Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Narcolepsy, 6328-6329 [2016-02275]


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 24 (Friday, February 5, 2016)]
[Pages 6328-6329]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02275]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0488]

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Narcolepsy

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

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


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from two individuals 
for exemptions from the following two Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) which prohibit operating a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Section 391.41(b)(8) of the 
FMCSRs prohibit operation of a commercial motor vehicle by persons with 
either a clinical diagnosis of a condition that is likely to cause a 
loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to operate a CMV safely. 
Section 391.41(b)(9) of the FMCSRs prohibit operation of a commercial 
motor vehicle by persons with a mental, nervous, organic, functional 
disease, or psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with his/her 
ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle safely. If granted, the 
exemption would enable these individuals who have been diagnosed with 
narcolepsy and are receiving medical treatment to operate CMVs for 2 
years in interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 7, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2012-0081 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to 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 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.
    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket ID for 
this Notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change 
to 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 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: 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 records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Hydock, Chief, Medical 
Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, or via email at 
fmcsamedical@dot.gov, or by letter to FMCSA, Room W64-113, Department 
of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-
0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.



    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in 
the Federal Register [49 CFR 381.315(a)]. The Agency must provide the 
public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the 
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 
and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The Agency may 
grant an exemption subject to specified terms and conditions. The 
decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 
CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the 
application and, if granted, the name of

[[Page 6329]]

the person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the 
regulatory provision from which the exemption is granted. The notice 
must also specify the effective period and explain the terms and 
conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 
    FMCSA provides medical advisory criteria in the Medical Examination 
Report at 49 CFR 391.43 for use by medical examiners in determining 
whether drivers with certain medical conditions should be certified to 
operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. The advisory 
criteria for 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), indicates that if an individual has 
had a sudden episode of a non-epileptic seizure or loss of 
consciousness of unknown cause that did not require anti-seizure 
medication, the decision whether that person's condition is likely to 
cause the loss of consciousness or loss of ability to control a CMV 
should be made on an individual basis by the medical examiner in 
consultation with the treating physician.
    In those individual cases where a driver had a seizure or an 
episode of loss of consciousness that resulted from a known medical 
condition (e.g., drug reaction, high temperature, acute infectious 
disease, dehydration, or acute metabolic disturbance), certification 
should be deferred until the driver has fully recovered from that 
condition, has no existing residual complications, and is not taking 
anti-seizure medication.
    The advisory criteria for 49 CFR 391.41(b)(9), indicates that a 
variety of functional disorders can cause drowsiness, dizziness, 
confusion, weakness or paralysis that may lead to incoordination, 
inattention, loss of functional control and susceptibility to accidents 
while driving.

Summary of Applications

Jeremy Joseph Mertens

    Mr. Mertens is a 26 year old Class B CDL holder in Pennsylvania. An 
October 6, 2015 report from his sleep medicine physician says (Mr. 
Martens) was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2011. His physician report 
further states that Mr. Mertens is treated with Nuvigil daily and has 
no problems with daytime somnolence. He has never had any history of 
sleepiness while driving, cataplexy or loss of consciousness. He 
understands that he has to continue to have adequate total sleep time 
and take his Nuvigil as prescribed every single day. His employer 
provided a letter stating that throughout his eight years of employment 
he has never had any problem performing his job duties because of his 

Michael Vaughn

    Mr. Vaughn is a 31 year old non-CDL holder from Georgia. An August 
27, 2015 letter from his neurologist reports that as recently as July 
13, 2015, Mr. Vaugh's sleep apnea is managed on CPAP and he is on 
medication to help him maintain wakefulness during the daytime. His 
neurologist supports Mr. Vaughn's request for an exemption which would 
allow him to operate commercial motor vehicles as he is on medication. 
Mr. Vaughn reports that he takes the medication Nuvigil.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on the applications for 
exemption described in this notice. We will consider all comments 
received before the close of business on the closing date indicated 
earlier in the notice.

    Issued on: January 19, 2016.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2016-02275 Filed 2-4-16; 8:45 am]