Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders, 17139-17141 [2015-07332]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78). Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov at any time or to the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timoleon Mouzakis, Federal Aviation Administration, Engine and Propeller Directorate, Standards Staff, ANE–111, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803–5229; (781) 238–7114; facsimile: (781) 238– 7199; email: timoleon.mouzakis@ faa.gov. This notice is published pursuant to 14 CFR 11.85. Issued in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2015. Dale Bouffiou, Acting, Director, Office of Rulemaking. Petition for Exemption Docket No.: FAA–2015–0156. Petitioner: Rolls-Royce plc. Section of 14 CFR Affected: Section 33.27 (f)(6). Description of Relief Sought: The petitioner seeks relief from § 33.27 (f)(6) for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000–AE, –CE, –AE2, and –CE2 engine models, to exclude the entire high-pressure shaft system from consideration in determining the highest overspeed that would result from a complete loss of load on a turbine rotor. [FR Doc. 2015–07383 Filed 3–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [Docket No. FMCSA–2014–0378] 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 3 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that interstate SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 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 3 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 31, 2015. The exemptions expire on March 31, 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. PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17139 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 3 individuals an exemption from the regulatory requirement in section 391.41(b)(8), to allow these individuals who take antiseizure 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 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 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. E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 17140 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ‘‘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. 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 nonpenetrating head injury with loss of consciousness less than or equal to 30 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 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 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 PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 3 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 3 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 3 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 evaluated the crash and violation data for the 3 drivers, some of whom currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and MCMIS were searched for crash and violation data on the 3 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 follows this section. For applicants who were denied an exemption, a notice will be published at a later date. E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices D. Comments Docket # FMCSA–2014–0378 On October 27, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications and requested public comment on six individuals (79 FR 64003; Docket number FMCSA– 2014–25450). The comment period ended on November 26, 2014. Three commenters responded to this notice. Bobby Shane Walker, an applicant in this notice, expressed support for his health status and driving safety. He provided details about his most recent driving accident. An anonymous commenter submitted details involving Bobby Shane Walker’s recent driving accident and provided the driving accident report. Bob Johnson expressed support for the Epilepsy standard because it will save lives and benefit our citizens. Of the six applicants, three were denied. The Agency has determined that the following three applicants should be granted an exemption. James Connelly Mr. Connelly is a 60 year-old class B CDL holder in New Jersey. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 2000. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Connelly receiving an exemption. Timothy C. Marrill Mr. Marrill is a 48 year-old class A CDL holder in Missouri. He has a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1995. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over two years. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Marrill receiving an exemption. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES John Rinkema Mr. Rinkema is a 64 year-old driver in Illinois. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1968. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time since 2004. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Rinkema 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 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 3 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of each driver’s safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis of information relating to these 3 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 3 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 3 drivers for a period of 2 years with annual medical certification required: James Connelly (NJ); Timothy Merrill (MO); and John Rinkema (IL) 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. 2015–07332 Filed 3–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17141 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [Docket No. AB 303 (Sub-No. 46X)] Wisconsin Central Ltd.—Abandonment Exemption—in Lake County, Ill. On March 11, 2015, Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WCL) filed with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) a petition under 49 U.S.C. 10502 for exemption from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903 to abandon 3.6 miles of rail line extending between milepost 71.0 in North Chicago, Lake County, Ill., and milepost 74.6 in Waukegan, Lake County, Ill. (the Line). The Line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Codes 60064, 60085, and 60087. According to WCL, there is one shipper, International Precision Components Corporation (IPCC), located on the Line. WCL states that IPCC has entered into a terminable agreement with WCL to lease a side track connecting to the Line. From WCL’s side track, IPCC transloads shipments to truck for final delivery at IPCC’s off-Line manufacturing facility. WCL notes that it is exploring the relocation of IPCC’s transloading operations to another railserved location. After receiving Board authority to abandon the Line, WCL states that it intends to salvage the rails, ties, and other track material and then to negotiate a sale of the right-of-way to the City of Waukegan (City). According to WCL, the sale of the right-of-way will allow the City to implement an urban redevelopment project. In addition to an exemption from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903, WCL seeks an exemption from 49 U.S.C. 10904 (offer of financial assistance (OFA) procedures). In support, WCL states that the right-of-way is needed for a valid public purpose as it is an essential component of the City’s multifaceted lakefront revitalization and redevelopment effort. WCL further asserts that there is no overriding public need for continued freight rail service. This request will be addressed in the final decision. According to WCL, the Line does not contain federally granted rights-of-way. Any documentation in WCL’s possession will be made available promptly to those requesting it. The interest of railroad employees will be protected by the conditions set forth in Oregon Short Line Railroad— Abandonment Portion Goshen Branch Between Firth & Ammon, In Bingham & Bonneville Counties, Idaho, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). By issuing this notice, the Board is instituting an exemption proceeding E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 61 (Tuesday, March 31, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17139-17141]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07332]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0378]


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 3 
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 3 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 31, 2015. The exemptions 
expire on March 31, 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 3 individuals an exemption from the regulatory 
requirement in section 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\ 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

[[Page 17140]]

``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 3 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 3 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 3 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 evaluated the crash and violation data for the 3 drivers, some of 
whom currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and MCMIS 
were searched for crash and violation data on the 3 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 
follows this section. For applicants who were denied an exemption, a 
notice will be published at a later date.

[[Page 17141]]

D. Comments

Docket # FMCSA-2014-0378

    On October 27, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of 
exemption applications and requested public comment on six individuals 
(79 FR 64003; Docket number FMCSA-2014-25450). The comment period ended 
on November 26, 2014. Three commenters responded to this notice. Bobby 
Shane Walker, an applicant in this notice, expressed support for his 
health status and driving safety. He provided details about his most 
recent driving accident. An anonymous commenter submitted details 
involving Bobby Shane Walker's recent driving accident and provided the 
driving accident report. Bob Johnson expressed support for the Epilepsy 
standard because it will save lives and benefit our citizens. Of the 
six applicants, three were denied. The Agency has determined that the 
following three applicants should be granted an exemption.

James Connelly

    Mr. Connelly is a 60 year-old class B CDL holder in New Jersey. He 
has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 2000. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since that time. If granted an exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Connelly 
receiving an exemption.

Timothy C. Marrill

    Mr. Marrill is a 48 year-old class A CDL holder in Missouri. He has 
a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1995. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for over two years. If granted an exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Marrill 
receiving an exemption.

John Rinkema

    Mr. Rinkema is a 64 year-old driver in Illinois. He has a history 
of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1968. He takes anti-
seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same 
since that time since 2004. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Rinkema 
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 3 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of 
each driver's safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis 
of information relating to these 3 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 3 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 3 drivers for a period of 2 years with 
annual medical certification required: James Connelly (NJ); Timothy 
Merrill (MO); and John Rinkema (IL) 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. 2015-07332 Filed 3-30-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P