Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders, 16507-16509 [2015-07052]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 59 / Friday, March 27, 2015 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES use of a sleeper berth to minimize risk and expedite delivery in a safe and secure manner. DOE asserts that granting a renewal of the exemption would continue to allow team drivers to manage their en-route rest periods efficiently and also perform mandated shipment security surveillance, resulting in a safe and secure driving performance during a long distance trip. DOE has implemented several technical and administrative controls to ensure the continued effective use of driver on-duty and rest-break time, which would remain in effect under the requested exemption renewal. They include the following: • Real-time tracking and monitoring of transuranic waste and securitysensitive shipments using DOE’s satellite-based systems. • Use of electronic on-board recorders on trucks, which is contractually required for motor carriers involved in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to ensure compliance with driver HOS rules. • Continuous monitoring of the performance of DOE-qualified motor carriers using the FMCSA Compliance Safety Accountability Program’s Safety Measurement System, and DOE’s Motor Carrier Evaluation Program. Further details regarding DOE’s safety controls can be found in its application for a renewal of the exemption. The application can be accessed in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. DOE contends that these controls enable them to achieve a high level of safety and security for transportation of security-sensitive radioactive materials. DOE believes that its contract employee drivers should continue to be allowed to follow the requirements of § 395.1(q) when transporting shipments of security-sensitive radioactive materials. DOE believes that shipments made under the requested exemption renewal would achieve a level of safety and security that is at least equivalent to that which would be obtained by following the normal rest break requirement in § 395.3(a)(3)(ii). In their initial application, DOE had estimated that 30 power units and 53 drivers would be eligible for the exemption. The proposed exemption renewal would be effective from June 30, 2015 through June 30, 2017. Request for Comments In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA requests public comment on DOE’s application for a renewal of an exemption from certain provisions of the driver’s record of duty status rules in 49 CFR part 395. The Agency will consider all comments received by close of business on April VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:59 Mar 26, 2015 Jkt 235001 16507 27, 2015. Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency will consider to the extent practicable comments received in the public docket after the closing date of the comment period. FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64–224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Issued on: March 19, 2015. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. A. Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at: https:// www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to https:// www.regulations.gov and/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., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. [FR Doc. 2015–07060 Filed 3–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2014–0214] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant requests from 5 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have ‘‘no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a CMV.’’ The regulation and the associated advisory criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations as the ‘‘Instructions for Performing and Recording Physical Examinations’’ have resulted in numerous drivers being prohibited from operating CMVs in interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more seizures and are taking antiseizure medication, rather than an individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified medical examiner. The Agency concluded that granting exemptions for these CMV drivers will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions. FMCSA grants exemptions that will allow these 5 individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The exemptions preempt State laws and regulations and may be renewed. DATES: The exemptions are effective March 27, 2015. The exemptions expire on March 27, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles A. Horan, III, Director, Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00149 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 B. Background Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the 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. FMCSA grants 5 individuals an exemption from the regulatory requirement in § 391.41(b)(8), to allow these individuals who take anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The Agency’s decision on these exemption applications is based on an individualized assessment of each applicant’s medical information, including the root cause of the respective seizure(s), the length of time elapsed since the individual’s last seizure, and each individual’s treatment regimen. In addition, the Agency reviewed each applicant’s driving record found in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) 1 1 Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) is an information system that allows the exchange of commercial driver licensing information among all the States. CDLIS includes the databases of fifty-one licensing jurisdictions and E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM Continued 27MRN1 16508 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 59 / Friday, March 27, 2015 / Notices for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, and interstate and intrastate inspections recorded in Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).2 For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State licensing agency. The Agency acknowledges the potential consequences of a driver experiencing a seizure while operating a CMV. However, the Agency believes the drivers covered by the exemptions granted here have demonstrated that they are unlikely to have a seizure and their medical condition does not pose a risk to public safety. In reaching the decision to grant these exemption requests, the Agency considered both current medical literature and information and the 2007 recommendations of the Agency’s Medical Expert Panel (MEP). The Agency previously gathered evidence for potential changes to the regulation at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) by conducting a comprehensive review of scientific literature that was compiled into the ‘‘Evidence Report on Seizure Disorders and Commercial Vehicle Driving’’ (Evidence Report) [CD–ROM HD TL230.3 .E95 2007]. The Agency then convened a panel of medical experts in the field of neurology (the MEP) on May 14–15, 2007, to review 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) and the advisory criteria regarding individuals who have experienced a seizure, and the 2007 Evidence Report. The Evidence Report and the MEP recommendations are published on-line at https:// www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/ topics/mep/mep-reports.htm, under Seizure Disorders, and are in the docket for this notice. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES MEP Criteria for Evaluation On October 15, 2007, the MEP issued the following recommended criteria for evaluating whether an individual with epilepsy or a seizure disorder should be allowed to operate a CMV.3 The MEP recommendations are included in previously published dockets. Epilepsy diagnosis. If there is an epilepsy diagnosis, the applicant should be seizure-free for 8 years, on or off medication. If the individual is taking the CDLIS Central Site, all connected by a telecommunications network. 2 Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is an information system that captures data from field offices through SAFETYNET, CAPRI, and other sources. It is a source for FMCSA inspection, crash, compliance review, safety audit, and registration data. 3 Engel, J., Fisher, R.S., Krauss, G.L., Krumholz, A., and Quigg, M.S., ‘‘Expert Panel Recommendations: Seizure Disorders and Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety,’’ FMCSA, October 15, 2007. