Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 23712-23714 [2017-10563]

Download as PDF 23712 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 23, 2017 / Notices driver’s qualification file, or keep a copy of his/her driver’s qualification file if he/she is self-employed. The driver must also have a copy of the exemption when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315. V. Preemption During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with this exemption with respect to a person operating under the exemption. VI. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 11 exemption applications, FMCSA renews the exemptions of the aforementioned drivers from the Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption will be valid for two years unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. Issued on: May 17, 2017. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2017–10569 Filed 5–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2016–0213] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 18 individuals from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons. The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision requirement in one eye. The Agency has concluded that granting these exemptions will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 May 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 maintained without the exemptions for these CMV drivers. DATES: The exemptions were granted April 11, 2017. The exemptions expire on April 11, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, Medical Programs Division, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64– 113, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at http:// www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov 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. II. Background On March 9, 2017, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications from certain individuals, and requested comments from the public (82 FR 13187). That notice listed 18 applicants’ case histories. The 18 individuals applied for exemptions from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), for drivers who operate CMVs in interstate commerce. Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption for a 2year period if it finds ‘‘such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.’’ The statute also allows the Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. Accordingly, FMCSA has evaluated the 18 applications on their merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to each of them. PO 00000 Frm 00192 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 III. Vision and Driving Experience of the Applicants The vision requirement in the FMCSRs provides: A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of a least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 70° in the horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)). FMCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision requirement but have adapted their driving to accommodate their limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 18 exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons, including amblyopia, aphakia, chorioretinal scar, corneal scar, dense corneal scar, macular degeneration, macular scar, neovascular macular degeneration, prosthetic eye, retinal detachment, and retinal hamartoma. In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. Eleven of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments or have had them since childhood. The 7 individuals that sustained their vision conditions as adults have had it for a range of 3 to 24 years. Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), each has at least 20/40 corrected vision in the other eye, and in a doctor’s opinion, has sufficient vision to perform all the tasks necessary to operate a CMV. Doctors’ opinions are supported by the applicants’ possession of valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or non-CDLs to operate CMVs. Before issuing CDLs, States subject drivers to knowledge and skills tests designed to evaluate their qualifications to operate a CMV. All of these applicants satisfied the testing requirements for their State of residence. By meeting State licensing requirements, the applicants demonstrated their ability to operate a CMV, with their limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State. While possessing a valid CDL or nonCDL, these 18 drivers have been authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their vision E:\FR\FM\23MYN1.SGM 23MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 23, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. They have driven CMVs with their limited vision in careers ranging for 3 to 39 years. In the past three years, no drivers were involved in crashes and 2 drivers were convicted of moving violations in a CMV. The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the March 9, 2017 notice (82 FR 13187). IV. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 May 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 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 18 applicants, no drivers were involved in crashes and 2 drivers were 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. We believe that the applicants’ intrastate driving experience and history provide an adequate basis for predicting their ability to drive safely in interstate commerce. Intrastate driving, like interstate operations, involves substantial driving on highways on the interstate system and on other roads built to interstate standards. Moreover, driving in congested urban areas exposes the driver to more pedestrian and vehicular traffic than exists on interstate highways. Faster reaction to traffic and traffic signals is generally required because distances between PO 00000 Frm 00193 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23713 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 18 applicants listed in the notice of March 9, 2017 (82 FR 13187). 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 18 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. V. Discussion of Comments FMCSA received 3 comments in this proceeding. Wade C. Uhlir stated he believes the exemptions should be granted to the drivers. An anonymous commenter stated that they believe the exemptions should not be granted, citing safety concerns. FMCSA has reviewed the pertinent medical records and driving history of each driver on E:\FR\FM\23MYN1.SGM 23MYN1 23714 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 98 / Tuesday, May 23, 2017 / Notices this notice and determined that granting the exemption will create a level of safety equal to or greater than not granting the exemptions. A second anonymous commenter stated that anybody who uses or abuses alcohol or drugs with this exemption should no longer qualify for the exemption. In addition, they should not be able to reapply until they can prove at least 5 years of drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation. As stated previously, FMCSA has reviewed the pertinent medical records and driving history of each driver on this notice and determined that granting the exemption will create a level of safety equal to or greater than not granting the exemptions. Assessment and evaluation for drug and alcohol abuse is provided during the medical certification examination process by certified medical examiners on FMCSA’s National Registry of certified medical examiners (MEs). Only drivers who meet the remaining physical qualification standards in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations [49 CFR 391.41(b)(1)–(13)] and are found ‘‘otherwise qualified by the ME are eligible to apply for a vision exemption. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES VI. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 18 exemption applications, FMCSA exempts the following drivers from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10): James E. Demgard (NJ) David L. Erickson (SD) Ray A. Fields (KS) Jeffrey L. Gardner (CA) Thomas A. Grigsby (AR) Eugene C. Hamilton (NC) Jay A. Harding (OR) Melvin L. Hispley III (MD) Charlie E. Hoggard (TX) Richard S. Huzzard (PA) Kenneth E. Lewis (CA) George J. Paxson, III (DDE) Harlie C. Perryman, III (FL) Menno H. Reiff (PA) Steven R. Richter, Jr. (MN) Robert R. Schwabe (WA) Phillip Shelburne (TX) Wade C. Uhlir (MN) In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315. VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 May 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 If the exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time. Issued on: May 17, 2017. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2017–10563 Filed 5–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0136] Pipeline Safety: Meeting of the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of advisory committee meeting. AGENCY: This notice announces a public meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, also known as the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC). The GPAC will meet to continue discussing topics and provisions for the proposed rule titled ‘‘Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines.’’ DATES: The committee will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Tuesday, June 6, 2017, and Wednesday, June 7, 2017. SUMMARY: The meeting will be held at the Westin Arlington Gateway, 801 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203. The meeting agenda, and any additional information will be published on the following pipeline advisory committee meeting and registration page: https:// primis.phmsa.dot.gov/meetings/ MtgHome.mtg?mtg=123. The meetings will not be webcast; however, presentations will be available on the meeting Web site and posted on the E-Gov Web site, http:// www.regulations.gov, under docket number PHMSA–2016–0136 within 30 days following the meeting. ADDRESSES: Public Participation This meeting will be open to the public. Members of the public who wish to attend in person are asked to register at the meeting links above no later than Friday, June 2, 2017 in order to facilitate entry and guarantee seating. Members of the public who attend in person will also be provided an opportunity to make a statement during the meeting. Written comments: Persons who wish to submit written comments on the PO 00000 Frm 00194 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 meeting may submit them to the docket in the following ways: E-Gov Web site: http:// www.regulations.gov. This site allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice issued by any agency. Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Hand Delivery: Room W12–140 on the ground level of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. Instructions: Identify the docket number PHMSA–2016–0136 at the beginning of your comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Therefore, consider reviewing DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or view the Privacy Notice at http://www.regulations.gov before submitting any such comments. Docket: For access to the docket or to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12–140 on the ground level of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the following statement: ‘‘Comments on PHMSA– 2016–0136.’’ The docket clerk will date stamp the postcard prior to returning it to you via the U.S. mail. Privacy Act Statement 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. E:\FR\FM\23MYN1.SGM 23MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 98 (Tuesday, May 23, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23712-23714]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-10563]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0213]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 18 individuals from the 
vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs). They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for 
various reasons. The exemptions will enable these individuals to 
operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without 
meeting the prescribed vision requirement in one eye. The Agency has 
concluded that granting these exemptions will provide a level of safety 
that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained 
without the exemptions for these CMV drivers.

