53826; 66 FR 63289; 66 FR 66966; 67 FR 10471; 67 FR 19798; 68 FR 54775;68 FR 64944; 68 FR 69434; 69 FR 19611; 70 FR 30999; 70 FR 46567; 70 FR 48797; 70 FR 53412; 70 FR 57353; 70 FR 61493; 70 FR 67776; 70 FR 72689; 70 FR 74102; 72 FR 39879; 72 FR 52422; 72 FR 58362; 72 FR 62896; 72 FR 62897; 72 FR 67344; 74 FR 37295; 74 FR 43217; 74 FR 43222; 74 FR 48343; 74 FR 49069; 74 FR 57551; 74 FR 60021). Each of these 28 applicants has requested renewal of the exemption and has submitted evidence showing that the vision in the better eye continues to meet the requirement specified at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) and that the vision impairment is stable. In addition, a review of each record of safety while driving with the respective vision deficiencies over the past two years indicates each applicant continues to meet the vision exemption VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Dec 02, 2011 Jkt 226001 requirements. These factors provide an adequate basis for predicting each driver’s ability to continue to drive safely in interstate commerce. Therefore, FMCSA concludes that extending the exemption for each renewal applicant for a period of two years is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. Request for Comments FMCSA will review comments received at any time concerning a particular driver’s safety record and determine if the continuation of the exemption is consistent with the requirements at 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315. However, FMCSA requests that interested parties with specific data concerning the safety records of these drivers submit comments by January 4, 2012. FMCSA believes that the requirements for a renewal of an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 can be satisfied by initially granting the renewal and then requesting and evaluating, if needed, subsequent comments submitted by interested parties. As indicated above, the Agency previously published notices of final disposition announcing its decision to exempt these 28 individuals from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). The final decision to grant an exemption to each of these individuals was made on the merits of each case and made only after careful consideration of the comments received to its notices of applications. The notices of applications stated in detail the qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant for an exemption from the vision requirements. That information is available by consulting the above cited Federal Register publications. Interested parties or organizations possessing information that would otherwise show that any, or all, of these drivers are not currently achieving the statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any adverse evidence submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption of a driver. Issued on: November 28, 2011. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2011–31151 Filed 12–2–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 75943 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2011–0190] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 14 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 requirement. 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 December 5, 2011. The exemptions expire on December 5, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief, Medical Programs Division, (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: SUMMARY: 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 selfaddressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line. Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 75944 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2011 / Notices 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 DOT’s Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit http:// edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8– 785.pdf. jlentini on DSK4TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background On October 17, 2011, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications from certain individuals, and requested comments from the public (76 FR 64169). That notice listed 14 applicants’ case histories. The 14 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 14 applications on their merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to each 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 requirement red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)). FMCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision requirement, but have adapted their driving to accommodate their vision limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 14 exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons, including retinal detachment, amblyopia, complete loss of vision, prosthesis, central retinal vein occlusion, postenor ureal malignant melanoma, cataract, and retinal scarring. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Dec 02, 2011 Jkt 226001 In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. Nine of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had them since childhood. The 5 individuals who sustained their vision conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging from 5 to 35 years. Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision requirement 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 of these applicants satisfied the testing requirements 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 14 drivers have been authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. With their limited vision, they have driven CMVs for careers ranging from 3 to 33 years. In the past 3 years, none of the drivers was involved in crashes and one was convicted of two moving violations in a CMV. The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the October 17, 2011, notice (76 FR 64169). Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption from the vision requirement 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 the medical reports about PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the applicants’ vision, as well as their driving records and experience with the vision deficiency. To qualify for an exemption from the vision requirement, 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 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 E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 jlentini on DSK4TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2011 / Notices 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 14 applicants, none of the applicants was involved in crashes and one applicant was convicted of two moving violations in a CMV for speeding. All the applicants achieved a 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 requirement 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 14 applicants listed in the notice of October 17, 2011 (76 FR 64169). 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 14 individuals consistent with the grandfathering provisions applied to drivers who participated in the Agency’s vision waiver program. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Dec 02, 2011 Jkt 226001 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 requirement 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 one comment in this proceeding. The comment was considered and discussed below. Laura J. Krol of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is in favor of granting David A. Rice an exemption. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 14 exemption applications, FMCSA exempts, Kevin G. Clem (SD), Richard A. Hackney (MS), Rocky J. Lachney (LA), Herman Martinez (NM), Charles L. McClendon (FL), Gerald L. Pagan (NC), Danny C Pope (IL), David A. Rice (PA), Levi A. Shelter (OH), Rick E. Smith (IL), Juan E. Sotero (FL), Randell K. Tyler (AL), Steven R. Wetlesen (AL) and Jeffrey K. Yockey (OH) 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. PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 75945 Issued on: November 28, 2011. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2011–31164 Filed 12–2–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Safety Advisory 2011–03 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of Safety Advisory; Bridge Walkway Hazards. AGENCY: FRA is issuing Safety Advisory 2011–03 to remind each railroad bridge worker, railroad, and contractor or subcontractor to a railroad of the dangers posed by walking on unsecured sections of walkway and platform gratings, especially without fall protection. This safety advisory contains various recommendations to the employers of bridge workers to ensure that this issue is addressed by appropriate policies, procedures, and employee compliance. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Hynes, Director, Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, Office of Railroad Safety, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 493–6404; Carlo Patrick, Staff Director, Rail and Infrastructure Integrity Division, Office of Railroad Safety, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 493–6399; or Alan H. Nagler, Senior Trial Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 493–6049. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 1992, FRA established safety standards for the protection of those who work on railroad bridges at Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 214, subpart B. The regulations require railroads and railroad contractors to provide, and employees to use, fall protection and personal protective equipment, including head, foot, eye, and face equipment for employees as they work on railroad bridges. The regulation also contains standards related to scaffolding. The purpose of FRA’s bridge worker safety standards regulation is to prevent accidents and casualties to employees involved in certain railroad inspection, maintenance, and construction activities. The purpose of this safety advisory is to focus attention on the unsafe SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 233 (Monday, December 5, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75943-75945]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31164]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2011-0190]


