Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 58441-58444 [2019-23761]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 211 / Thursday, October 31, 2019 / Notices duration of a driver’s medical certification. The Agency’s decision regarding these exemption applications is based on current medical information and literature, and the 2008 Evidence Report, ‘‘Executive Summary on Hearing, Vestibular Function and Commercial Motor Driving Safety.’’ The evidence report reached two conclusions regarding the matter of hearing loss and CMV driver safety: (1) No studies that examined the relationship between hearing loss and crash risk exclusively among CMV drivers were identified; and (2) evidence from studies of the private driver’s license holder population does not support the contention that individuals with hearing impairment are at an increased risk for a crash. In addition, the Agency reviewed each applicant’s driving record found in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, and inspections recorded in the Motor Carrier Management Information System. For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State Driver’s Licensing Agency. Each applicant’s record demonstrated a safe driving history. Based on an individual assessment of each applicant that focused 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, the Agency believes the drivers granted this exemption have demonstrated that they do not pose a risk to public safety. Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these applicants from the hearing standard in § 391.41(b)(11) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES V. Conditions and Requirements The terms and conditions of the exemption are provided to the applicants in the exemption document and includes the following: (1) Each driver must report any crashes or accidents as defined in § 390.5; (2) each driver must report all citations and convictions for disqualifying offenses under 49 CFR 383 and 49 CFR 391 to FMCSA; and (3) each driver is prohibited from operating a motorcoach or bus with passengers in interstate commerce. The driver must also have a copy of the exemption when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. In addition, the exemption does not exempt the individual from meeting VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Oct 30, 2019 Jkt 250001 58441 the applicable CDL testing requirements. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION VI. Preemption Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 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. VII. Conclusion Based upon its evaluation of the 29 exemption applications, FMCSA exempts the following drivers from the hearing standard, § 391.41(b)(11), subject to the requirements cited above. Erin Barnes (OK) Alicia Batiste (TX) Jeremy Benoit (LA) Kurt Bernabei (IL) Jessica L. Driver (TX) Donald P. Dunten (IN) Steven Edwards (KS) Debbie Gaskill (GA) Steven J. Gandee (PA) Daniel S. Geathers (VA) Gregory A. Hale (AZ) Richard Harrison (MO) Charles Hine (MD) Robert B. Mahan (OK) Michael Penn (IN) Ernest Pratt (PA) James R. Quinn (TN) Matthew Ramirez (SC) Steven Robelia (WI) Timothy Roberts (TN) Willis O. Ryan (GA) Kerry Stewart (IN) Mark J. Tabangcora (CA) Yenter Tu (TX) Alan Vandermeulen (IA) Yvon Victor (NJ) Bret E. Wanner (PA) Rodney Warfield (MD) David Whisman (GA) In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b), each exemption will be valid for 2 years from the effective date 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(e) and 31315(b). Issued on: October 24, 2019. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2019–23754 Filed 10–30–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 [Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0017] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of applications for exemption; request for comments. AGENCY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 11 individuals for an exemption from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. If granted, the exemptions will enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without meeting the vision requirement in one eye. DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 2, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0017 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Operations; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Fax: (202) 493–2251. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the ‘‘Public Participation’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments. 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 W64–224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Operations, (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1 58442 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 211 / Thursday, October 31, 2019 / Notices I. Public Participation II. Background A. Submitting Comments If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0017), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017. Click on the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button and type your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the FMCSRs for no longer than a 5-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 5-year period. FMCSA grants medical exemptions from the FMCSRs for a 2year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver’s medical certification. The 11 individuals listed in this notice have requested an exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of each applicant to determine whether granting an exemption will achieve the required level of safety mandated by statute. The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding vision found in § 391.41(b)(10) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 70° in the horizontal Meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber. On July 16, 1992, the Agency first published the criteria for the Vision Waiver Program, which listed the conditions and reporting standards that CMV drivers approved for participation would need to meet (57 FR 31458). The current Vision Exemption Program was established in 1998, following the enactment of amendments to the statutes governing exemptions made by § 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA–21), Public Law 105–178, 112 Stat. 107, 401 (June 9, 1998). Vision exemptions are considered under the procedures established in 49 CFR part 381 subpart C, on a case-by-case basis upon application by CMV drivers who do not meet the vision standards of § 391.41(b)(10). 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 in intrastate commerce with the vision deficiency for the past three years. Recent driving performance khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES B. Viewing Documents and Comments To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017 and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Operations in Room W12– 140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. C. 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Oct 30, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 https://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=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 demonstrated the driving performance of experienced monocular drivers in the program is better than that of all CMV drivers collectively.1 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 three consecutive years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first two years with their experiences in the final year. 1 A thorough discussion of this issue may be found in a FHWA final rule published in the Federal Register on March 26, 1996 and available on the internet at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/ pkg/FR-1996-03-26/pdf/96-7226.pdf. E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 211 / Thursday, October 31, 2019 / Notices III. Qualifications of Applicants Willie V. Brannon, Jr. Mr. Brannon, 47, has had glaucoma in his right eye since 2011. The visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘It is my medical opinion that he has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Brannon reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 14 years, accumulating 1.2 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Oklahoma. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Benjamin E. Brown Mr. Brown, 61, has a cataract in the right eye due to a traumatic incident in 2007. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/200, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘It is my opinion that Ben does have sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Brown reported that he has driven straight trucks for 38 years, accumulating 1.5 million miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 34 years, accumulating 1.9 million miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from Wyoming. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Charles L. Gaines Mr. Gaines, 48, has had partial optic nerve atrophy in his left eye since 2009. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/ 15, and in his left eye, 20/50. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my professional opinion, Mr. Gaines has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Gaines reported that he has driven straight trucks for 14 years, accumulating 43,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 20 years, accumulating 1.3 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from North Carolina. