Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 41737-41740 [2014-16796]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 137 / Thursday, July 17, 2014 / Notices 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. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Submitting Comments You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket numbers FMCSA–2012–0161 and click the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button on the right hand side of the page. On the new page, enter information required including the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, selfaddressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of the comment period. Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble, To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA–2012–0161 and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ and VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:01 Jul 16, 2014 Jkt 232001 you will find all documents and comments related to the proposed rulemaking. Issued on: July 10, 2014. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–16798 Filed 7–16–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2014–0008] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of applications for exemptions; request for comments. AGENCY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 5 individuals for exemption from the vision requirement for operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The applicants are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons. The exemptions will allow these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision requirement in one eye. At the end of the comment period, the Agency will grant exemptions to the applicants listed herein if there are no adverse comments that indicate the driver’s ability will not achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulations. All comments will be reviewed and evaluated by FMCSA. Some individuals appearing in this notice may not receive exemptions based on comments received during the comment period. Individuals not granted an exemption may either be published at a future date based on further evaluation or may not be deemed to meet the aforementioned level of safety if granted an exemption. These individuals will be published in a quarterly notice of exemption denials. As always, any adverse comments received after the exemption is granted will be evaluated, and if they indicate that the driver is not achieving a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation, the exemption will be revoked. When granted, the exemptions will allow these individuals with vision deficiencies in one eye to operate in interstate commerce. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41737 Comments must be received on or before August 18, 2014. All comments will be investigated by FMCSA. The exemptions will be issued the day after the comment period closes. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA– 2014–0008 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket numbers for this notice. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below for further information. 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 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 Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief, Medical Programs Division, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, DATES: E:\FR\FM\17JYN1.SGM 17JYN1 41738 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 137 / Thursday, July 17, 2014 / Notices an operator’s license from Louisiana. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. 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: Background Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 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. The 5 individuals listed in this notice have recently requested such an exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce. Accordingly, the Agency has evaluated the qualifications of each applicant to determine whether granting an exemption will achieve the required level of safety mandated by statute. Qualifications of Applicants Leverne F. Schulte Jr. Mr. Schulte, 57, has a large corneal scar resulting in poor vision in his right eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, ‘‘I examined Mr. Schulte on April 3, 2014. He wanted to get an interstate CDL. Currently he has intrastate license only. He has a history of an injury to his right cornea . . . Since he is presently driving in the state and has no trouble [sic] I don’t see any danger in him driving across the state line.’’ Mr. Schulte reported that he has driven straight trucks for 21 years, accumulating 42,000 miles, and tractortrailer combinations for 37 years, accumulating 277,500 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Ohio. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Christopher D. Bolomey Mr. Bolomey, 40, has strabismus, a cataract, and optic nerve damage in his right eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, ‘‘Needs to be checked for Federal DOT exemption. No changes to vision. Snce [sic] LEE [sic] 12–31–2013 . . . Pass for DOT or Fed Driving w/[sic] correcton [sic].’’ Mr. Bolomey reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 10 years, accumulating 875,500 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Missouri. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Clark D. Workman Mr. Workman, 56, has had Coats’ disease and a branch retinal artery occlusion resulting in a macular scar in his left eye since 2009. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/70. Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, ‘‘I certify in my medical opinion the Mr [sic] Workman has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Workman reported that he has driven straight trucks for 36 years, accumulating 72,000 miles, and tractortrailer combinations for 38 years, accumulating 190,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Idaho. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Leamon V. Manchester Mr. Manchester, 46, has complete loss of vision in his left eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/ 20, and in his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination in 2014, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘Mr. Manchester [sic] vision status meets the requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle.’’ Mr. Manchester reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 1.75 million miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 20 years, accumulating 2 million miles. He holds Paul M. Wooton Mr. Wooton, 36, has a macular scar in his left eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/70. Following an examination in 2014, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘I have recommended that he is safely about to operate [sic] the commercial motor vehicle as he has good peripheral vision and fairly decent central vision with the left eye.’’ Mr. Wooton reported that he has driven straight trucks for 5 years, accumulating 150,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 2 years, accumulating 150,000 miles. He holds a VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:01 Jul 16, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Class DA CDL from Kentucky. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of the 5 applicants and determined that granting the exemptions to these individuals would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). Absent the receipt of comments indicating that a driver’s ability would not achieve the aforementioned level of safety, the Agency will grant the drivers an exemption the day after the comment period closes. 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 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 red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)). MCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision requirement but have adapted Ftheir driving to accommodate their vision limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 5 exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons, and in most cases their eye conditions were not recently developed. Four of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had them since childhood. The one individual that sustained his vision condition as an adult has had it for 5 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 E:\FR\FM\17JYN1.SGM 17JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 137 / Thursday, July 17, 2014 / Notices pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 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 CMV, with their limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State. While possessing a valid CDL or nonCDL, these 5 drivers have been authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant is stated and discussed in detail above. 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. FMCSA believes it 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, VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:31 Jul 16, 2014 Jkt 232001 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 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 5 applicants, none of the drivers were involved in crashes or convicted of moving violations in a CMV. 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. FMCSA believes 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, PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41739 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 5 applicants listed in this notice. 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 5 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 selfemployed. The driver must have a copy of the certification when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. 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 E:\FR\FM\17JYN1.SGM 17JYN1 41740 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 137 / Thursday, July 17, 2014 / Notices 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. Request for Comments In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions described in this notice. The Agency will consider all comments received before the close of business August 18, 2014. Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency will file comments received after the comment closing date in the public docket, and will consider them to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the public docket for new material. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Submitting Comments You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA–2014–0008 and click the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button on the right hand side of the page. On the new page, enter information required including the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, selfaddressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of the comment period. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:01 Jul 16, 2014 Jkt 232001 Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble, To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA–2014–0008 and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ and you will find all documents and comments related to the proposed rulemaking. Issued on: July 10, 2014. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–16796 Filed 7–16–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2004–17195; FMCSA– 2011–0380; FMCSA–2012–0160] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of renewal of exemptions; request for comments. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew the exemptions from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for 5 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 exemption renewals will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions for these commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. DATES: This decision is effective August 27, 2014. Comments must be received on or before August 18, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) numbers: Docket No. [Docket No. FMCSA–2004–17195; FMCSA–2011–0380; FMCSA–2012– 0160], using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below. 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 Federal Docket Management System (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 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 Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316). 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: Background Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may renew an exemption from the vision requirements in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce, for a two-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 E:\FR\FM\17JYN1.SGM 17JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 137 (Thursday, July 17, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41737-41740]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16796]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0008]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