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:59 Mar 26, 2015 Jkt 235001 anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. Recertification for drivers with an epilepsy diagnosis should be performed every year. Single unprovoked seizure. If there is a single unprovoked seizure (i.e., there is no known trigger for the seizure), the individual should be seizure-free for 4 years, on or off medication. If the individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. Recertification for drivers with a single unprovoked seizure should be performed every 2 years. Single provoked seizure. If there is a single provoked seizure (i.e., there is a known reason for the seizure), the Agency should consider specific criteria that fall into the following two categories: Low-risk factors for recurrence and moderate-to-high risk factors for recurrence. • Examples of low-risk factors for recurrence include seizures that were caused by a medication; by nonpenetrating head injury with loss of consciousness less than or equal to 30 minutes; by a brief loss of consciousness not likely to recur while driving; by metabolic derangement not likely to recur; and by alcohol or illicit drug withdrawal. • Examples of moderate-to-high-risk factors for recurrence include seizures caused by non-penetrating head injury with loss of consciousness or amnesia greater than 30 minutes, or penetrating head injury; intracerebral hemorrhage associated with a stroke or trauma; infections; intracranial hemorrhage; post-operative complications from brain surgery with significant brain hemorrhage; brain tumor; or stroke. The MEP report indicates individuals with moderate to high-risk conditions should not be certified. Drivers with a history of a single provoked seizure with low risk factors for recurrence should be recertified every year. Medical Review Board Recommendations and Agency Decision FMCSA presented the MEP’s findings and the Evidence Report to the Medical Review Board (MRB) for consideration. The MRB reviewed and considered the 2007 ‘‘Seizure Disorders and Commercial Driver Safety’’ evidence report and the 2007 MEP recommendations. The MRB recommended maintaining the current advisory criteria, which provide that PO 00000 Frm 00150 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ‘‘drivers with a history of epilepsy/ seizures off anti-seizure medication and seizure-free for 10 years may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce. Interstate drivers with a history of a single unprovoked seizure may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce if seizure-free and off anti-seizure medication for a 5 year period or more’’ [Advisory criteria to 49 CFR 391.43(f)]. The Agency acknowledges the MRB’s position on the issue but believes relevant current medical evidence supports a less conservative approach. The medical advisory criteria for epilepsy and other seizure or loss of consciousness episodes was based on the 1988 ‘‘Conference on Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers’’ (NITS Accession No. PB89–158950/AS). A copy of the report can be found in the docket referenced in this notice. The MRB’s recommendation treats all drivers who have experienced a seizure the same, regardless of individual medical conditions and circumstances. In addition, the recommendation to continue prohibiting drivers who are taking anti-seizure medication from operating a CMV in interstate commerce does not consider a driver’s actual seizure history and time since the last seizure. The Agency has decided to use the 2007 MEP recommendations as the basis for evaluating applications for an exemption from the seizure regulation on an individual, case-by-case basis. C. Exemptions Following individualized assessments of the exemption applications, including a review of detailed follow-up information requested from each applicant, FMCSA is granting exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) to 5 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 5 drivers receiving exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) would have been considered physically qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce except that they presently take or have recently stopped taking anti-seizure medication. For these 5 drivers, the primary obstacle to medical qualification was the FMCSA Advisory Criteria for Medical Examiners, based on the 1988 ‘‘Conference on Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers,’’ stating that a driver should be off anti-seizure medication in order to drive in interstate commerce. In fact, the Advisory Criteria have little if anything to do with the actual risk of a seizure and more to do with assumptions about individuals who are taking anti-seizure medication. In addition to evaluating the medical status of each applicant, FMCSA E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 59 / Friday, March 27, 2015 / Notices evaluated the crash and violation data for the 5 drivers, some of whom currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and MCMIS were searched for crash and violation data on the 5 applicants. For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State licensing agency. These exemptions are contingent on the driver maintaining a stable treatment regimen and remaining seizure-free during the 2-year exemption period. The exempted drivers must submit annual reports from their treating physicians attesting to the stability of treatment and that the driver has remained seizure-free. The driver must undergo an annual medical examination by a medical examiner, as defined by 49 CFR 390.5, following the FCMSA’s regulations for the physical qualifications for CMV drivers. FMCSA published a notice of receipt of application and requested public comment during a 30-day public comment period in a Federal Register notice for each of the applicants. A short summary of the applicants’ qualifications and a discussion of the comments received, if any, follows this section. For applicants who were denied an exemption, a notice will be published at a later date. D. Comments Docket # FMCSA–2014–0214 On September 18, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications and requested public comment on six individuals (79 FR 56098; Docket number FMCSA– 2014–22138). The comment period ended on October 20, 2014. No commenters responded to this Federal Register notice. Of the six applicants, one was denied. The Agency has determined that the following five applicants should be granted an exemption. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Michael G. Alimecco Mr. Alimecco is a 58 year-old driver in Pennsylvania. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1974. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2003. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Alimecco receiving an exemption. Michael L. Grant Mr. Grant is a 52 year-old driver in South Carolina. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1995. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:59 Mar 26, 2015 Jkt 235001 frequency remaining the same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Grant receiving an exemption. Jeffrey M. Phillips Mr. Phillips is a 45 year-old driver in South Carolina. He has a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1989. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 1994. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Phillips receiving an exemption. William L. Swann Mr. Swann is a 76 year-old driver in Maryland. He has a history of a seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Swann receiving an exemption. James M. Zihlke Mr. Zihlke is a 31 year-old driver in Iowa. He has a history of a single seizure in December 2010. He has never taken anti-seizure medication. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Zihlke receiving an exemption. E. Basis for Exemption Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the epilepsy/seizure standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) 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, the Agency’s 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 the driver to driving in intrastate commerce. Conclusion The Agency is granting exemptions from the epilepsy standard, 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), to 5 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of each driver’s safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis of information relating to these 5 applicants meets the burden of showing PO 00000 Frm 00151 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16509 that granting the exemptions would achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved without the exemption. By granting the exemptions, the interstate CMV industry will gain 5 highly trained and experienced drivers. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), each exemption will be valid for 2 years, with annual recertification required unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (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 prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315. FMCSA exempts the following 5 drivers for a period of 2 years with annual medical certification required: Michael Alimecco (PA); Michael Grant (SC); Jeffrey Phillips (SC); Michael Swann (MD); and James Zihlke (IA) from the prohibition of CMV operations by persons with a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or seizures. If the exemption is still in effect 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: March 20, 2015. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2015–07052 Filed 3–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2013–0023] 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 3 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 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 59 (Friday, March 27, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16507-16509]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07052]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0214]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and 
Seizure Disorders