DATES: The exemptions were granted April 11, 2017. The exemptions 
expire on April 11, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 
Medical Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64-113, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions 
regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket 
Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov 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.

II. Background

    On March 9, 2017, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption 
applications from certain individuals, and requested comments from the 
public (82 FR 13187). That notice listed 18 applicants' case histories. 
The 18 individuals applied for exemptions from the vision requirement 
in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), for drivers who operate CMVs in interstate 
commerce.
    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
for a 2-year period if it finds ``such exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that 
would be achieved absent such exemption.'' The statute also allows the 
Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. 
Accordingly, FMCSA has evaluated the 18 applications on their merits 
and made a determination to grant exemptions to each of them.

III. Vision and Driving Experience of the Applicants

    The vision requirement in the FMCSRs provides:
    A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor 
vehicle if that person has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 
(Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity 
separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective 
lenses, distant binocular acuity of a least 20/40 (Snellen) in both 
eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 
70[deg] in the horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to 
recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing red, green, 
and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)).
    FMCSA recognizes that some drivers do not meet the vision 
requirement but have adapted their driving to accommodate their 
limitation and demonstrated their ability to drive safely. The 18 
exemption applicants listed in this notice are in this category. They 
are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various 
reasons, including amblyopia, aphakia, chorioretinal scar, corneal 
scar, dense corneal scar, macular degeneration, macular scar, 
neovascular macular degeneration, prosthetic eye, retinal detachment, 
and retinal hamartoma. In most cases, their eye conditions were not 
recently developed. Eleven of the applicants were either born with 
their vision impairments or have had them since childhood.
    The 7 individuals that sustained their vision conditions as adults 
have had it for a range of 3 to 24 years.
    Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision 
requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), each has at least 20/40 corrected 
vision in the other eye, and in a doctor's opinion, has sufficient 
vision to perform all the tasks necessary to operate a CMV. Doctors' 
opinions are supported by the applicants' possession of valid 
commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) or non-CDLs to operate CMVs. Before 
issuing CDLs, States subject drivers to knowledge and skills tests 
designed to evaluate their qualifications to operate a CMV.
    All of these applicants satisfied the testing requirements for 
their State of residence. By meeting State licensing requirements, the 
applicants demonstrated their ability to operate a CMV, with their 
limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State.
    While possessing a valid CDL or non-CDL, these 18 drivers have been 
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their 
vision

