Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision, 11046-11049 [2021-03700]

Download as PDF 11046 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices recovered fully from that condition, has no existing residual complications, and is not taking anti-seizure medication. Drivers who have a history of epilepsy/seizures, off anti-seizure medication and seizure-free for 10 years, may be qualified to operate 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 5year period or more. As a result of MEs misinterpreting advisory criteria as regulation, numerous drivers have been prohibited from operating a CMV 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 ME based on the physical qualification standards and medical best practices. On January 15, 2013, FMCSA announced in a Notice of Final Disposition titled, ‘‘Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders,’’ (78 FR 3069), its decision to grant requests from 22 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that interstate 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.’’ Since that time, the Agency has published additional notices granting requests from individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement regarding epilepsy found in § 391.41(b)(8). To be considered for an exemption from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in § 391.41(b)(8), applicants must meet the criteria in the 2007 recommendations of the Agency’s Medical Expert Panel (78 FR 3069). III. Qualifications of Applicants Sayed K. Abbed Mr. Abbed is a 40-year old class C license holder in Illinois. He has a history of focal seizure, and has been seizure free since 2012. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2012. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Abbed receiving an exemption. Devante Carter Mr. Carter is a 23-year old class D license holder in Illinois. He has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 2009. He has not taken antiseizure medication since 2012. His VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 physician states that she is supportive of Mr. Carter receiving an exemption. David R. Frantz Mr. Frantz is a 56-year old class CM license holder in Pennsylvania. He has a history of epilepsy and has been seizure free since 2011. He has not taken anti-seizure medication since 2012. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Frantz receiving an exemption. Brian P. Klein Mr. Klein is a 46-year old Operator License holder in Indiana. He has a history of seizures, and has been seizure free since 2008. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2008. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Klein receiving an exemption. Thomas A. Marx Mr. Marx is a 44-year old Driver License holder in Washington. He has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 1995. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 1995. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Marx receiving an exemption. Jeffrey Smith, Jr. Mr. Smith, Jr. is a 42-year old Driver License holder in Florida. He has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 2012. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2016. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Smith, Jr. receiving an exemption. Eric R. Smits Mr. Smits is a 52-year old Driver License holder in Wisconsin. He has a history of seizures, and has been seizure free since September 2012. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since September 2012. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Smits receiving an exemption. 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 received before the close of business on the closing date indicated under the DATES section of the notice. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–03697 Filed 2–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P PO 00000 Frm 00128 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2021–0003] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department of Transportation (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 March 25, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA–2021–0003 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FMCSA-2021-0003. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Dockets 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 Dockets Operations, (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices I. Public Participation A. Submitting Comments If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (Docket No. FMCSA–2021–0003), 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-2021-0003. 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. 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-2021-0003 and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting Dockets Operations in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366–9317 or (202) 366– 9826 before visiting Dockets Operations. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.transportation.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 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, 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 PO 00000 Frm 00129 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11047 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 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 3 consecutive years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first 2 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\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 11048 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices III. Qualifications of Applicants Antonio R. Barros Mr. Barros, 53, 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 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, Mr. Barros has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Barros reported that he has driven straight trucks for 12 years, accumulating 120,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 12 years, accumulating 96,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from NY. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Robert D. Boudreau Mr. Boudreau, 54, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20 and in his left eye, 20/350. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, Mr. Boudreau has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Boudreau reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 22 years, accumulating 2.2 million miles. He holds an operator’s license from Arizona. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Doris J. Goldsmith Ms. Goldsmith, 48, has complete loss of vision in her left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in her right eye is 20/20, and in her left eye, hand motion only. Following an examination in 2020, her optometrist stated, ‘‘Her left eye is entirely stable. In my opinion Doris is completely capable of operating a commercial vehicle with no restriction.’’ Ms. Goldsmith reported that she has driven straight trucks for 2 years, accumulating 31,200 miles, and tractortrailer combinations for 20 years, accumulating 2.2 million miles. She holds a Class DA CDL from Kentucky. Her driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Todd C. Kraese Mr. Kraese, 51, has had a retinal detachment in his left eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/ 20, and in his left eye, light perception. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my opinion, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 patient has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Kraese reported that he has driven tractortrailer combinations for 6 years, accumulating 36,000 miles. He holds an operator’s license from Indiana. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Kathy A. Mason Ms. Mason, 55, has a prosthetic right eye due to melanoma in 2012. The visual acuity in her right eye is no light perception, and in her left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2020, her optometrist stated, ‘‘Her prosthetic in the left eye will not hinder her driving in any way. She is capable of operating a commercial vehicle or any vehicle thererof.’’ Ms. Mason reported that she has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 200,000 miles, tractortrailer combinations for 17 years, accumulating 85,000 miles, and buses for 13 years, accumulating 1.56 million miles. She holds a Class A CDL from Texas. Her driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Luke A. Perry Mr. Perry, 58, has a corneal scar in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/300. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘It is my opinion that Mr. Perry has sufficient vision to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Perry reported that he has driven straight trucks for 6 years, accumulating 60,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 3 years, accumulating 330,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Vermont. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Percy C. Robinson Mr. Robinson, 48, has a retinal detachment in his left eye due to spontaneous degeneration in 2008. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, light perception. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my opinion, Mr. Robinson has vision sufficient to perform the driving tasks to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Robinson reported that he has driven straight trucks for 25 years, accumulating 120,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 25 years, accumulating 25,000 miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from Alabama. His driving record for PO 00000 Frm 00130 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Harvinder S. Sahota Mr. Sahota, 38, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/400, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion Harvinder has sufficient vision, color vision and visual fields to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Sahota reported that he has driven tractortrailer combinations for 3 years, accumulating 360,000 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. Michael J. Wells Mr. Wells, 64, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion only, and in his left eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2020 his optometrist stated, ‘‘Mr. Wells has been able to safely operate a commercial vehicle for years and should be able to continue doing so, without his vision impacting that ability.’’ Mr. Wells reported that he has driven straight trucks for 25 years, accumulating 1.25 million miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 25 years, accumulating 5 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. Dennis C. Welpe Mr. Welpe, 55, has a retinal detachment in his in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in 1983. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘It is in my opinion Mr. Welpe has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Welpe reported that he has driven buses for 37 years, accumulating 74,000 miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Texas. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Kevin D. White Mr. White, 48, has a complete loss of vision in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, complete loss of vision. Following an examination in 2021, his E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 34 / Tuesday, February 23, 2021 / Notices ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, I believe Mr. White has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. White reported that he has driven straight trucks for 4 years, accumulating 160,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 15 years, accumulating 780,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Texas. 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. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–03700 Filed 2–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2006–25854; FMCSA–2010–0203; FMCSA–2015–0323; FMCSA–2016–0007; FMCSA–2016–0008; FMCSA–2018–0051; FMCSA–2018–0052; FMCSA–2018–0056] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew exemptions for 10 individuals from the requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) 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 exemptions enable these individuals who have had one or more seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication to continue to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. DATES: Each group of renewed exemptions were applicable on the dates stated in the discussions below SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Feb 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 and will expire on the dates provided below. 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 or submitting material to the docket, contact Dockets Operations, (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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. Insert the docket number, FMCSA–2006–25854, FMCSA–2010–0203, FMCSA–2015– 0323, FMCSA–2016–0007, FMCSA– 2016–0008, FMCSA–2018–0051, FMCSA–2018–0052, or FMCSA–2018– 0056, in the keyword box, and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ button and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting Dockets Operations in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366–9317 or (202) 366– 9826 before visiting Dockets Operations. 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.transportation.gov/privacy. II. Background On January 6, 2021, FMCSA published a notice announcing its decision to renew exemptions for 10 individuals from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce and requested comments from the public (86 FR 701). The public comment period ended on February 5, 2021, and no comments were received. PO 00000 Frm 00131 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11049 FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and determined that renewing these exemptions would achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by complying with § 391.41(b)(8). The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding epilepsy found in § 391.41(b)(8) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which is likely to cause the loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a CMV. In addition to the regulations, FMCSA has published advisory criteria 1 to assist medical examiners in determining whether drivers with certain medical conditions are qualified to operate a CMV in interstate commerce. III. Discussion of Comments FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding. IV. Conclusion Based on its evaluation of the 10 renewal exemption applications, FMCSA announces its decision to exempt the following drivers from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in § 391.41(b)(8). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following groups of drivers received renewed exemptions in the month of January and are discussed below. As of January 1, 2021, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following eight individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in the FMCSRs for interstate CMV drivers (86 FR 701): Scott D. Engelman (PA) Scott I. Habeck (SD) Todd W. Hines (OH) Jordan M. Hyster (OH) Everett J. Letourneau (ND) Scott A. Ready, Sr. (WI) Douglas J. Simms, Jr. (NC) Ronald E. Wagner (OH) The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA–2015–0323, FMCSA– 2016–0007, FMCSA–2016–0008, FMCSA–2018–0051, FMCSA–2018– 0052, and FMCSA–2018–0056. Their exemptions were applicable as of January 1, 2021, and will expire on January 1, 2023. 1 These criteria may be found in APPENDIX A TO PART 391—MEDICAL ADVISORY CRITERIA, section H. Epilepsy: § 391.41(b)(8), paragraphs 3, 4, and 5, which is available on the internet at https:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2015-title49-vol5/pdf/ CFR-2015-title49-vol5-part391-appA.pdf. E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 34 (Tuesday, February 23, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11046-11049]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03700]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0003]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Department 
of Transportation (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 March 25, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0003 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FMCSA-2021-0003. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Dockets 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 Dockets 
Operations, (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