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. James L. Houser Mr. Houser, 53, has complete loss of vision in his right eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is no light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Oct 30, 2019 Jkt 250001 stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion James L. Houser has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Houser reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 15,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for ten years, accumulating 20,000 miles. He holds an operator’s license from Nebraska. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Andrew J. Kite III Mr. Kite, 35, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/50. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, Andrew has sufficient vision to perform driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Kite reported that he has driven straight trucks for ten years, accumulating 200,000 miles. He holds an operator’s license from Georgia. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Sean P. McSperitt Mr. McSperitt, 51, has a corneal scar in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/15, and in his left eye, 20/150. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘His vision is sufficient to operate commercial vehicle in all driving conditions.’’ Mr. McSperitt reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 200,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 21 years, accumulating 4.09 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Oregon. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Matthew J. Morrison Mr. Morrison, 58, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/60. Following an examination in 2019, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, he has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Morrison reported that he has driven straight trucks for 40 years, accumulating 440,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for eight years, accumulating 40,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Maryland. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58443 Frederick L. PeLong Mr. PeLong, 60, has a retinal detachment in his in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in 1994. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20 and in his left eye, hand motion. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘It is my medical opinion that Fred PeLong has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. PeLong reported that he has driven straight trucks for eight years, accumulating 120,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Iowa. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Martin S. Reese Mr. Reese, 59, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/200. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘I certify that in my medical opinion, Martin has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Reese reported that he has driven straight trucks for one year, accumulating 60,000 miles, and tractortrailer combinations for eight years, accumulating 480,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from California. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Devin M. Smith Mr. Smith, 24, has had optic nerve atrophy in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/ 200, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘Mr. Smith has sufficient binocular vision to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Smith reported that he has driven straight trucks for three years, accumulating 24,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for two years, accumulating 10,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Ohio. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Anthony C. White Mr. White, 53, has a prosthetic in his right eye due to a traumatic incident in 2013. The visual acuity in his right eye is no light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ‘‘It is in my opinion Mr. White has sufficient vision for driving commercial vehicle at this time.’’ Mr. White reported that he has driven buses for 28 years, accumulating E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1 58444 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 211 / Thursday, October 31, 2019 / Notices 487,620 miles. He holds a Class BM CDL from Alabama. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. IV. Request for Comments In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions described in this notice. We will consider all comments and material received before the close of business on the closing date indicated under the DATES section of the notice. Issued on: October 24, 2019. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2019–23761 Filed 10–30–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0016] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of denials. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to deny applications from 91 individuals who requested an exemption from the vision standard in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce. 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 W64–224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing materials in the docket, contact Docket Services, (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES I. Public Participation A. Viewing Documents and Comments To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0016 and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Oct 30, 2019 Jkt 250001 the Docket Operations in Room W12– 140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. B. 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 FMCSA received applications from 91 individuals who requested an exemption from the vision standard in the FMCSRs. FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and concluded that granting these exemptions would not provide a level of safety that would be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with § 391.41(b)(10). III. Basis for Exemption Determination Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the FMCSRs for no longer than a 5-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. FMCSA grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a 2-year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver’s medical certification. The Agency’s decision regarding these exemption applications is based on medical reports about the applicants’ vision, as well as their driving records and experience driving with the vision deficiency. IV. Conclusion The Agency has determined that these applicants do not satisfy the eligibility criteria or meet the terms and conditions of the Federal exemption and granting these exemptions would not provide a level of safety that would be equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with § 391.41(b)(10). Therefore, the 91 applicants in this notice have been denied exemptions from the physical qualification standards in § 391.41(b)(10). Each applicant has, prior to this notice, received a letter of final disposition regarding his/her exemption PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 request. Those decision letters fully outlined the basis for the denial and constitute final action by the Agency. This notice summarizes the Agency’s recent denials as required under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(4) by periodically publishing names and reasons for denial. The following three applicants did not have sufficient driving experience over the past three years under normal highway operating conditions: Edwin C. Cassidy (CA); Chad M. Moser (IA); and Frank L. Novich, Jr. (MO) The following 34 applicants had no experience operating a CMV: Kevin F. Aguiar (MA) Carlos Aliaga Molina (IA) Beverly J. Allen (OR) Adam E. Atkinson (WY) Jacob A. Bigelow (WI) Douglas Bock (PA) Zachary M. Bolton (SC) Jamin R. Burson (OR) James A. Claiborne (MD) Christian C. Cutler (CA) Robert F. Fullwood (PA) Fidel V. Garcia (NJ) Nikolas K. Gehrke (MS) Stanley A. Green (TN) Lonnie C. Harpole (KY) Salman A. Hassan (MN) Kody P. Hofman (WI) Jon B. Jantzer (WA) Colt Jarrett (UT) Jonathan Leonard (NC) Alejandro Manzano Perez (CA) Daniel L. Proud (MD) Ronald L. Riding (KS) Martin Sandoval (IL) Cheryl A. Sersland (IL) Jason D. Smith (FL) Willie L. Smith (TX) Felix L. Spates (AR) Scott A. Stead (WV) Rasan Tahirovic (ND) Tommy J. Tinley (PA) Eh D. Wah (WA) Justin J. Wegner (WI) Aubrey L. Wilson (IN) The following 21 applicants did not have three years of experience driving a CMV on public highways with their vision deficiencies: James D. Bersey (FL) Joel Bonilla (KS) Kevin A. Bretz (NH) Kevin C. Brunk (WI) David R. Corujo (SD) Lewis M. Culbertson (MD) Mark A. Darnell (KY) Carlos E. Donahue (AR) Steven B. Hanson (MN) Eduardo R. Martinez (ID) Carl J. Medlock (NE) Gary A. Oleson (IL) Jacob D. Rhinehart (ID) Timothy P. Sadler (WI) E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 211 (Thursday, October 31, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58441-58444]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-23761]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0017]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