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 14 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 requirement. 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 December 5, 2011. The exemptions 
expire on December 5, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief, Medical 
Programs Division, (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-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard 
or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting 
comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the

[[Page 75944]]

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 DOT's Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS 
published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or 
you may visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.

Background

    On October 17, 2011, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of 
exemption applications from certain individuals, and requested comments 
from the public (76 FR 64169). That notice listed 14 applicants' case 
histories. The 14 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 14 applications on their merits 
and made a determination to grant exemptions to each 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 requirement 
red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)).
    FMCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision 
requirement, but have adapted their driving to accommodate their vision 
limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 14 
exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They 
are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various 
reasons, including retinal detachment, amblyopia, complete loss of 
vision, prosthesis, central retinal vein occlusion, postenor ureal 
malignant melanoma, cataract, and retinal scarring. In most cases, 
their eye conditions were not recently developed. Nine of the 
applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had 
them since childhood. The 5 individuals who sustained their vision 
conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging from 5 to 35 
years.
    Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision 
requirement 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 of these applicants satisfied the testing requirements 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 14 drivers have been 
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their 
vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. With 
their limited vision, they have driven CMVs for careers ranging from 3 
to 33 years. In the past 3 years, none of the drivers was involved in 
crashes and one was convicted of two moving violations in a CMV.
    The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each 
applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the October 17, 2011, 
notice (76 FR 64169).

Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the vision requirement 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 the medical reports about the applicants' vision, as well as 
their driving records and experience with the vision deficiency.
    To qualify for an exemption from the vision requirement, 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 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

[[Page 75945]]

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 14 applicants, none of the applicants was involved in crashes and 
one applicant was convicted of two moving violations in a CMV for 
speeding. All the applicants achieved a 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 requirement 
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 14 applicants listed in the notice of October 
17, 2011 (76 FR 64169).
    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 14 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 requirement 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 one comment in this proceeding. The comment was 
considered and discussed below.
    Laura J. Krol of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is 
in favor of granting David A. Rice an exemption.

Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 14 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts, Kevin G. Clem (SD), Richard A. Hackney (MS), Rocky J. Lachney 
(LA), Herman Martinez (NM), Charles L. McClendon (FL), Gerald L. Pagan 
(NC), Danny C Pope (IL), David A. Rice (PA), Levi A. Shelter (OH), Rick 
E. Smith (IL), Juan E. Sotero (FL), Randell K. Tyler (AL), Steven R. 
Wetlesen (AL) and Jeffrey K. Yockey (OH) 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: November 28, 2011.
Larry W. Minor,
 Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2011-31164 Filed 12-2-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P