[[Page 11047]]

I. Public Participation

A. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0003), 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-2021-0003. 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-2021-0003 and choose the document to review. If you do 
not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by 
visiting Dockets Operations in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the 
DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-
0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call 
(202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before visiting Dockets Operations.

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.transportation.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, 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 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 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 3 consecutive years 
of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first 2 years with 
their experiences in the final year.

[[Page 11048]]

III. Qualifications of Applicants

Antonio R. Barros

    Mr. Barros, 53, 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 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ``In 
my medical opinion, Mr. Barros has sufficient vision to perform the 
driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Barros 
reported that he has driven straight trucks for 12 years, accumulating 
120,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 12 years, 
accumulating 96,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from NY. His driving 
record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for 
moving violations in a CMV.

Robert D. Boudreau

    Mr. Boudreau, 54, has had amblyopia in his left eye since 
childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20 and in his left 
eye, 20/350. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist 
stated, ``In my medical opinion, Mr. Boudreau has sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. 
Boudreau reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 
22 years, accumulating 2.2 million miles. He holds an operator's 
license from Arizona. His driving record for the last three years shows 
no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Doris J. Goldsmith

    Ms. Goldsmith, 48, has complete loss of vision in her left eye due 
to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in her right 
eye is 20/20, and in her left eye, hand motion only. Following an 
examination in 2020, her optometrist stated, ``Her left eye is entirely 
stable. In my opinion Doris is completely capable of operating a 
commercial vehicle with no restriction.'' Ms. Goldsmith reported that 
she has driven straight trucks for 2 years, accumulating 31,200 miles, 
and tractor-trailer combinations for 20 years, accumulating 2.2 million 
miles. She holds a Class DA CDL from Kentucky. Her driving record for 
the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Todd C. Kraese

    Mr. Kraese, 51, has had a retinal detachment in his left eye since 
birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left 
eye, light perception. Following an examination in 2020, his 
optometrist stated, ``In my opinion, the patient has sufficient vision 
to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial 
vehicle.'' Mr. Kraese reported that he has driven tractor-trailer 
combinations for 6 years, accumulating 36,000 miles. He holds an 
operator's license from Indiana. His driving record for the last three 
years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a 
CMV.

Kathy A. Mason

    Ms. Mason, 55, has a prosthetic right eye due to melanoma in 2012. 
The visual acuity in her right eye is no light perception, and in her 
left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2020, her optometrist 
stated, ``Her prosthetic in the left eye will not hinder her driving in 
any way. She is capable of operating a commercial vehicle or any 
vehicle thererof.'' Ms. Mason reported that she has driven straight 
trucks for 20 years, accumulating 200,000 miles, tractor-trailer 
combinations for 17 years, accumulating 85,000 miles, and buses for 13 
years, accumulating 1.56 million miles. She holds a Class A CDL from 
Texas. Her driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and 
no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Luke A. Perry

    Mr. Perry, 58, has a corneal scar in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20, and in his left eye, 20/300. Following an examination in 2020, 
his ophthalmologist stated, ``It is my opinion that Mr. Perry has 
sufficient vision to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Perry reported 
that he has driven straight trucks for 6 years, accumulating 60,000 
miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 3 years, accumulating 
330,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Vermont. His driving record 
for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Percy C. Robinson

    Mr. Robinson, 48, has a retinal detachment in his left eye due to 
spontaneous degeneration in 2008. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20, and in his left eye, light perception. Following an examination 
in 2020, his optometrist stated, ``In my opinion, Mr. Robinson has 
vision sufficient to perform the driving tasks to operate a commercial 
vehicle.'' Mr. Robinson reported that he has driven straight trucks for 
25 years, accumulating 120,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations 
for 25 years, accumulating 25,000 miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from 
Alabama. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes 
and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Harvinder S. Sahota

    Mr. Sahota, 38, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/400, and in his left eye, 20/
20. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ``In 
my medical opinion Harvinder has sufficient vision, color vision and 
visual fields to perform the driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Sahota reported that he has driven tractor-
trailer combinations for 3 years, accumulating 360,000 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.

Michael J. Wells

    Mr. Wells, 64, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion only, and in his left 
eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2020 his optometrist stated, 
``Mr. Wells has been able to safely operate a commercial vehicle for 
years and should be able to continue doing so, without his vision 
impacting that ability.'' Mr. Wells reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for 25 years, accumulating 1.25 million miles, and 
tractor-trailer combinations for 25 years, accumulating 5 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.

Dennis C. Welpe

    Mr. Welpe, 55, has a retinal detachment in his in his left eye due 
to a traumatic incident in 1983. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2020, 
his ophthalmologist stated, ``It is in my opinion Mr. Welpe has 
sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Welpe reported that he has driven buses for 
37 years, accumulating 74,000 miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Texas. 
His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no 
convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Kevin D. White

    Mr. White, 48, has a complete loss of vision in his left eye due to 
a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye 
is 20/20, and in his left eye, complete loss of vision. Following an 
examination in 2021, his

[[Page 11049]]

ophthalmologist stated, ``In my medical opinion, I believe Mr. White 
has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate 
a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. White reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for 4 years, accumulating 160,000 miles, and tractor-trailer 
combinations for 15 years, accumulating 780,000 miles. He holds a Class 
A CDL from Texas. 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.

Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2021-03700 Filed 2-22-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P