ACTION: Notice of applications for exemptions; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 5 individuals for 
exemption from the vision requirement for operating a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The 
applicants are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for 
various reasons. The exemptions will allow these individuals to operate 
CMVs in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision 
requirement in one eye. At the end of the comment period, the Agency 
will grant exemptions to the applicants listed herein if there are no 
adverse comments that indicate the driver's ability will not achieve a 
level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that 
would be obtained by complying with the regulations. All comments will 
be reviewed and evaluated by FMCSA. Some individuals appearing in this 
notice may not receive exemptions based on comments received during the 
comment period. Individuals not granted an exemption may either be 
published at a future date based on further evaluation or may not be 
deemed to meet the aforementioned level of safety if granted an 
exemption. These individuals will be published in a quarterly notice of 
exemption denials. As always, any adverse comments received after the 
exemption is granted will be evaluated, and if they indicate that the 
driver is not achieving a level of safety equivalent to or greater than 
the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the 
regulation, the exemption will be revoked. When granted, the exemptions 
will allow these individuals with vision deficiencies in one eye to 
operate in interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 18, 2014. All 
comments will be investigated by FMCSA. The exemptions will be issued 
the day after the comment period closes.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0008 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket numbers for this notice. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below 
for further information.
    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 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 Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) published in the Federal Register on January 
17, 2008 (73 FR 3316).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief, Medical 
Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA,

[[Page 41738]]

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:

Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 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. The 5 individuals listed in 
this notice have recently requested such an exemption from the vision 
requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which applies to drivers of CMVs 
in interstate commerce. Accordingly, the Agency has evaluated the 
qualifications of each applicant to determine whether granting an 
exemption will achieve the required level of safety mandated by 
statute.

Qualifications of Applicants

Christopher D. Bolomey

    Mr. Bolomey, 40, has strabismus, a cataract, and optic nerve damage 
in his right eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The 
visual acuity in his right eye is light perception, and in his left 
eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, 
``Needs to be checked for Federal DOT exemption. No changes to vision. 
Snce [sic] LEE [sic] 12-31-2013 . . . Pass for DOT or Fed Driving w/
[sic] correcton [sic].'' Mr. Bolomey reported that he has driven 
tractor-trailer combinations for 10 years, accumulating 875,500 miles. 
He holds a Class A CDL from Missouri. His driving record for the last 3 
years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a 
CMV.