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant requests from 5 
individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that 
interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have ``no established 
medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other 
condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of 
ability to control a CMV.'' The regulation and the associated advisory 
criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations as the 
``Instructions for Performing and Recording Physical Examinations'' 
have resulted in numerous drivers being prohibited from operating CMVs 
in interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more 
seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication, rather than an 
individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified medical 
examiner. The Agency concluded that granting exemptions for these CMV 
drivers will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater 
than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions. FMCSA 
grants exemptions that will allow these 5 individuals to operate CMVs 
in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The exemptions preempt 
State laws and regulations and may be renewed.

DATES: The exemptions are effective March 27, 2015. The exemptions 
expire on March 27, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles A. Horan, III, Director, 
Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety, (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 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at: https://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to https://www.regulations.gov and/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., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

B. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the 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.
    FMCSA grants 5 individuals an exemption from the regulatory 
requirement in Sec.  391.41(b)(8), to allow these individuals who take 
anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-
year period. The Agency's decision on these exemption applications is 
based on an individualized assessment of each applicant's medical 
information, including the root cause of the respective seizure(s), the 
length of time elapsed since the individual's last seizure, and each 
individual's treatment regimen. In addition, the Agency reviewed each 
applicant's driving record found in the Commercial Driver's License 
Information System (CDLIS) \1\