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

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

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 11 individuals 
for an exemption from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. If granted, the exemptions will 
enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without 
meeting the vision requirement in one eye.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 2, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0017 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Operations; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation'' portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 
Medical Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, [email protected], 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., ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions 
regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket 
Operations, (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 58442]]

I. Public Participation

A. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0017), indicate the specific section of 
this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for 
each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and 
material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only 
one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a 
mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of 
your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions 
regarding your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017. Click on the ``Comment Now!'' button and type 
your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether 
you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a 
third party and then submit.
    If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them 
in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period.

B. Viewing Documents and Comments

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2019-0017 and choose the document to review. If you do 
not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by 
visiting the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of 
the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

C. 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

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the FMCSRs for no longer than a 5-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 5-year period. FMCSA grants medical exemptions from the 
FMCSRs for a 2-year period to align with the maximum duration of a 
driver's medical certification.
    The 11 individuals listed in this notice have requested an 
exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). 
Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of each 
applicant to determine whether granting an exemption will achieve the 
required level of safety mandated by statute.
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding vision 
found in Sec.  391.41(b)(10) states that a person is physically 
qualified to drive a CMV if that person has distant visual acuity of at 
least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual 
acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with 
corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) 
in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at 
least 70[deg] in the horizontal Meridian in each eye, and the ability 
to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard 
red, green, and amber.
    On July 16, 1992, the Agency first published the criteria for the 
Vision Waiver Program, which listed the conditions and reporting 
standards that CMV drivers approved for participation would need to 
meet (57 FR 31458). The current Vision Exemption Program was 
established in 1998, following the enactment of amendments to the 
statutes governing exemptions made by Sec.  4007 of the Transportation 
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 
107, 401 (June 9, 1998). Vision exemptions are considered under the 
procedures established in 49 CFR part 381 subpart C, on a case-by-case 
basis upon application by CMV drivers who do not meet the vision 
standards of Sec.  391.41(b)(10).
    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 in intrastate commerce with the vision 
deficiency for the past three 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 https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=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 demonstrated the driving 
performance of experienced monocular drivers in the program is better 
than that of all CMV drivers collectively.\1\ 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ A thorough discussion of this issue may be found in a FHWA 
final rule published in the Federal Register on March 26, 1996 and 
available on the internet at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-1996-03-26/pdf/96-7226.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 three consecutive 
years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first two 
years with their experiences in the final year.