[[Page 23713]]

disqualified them from driving in interstate commerce. They have driven 
CMVs with their limited vision in careers ranging for 3 to 39 years. In 
the past three years, no drivers were involved in crashes and 2 drivers 
were convicted of moving violations in a CMV.
    The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each 
applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the March 9, 2017 
notice (82 FR 13187).

IV. 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 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 18 applicants, no drivers were involved in crashes and 2 drivers 
were 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.
    We believe that the applicants' intrastate driving experience and 
history provide an adequate basis for predicting their ability to drive 
safely in interstate commerce. Intrastate driving, like interstate 
operations, involves substantial driving on highways on the interstate 
system and on other roads built to interstate standards. Moreover, 
driving in congested urban areas exposes the driver to more pedestrian 
and vehicular traffic than exists on interstate highways. Faster 
reaction to traffic and traffic signals is generally required because 
distances between them are more compact. These conditions tax visual 
capacity and driver response just as intensely as interstate driving 
conditions. The veteran drivers in this proceeding have operated CMVs 
safely under those conditions for at least 3 years, most for much 
longer. Their experience and driving records lead us to believe that 
each applicant is capable of operating in interstate commerce as safely 
as he/she has been performing in intrastate commerce. Consequently, 
FMCSA finds that exempting these applicants from the vision requirement 
in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to 
that existing without the exemption. For this reason, the Agency is 
granting the exemptions for the 2-year period allowed by 49 U.S.C. 
31136(e) and 31315 to the 18 applicants listed in the notice of March 
9, 2017 (82 FR 13187).
    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 18 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.

V. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received 3 comments in this proceeding. Wade C. Uhlir stated 
he believes the exemptions should be granted to the drivers. An 
anonymous commenter stated that they believe the exemptions should not 
be granted, citing safety concerns. FMCSA has reviewed the pertinent 
medical records and driving history of each driver on

[[Page 23714]]

this notice and determined that granting the exemption will create a 
level of safety equal to or greater than not granting the exemptions. A 
second anonymous commenter stated that anybody who uses or abuses 
alcohol or drugs with this exemption should no longer qualify for the 
exemption. In addition, they should not be able to reapply until they 
can prove at least 5 years of drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation. As 
stated previously, FMCSA has reviewed the pertinent medical records and 
driving history of each driver on this notice and determined that 
granting the exemption will create a level of safety equal to or 
greater than not granting the exemptions. Assessment and evaluation for 
drug and alcohol abuse is provided during the medical certification 
examination process by certified medical examiners on FMCSA's National 
Registry of certified medical examiners (MEs). Only drivers who meet 
the remaining physical qualification standards in the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations [49 CFR 391.41(b)(1)-(13)] and are found 
``otherwise qualified by the ME are eligible to apply for a vision 
exemption.

VI. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 18 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts the following drivers from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(10):

James E. Demgard (NJ)
David L. Erickson (SD)
Ray A. Fields (KS)
Jeffrey L. Gardner (CA)
Thomas A. Grigsby (AR)
Eugene C. Hamilton (NC)
Jay A. Harding (OR)
Melvin L. Hispley III (MD)
Charlie E. Hoggard (TX)
Richard S. Huzzard (PA)
Kenneth E. Lewis (CA)
George J. Paxson, III (DDE)
Harlie C. Perryman, III (FL)
Menno H. Reiff (PA)
Steven R. Richter, Jr. (MN)
Robert R. Schwabe (WA)
Phillip Shelburne (TX)
Wade C. Uhlir (MN)

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption 
will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The 
exemption will be revoked if: (1) The person fails to comply with the 
terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted 
in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; 
or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the 
goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315.
    If the exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year 
period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in 
effect at that time.

    Issued on: May 17, 2017.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-10563 Filed 5-22-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P