[[Page 16508]]

for commercial driver's license (CDL) holders, and interstate and 
intrastate inspections recorded in Motor Carrier Management Information 
System (MCMIS).\2\ For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving 
records from the State licensing agency. The Agency acknowledges the 
potential consequences of a driver experiencing a seizure while 
operating a CMV. However, the Agency believes the drivers covered by 
the exemptions granted here have demonstrated that they are unlikely to 
have a seizure and their medical condition does not pose a risk to 
public safety.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) is an 
information system that allows the exchange of commercial driver 
licensing information among all the States. CDLIS includes the 
databases of fifty-one licensing jurisdictions and the CDLIS Central 
Site, all connected by a telecommunications network.
    \2\ Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is an 
information system that captures data from field offices through 
SAFETYNET, CAPRI, and other sources. It is a source for FMCSA 
inspection, crash, compliance review, safety audit, and registration 
data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In reaching the decision to grant these exemption requests, the 
Agency considered both current medical literature and information and 
the 2007 recommendations of the Agency's Medical Expert Panel (MEP). 
The Agency previously gathered evidence for potential changes to the 
regulation at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) by conducting a comprehensive review 
of scientific literature that was compiled into the ``Evidence Report 
on Seizure Disorders and Commercial Vehicle Driving'' (Evidence Report) 
[CD-ROM HD TL230.3 .E95 2007]. The Agency then convened a panel of 
medical experts in the field of neurology (the MEP) on May 14-15, 2007, 
to review 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) and the advisory criteria regarding 
individuals who have experienced a seizure, and the 2007 Evidence 
Report. The Evidence Report and the MEP recommendations are published 
on-line at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/mep/mep-reports.htm, under Seizure Disorders, and are in the docket for this 
notice.

MEP Criteria for Evaluation

    On October 15, 2007, the MEP issued the following recommended 
criteria for evaluating whether an individual with epilepsy or a 
seizure disorder should be allowed to operate a CMV.\3\ The MEP 
recommendations are included in previously published dockets.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Engel, J., Fisher, R.S., Krauss, G.L., Krumholz, A., and 
Quigg, M.S., ``Expert Panel Recommendations: Seizure Disorders and 
Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety,'' FMCSA, October 15, 2007.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Epilepsy diagnosis. If there is an epilepsy diagnosis, the 
applicant should be seizure-free for 8 years, on or off medication. If 
the individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for 
medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in 
medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. 
Recertification for drivers with an epilepsy diagnosis should be 
performed every year.
    Single unprovoked seizure. If there is a single unprovoked seizure 
(i.e., there is no known trigger for the seizure), the individual 
should be seizure-free for 4 years, on or off medication. If the 
individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for 
medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in 
medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. 
Recertification for drivers with a single unprovoked seizure should be 
performed every 2 years.
    Single provoked seizure. If there is a single provoked seizure 
(i.e., there is a known reason for the seizure), the Agency should 
consider specific criteria that fall into the following two categories: 
Low-risk factors for recurrence and moderate-to-high risk factors for 
recurrence.
     Examples of low-risk factors for recurrence include 
seizures that were caused by a medication; by non-penetrating head 
injury with loss of consciousness less than or equal to 30 minutes; by 
a brief loss of consciousness not likely to recur while driving; by 
metabolic derangement not likely to recur; and by alcohol or illicit 
drug withdrawal.
     Examples of moderate-to-high-risk factors for recurrence 
include seizures caused by non-penetrating head injury with loss of 
consciousness or amnesia greater than 30 minutes, or penetrating head 
injury; intracerebral hemorrhage associated with a stroke or trauma; 
infections; intracranial hemorrhage; post-operative complications from 
brain surgery with significant brain hemorrhage; brain tumor; or 
stroke.

The MEP report indicates individuals with moderate to high-risk 
conditions should not be certified. Drivers with a history of a single 
provoked seizure with low risk factors for recurrence should be 
recertified every year.

Medical Review Board Recommendations and Agency Decision

    FMCSA presented the MEP's findings and the Evidence Report to the 
Medical Review Board (MRB) for consideration. The MRB reviewed and 
considered the 2007 ``Seizure Disorders and Commercial Driver Safety'' 
evidence report and the 2007 MEP recommendations. The MRB recommended 
maintaining the current advisory criteria, which provide that ``drivers 
with a history of epilepsy/seizures off anti-seizure medication and 
seizure-free for 10 years may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate 
commerce. Interstate drivers with a history of a single unprovoked 
seizure may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce if 
seizure-free and off anti-seizure medication for a 5 year period or 
more'' [Advisory criteria to 49 CFR 391.43(f)].
    The Agency acknowledges the MRB's position on the issue but 
believes relevant current medical evidence supports a less conservative 
approach. The medical advisory criteria for epilepsy and other seizure 
or loss of consciousness episodes was based on the 1988 ``Conference on 
Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers'' (NITS Accession No. 
PB89-158950/AS). A copy of the report can be found in the docket 
referenced in this notice.
    The MRB's recommendation treats all drivers who have experienced a 
seizure the same, regardless of individual medical conditions and 
circumstances. In addition, the recommendation to continue prohibiting 
drivers who are taking anti-seizure medication from operating a CMV in 
interstate commerce does not consider a driver's actual seizure history 
and time since the last seizure. The Agency has decided to use the 2007 
MEP recommendations as the basis for evaluating applications for an 
exemption from the seizure regulation on an individual, case-by-case 
basis.