Leamon V. Manchester

    Mr. Manchester, 46, has complete loss of vision in his left eye due 
to a traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his 
right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, no light perception. Following 
an examination in 2014, his ophthalmologist stated, ``Mr. Manchester 
[sic] vision status meets the requirements to operate a commercial 
motor vehicle.'' Mr. Manchester reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for 20 years, accumulating 1.75 million miles, and tractor-
trailer combinations for 20 years, accumulating 2 million miles. He 
holds an operator's license from Louisiana. His driving record for the 
last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

Leverne F. Schulte Jr.

    Mr. Schulte, 57, has a large corneal scar resulting in poor vision 
in his right eye due to a traumatic incident during childhood. The 
visual acuity in his right eye is light perception, and in his left 
eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, 
``I examined Mr. Schulte on April 3, 2014. He wanted to get an 
interstate CDL. Currently he has intrastate license only. He has a 
history of an injury to his right cornea . . . Since he is presently 
driving in the state and has no trouble [sic] I don't see any danger in 
him driving across the state line.'' Mr. Schulte reported that he has 
driven straight trucks for 21 years, accumulating 42,000 miles, and 
tractor-trailer combinations for 37 years, accumulating 277,500 miles. 
He holds a Class A CDL from Ohio. His driving record for the last 3 
years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a 
CMV.

Clark D. Workman

    Mr. Workman, 56, has had Coats' disease and a branch retinal artery 
occlusion resulting in a macular scar in his left eye since 2009. The 
visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/70. 
Following an examination in 2014, his optometrist stated, ``I certify 
in my medical opinion the Mr [sic] Workman has sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Workman reported that he has driven straight trucks for 36 years, 
accumulating 72,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 38 
years, accumulating 190,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Idaho. 
His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no 
convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Paul M. Wooton

    Mr. Wooton, 36, has a macular scar in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye 
is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/70. Following an examination in 2014, 
his ophthalmologist stated, ``I have recommended that he is safely 
about to operate [sic] the commercial motor vehicle as he has good 
peripheral vision and fairly decent central vision with the left eye.'' 
Mr. Wooton reported that he has driven straight trucks for 5 years, 
accumulating 150,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 2 
years, accumulating 150,000 miles. He holds a Class DA CDL from 
Kentucky. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and 
no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.
    FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of the 5 applicants and 
determined that granting the exemptions to these individuals would 
achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that 
would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(10). Absent the receipt of comments indicating that a 
driver's ability would not achieve the aforementioned level of safety, 
the Agency will grant the drivers an exemption the day after the 
comment period closes.

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 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 red, green, 
and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)).
    MCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision 
requirement but have adapted Ftheir driving to accommodate their vision 
limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 5 
exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They 
are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various 
reasons, and in most cases their eye conditions were not recently 
developed. Four of the applicants were either born with their vision 
impairments or have had them since childhood. The one individual that 
sustained his vision condition as an adult has had it for 5 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

[[Page 41739]]

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 CMV, with their 
limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State.
    While possessing a valid CDL or non-CDL, these 5 drivers have been 
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their 
vision disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. The 
qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant is 
stated and discussed in detail above.

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.
    FMCSA believes it 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 non-concurrent 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 5 applicants, none of the drivers were involved in crashes or 
convicted of moving violations in a CMV. 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.
    FMCSA believes 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 5 applicants 
listed in this notice.
    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 5 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 have a 
copy of the certification when driving, for presentation to a duly 
authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official.
    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

[[Page 41740]]

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.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions 
described in this notice. The Agency will consider all comments 
received before the close of business August 18, 2014. Comments will be 
available for examination in the docket at the location listed under 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency will file comments 
received after the comment closing date in the public docket, and will 
consider them to the extent practicable.
    In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in 
the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after 
the comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the public 
docket for new material.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, 
or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA 
recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email 
address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA 
can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA-2014-0008 and click 
the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue 
``Comment Now!'' button on the right hand side of the page. On the new 
page, enter information required including the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. If you submit your comments by mail or 
hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ 
by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit 
comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, 
please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    We will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your 
comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of 
the comment period.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this 
preamble, To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number 
FMCSA-2014-0008 and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket 
Folder'' and you will find all documents and comments related to the 
proposed rulemaking.

    Issued on: July 10, 2014.
Larry W. Minor,
 Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2014-16796 Filed 7-16-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P