[[Page 58443]]

III. Qualifications of Applicants

Willie V. Brannon, Jr.

    Mr. Brannon, 47, has had glaucoma in his right eye since 2011. The 
visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion, and in his left eye, 20/
20. Following an examination in 2019, his ophthalmologist stated, ``It 
is my medical opinion that he has sufficient vision to perform the 
driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Brannon 
reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 14 years, 
accumulating 1.2 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Oklahoma. 
His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no 
convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Benjamin E. Brown

    Mr. Brown, 61, has a cataract in the right eye due to a traumatic 
incident in 2007. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/200, and in 
his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist 
stated, ``It is my opinion that Ben does have sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Brown reported that he has driven straight trucks for 38 years, 
accumulating 1.5 million miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 34 
years, accumulating 1.9 million miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from 
Wyoming. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes 
and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Charles L. Gaines

    Mr. Gaines, 48, has had partial optic nerve atrophy in his left eye 
since 2009. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/15, and in his 
left eye, 20/50. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist 
stated, ``In my professional opinion, Mr. Gaines has sufficient vision 
to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial 
vehicle.'' Mr. Gaines reported that he has driven straight trucks for 
14 years, accumulating 43,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations 
for 20 years, accumulating 1.3 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL 
from North Carolina. His driving record for the last three years shows 
no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

James L. Houser

    Mr. Houser, 53, has complete loss of vision in his right eye due to 
a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye 
is no light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an 
examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ``In my medical opinion 
James L. Houser has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks 
required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Houser reported that he 
has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 15,000 miles, and 
tractor-trailer combinations for ten years, accumulating 20,000 miles. 
He holds an operator's license from Nebraska. His driving record for 
the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Andrew J. Kite III

    Mr. Kite, 35, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/
50. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ``In my 
medical opinion, Andrew has sufficient vision to perform driving tasks 
required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Kite reported that he 
has driven straight trucks for ten years, accumulating 200,000 miles. 
He holds an operator's license from Georgia. His driving record for the 
last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Sean P. McSperitt

    Mr. McSperitt, 51, has a corneal scar in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/15, and in his left eye, 20/150. Following an examination in 2019, 
his optometrist stated, ``His vision is sufficient to operate 
commercial vehicle in all driving conditions.'' Mr. McSperitt reported 
that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 200,000 
miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 21 years, accumulating 4.09 
million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Oregon. His driving record 
for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Matthew J. Morrison

    Mr. Morrison, 58, has had amblyopia in his left eye since 
childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left 
eye, 20/60. Following an examination in 2019, his ophthalmologist 
stated, ``In my medical opinion, he has sufficient vision to perform 
the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. 
Morrison reported that he has driven straight trucks for 40 years, 
accumulating 440,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for eight 
years, accumulating 40,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Maryland. 
His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no 
convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Frederick L. PeLong

    Mr. PeLong, 60, has a retinal detachment in his in his left eye due 
to a traumatic incident in 1994. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20 and in his left eye, hand motion. Following an examination in 
2019, his optometrist stated, ``It is my medical opinion that Fred 
PeLong has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to 
operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. PeLong reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for eight years, accumulating 120,000 miles. He holds a 
Class A CDL from Iowa. His driving record for the last three years 
shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Martin S. Reese

    Mr. Reese, 59, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/
200. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist stated, ``I 
certify that in my medical opinion, Martin has sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Reese reported that he has driven straight trucks for one year, 
accumulating 60,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for eight 
years, accumulating 480,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from 
California. His driving record for the last three years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Devin M. Smith

    Mr. Smith, 24, has had optic nerve atrophy in his right eye since 
childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/200, and in his 
left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2019, his optometrist 
stated, ``Mr. Smith has sufficient binocular vision to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Smith reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for three years, accumulating 24,000 miles, and tractor-trailer 
combinations for two years, accumulating 10,000 miles. He holds a Class 
A CDL from Ohio. His driving record for the last three years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Anthony C. White

    Mr. White, 53, has a prosthetic in his right eye due to a traumatic 
incident in 2013. The visual acuity in his right eye is no light 
perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 
2019, his optometrist stated, ``It is in my opinion Mr. White has 
sufficient vision for driving commercial vehicle at this time.'' Mr. 
White reported that he has driven buses for 28 years, accumulating

[[Page 58444]]

487,620 miles. He holds a Class BM CDL from Alabama. His driving record 
for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

IV. Request for Comments

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

    Issued on: October 24, 2019.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2019-23761 Filed 10-30-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P