C. Exemptions

    Following individualized assessments of the exemption applications, 
including a review of detailed follow-up information requested from 
each applicant, FMCSA is granting exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) 
to 5 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 5 drivers 
receiving exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) would have been 
considered physically qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce 
except that they presently take or have recently stopped taking anti-
seizure medication. For these 5 drivers, the primary obstacle to 
medical qualification was the FMCSA Advisory Criteria for Medical 
Examiners, based on the 1988 ``Conference on Neurological Disorders and 
Commercial Drivers,'' stating that a driver should be off anti-seizure 
medication in order to drive in interstate commerce. In fact, the 
Advisory Criteria have little if anything to do with the actual risk of 
a seizure and more to do with assumptions about individuals who are 
taking anti-seizure medication.
    In addition to evaluating the medical status of each applicant, 
FMCSA

[[Page 16509]]

evaluated the crash and violation data for the 5 drivers, some of whom 
currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and MCMIS were 
searched for crash and violation data on the 5 applicants. For non-CDL 
holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State 
licensing agency.
    These exemptions are contingent on the driver maintaining a stable 
treatment regimen and remaining seizure-free during the 2-year 
exemption period. The exempted drivers must submit annual reports from 
their treating physicians attesting to the stability of treatment and 
that the driver has remained seizure-free. The driver must undergo an 
annual medical examination by a medical examiner, as defined by 49 CFR 
390.5, following the FCMSA's regulations for the physical 
qualifications for CMV drivers.
    FMCSA published a notice of receipt of application and requested 
public comment during a 30-day public comment period in a Federal 
Register notice for each of the applicants. A short summary of the 
applicants' qualifications and a discussion of the comments received, 
if any, follows this section. For applicants who were denied an 
exemption, a notice will be published at a later date.

D. Comments

Docket # FMCSA-2014-0214

    On September 18, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of 
exemption applications and requested public comment on six individuals 
(79 FR 56098; Docket number FMCSA-2014-22138). The comment period ended 
on October 20, 2014. No commenters responded to this Federal Register 
notice. Of the six applicants, one was denied. The Agency has 
determined that the following five applicants should be granted an 
exemption.
Michael G. Alimecco
    Mr. Alimecco is a 58 year-old driver in Pennsylvania. He has a 
history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1974. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same since 2003. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. 
His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Alimecco receiving an 
exemption.
Michael L. Grant
    Mr. Grant is a 52 year-old driver in South Carolina. He has a 
history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1995. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Grant 
receiving an exemption.
Jeffrey M. Phillips
    Mr. Phillips is a 45 year-old driver in South Carolina. He has a 
history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1989. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same since 1994. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a 
CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Phillips receiving an 
exemption.
William L. Swann
    Mr. Swann is a 76 year-old driver in Maryland. He has a history of 
a seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Swann 
receiving an exemption.
James M. Zihlke
    Mr. Zihlke is a 31 year-old driver in Iowa. He has a history of a 
single seizure in December 2010. He has never taken anti-seizure 
medication. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His 
physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Zihlke receiving an 
exemption.

E. Basis for Exemption

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the epilepsy/seizure standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) 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, the 
Agency's 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 the driver to 
driving in intrastate commerce.

Conclusion

    The Agency is granting exemptions from the epilepsy standard, 49 
CFR 391.41(b)(8), to 5 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of 
each driver's safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis 
of information relating to these 5 applicants meets the burden of 
showing that granting the exemptions would achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved 
without the exemption. By granting the exemptions, the interstate CMV 
industry will gain 5 highly trained and experienced drivers. In 
accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), each exemption will be valid for 
2 years, with annual recertification required unless revoked earlier by 
FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (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 prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption 
would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 
31136 and 31315.
    FMCSA exempts the following 5 drivers for a period of 2 years with 
annual medical certification required: Michael Alimecco (PA); Michael 
Grant (SC); Jeffrey Phillips (SC); Michael Swann (MD); and James Zihlke 
(IA) from the prohibition of CMV operations by persons with a clinical 
diagnosis of epilepsy or seizures. If the exemption is still in effect 
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: March 20, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-07052 Filed 3-26-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P