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Notice

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of applications for exemption, request for comments.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 8 individuals for an exemption from the prohibition against persons with a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which is likely to cause a loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) from operating CMVs in interstate commerce. The regulation and the associated advisory criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations as the “Instructions for Performing and Recording Physical Examinations” have resulted in numerous drivers being prohibited from operating CMVs in interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication, rather than an individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified medical examiner. If granted, the exemptions would enable these individuals who have had one or more seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs for 2 years in interstate commerce.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before August 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2014-0212 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket ID for this Notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgment Start Printed Page 38664page that appears after submitting comments on-line.

Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316; January 17, 2008). This information is also available at http://Docketinfo.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), 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 statutes also allow the Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. The 8 individuals listed in this notice have recently requested an exemption from the epilepsy prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), which applies to drivers who operate CMVs as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, in interstate commerce. Section 391.41(b)(8) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle 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.

FMCSA provides medical advisory criteria for use by medical examiners in determining whether drivers with certain medical conditions should be certified to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce. The advisory criteria indicate that if an individual has had a sudden episode of a non-epileptic seizure or loss of consciousness of unknown cause which did not require anti-seizure medication, the decision whether that person's condition is likely to cause the loss of consciousness or loss of ability to control a CMV should be made on an individual basis by the medical examiner in consultation with the treating physician. Before certification is considered, it is suggested that a 6-month waiting period elapse from the time of the episode. Following the waiting period, it is suggested that the individual have a complete neurological examination. If the results of the examination are negative and anti-seizure medication is not required, then the driver may be qualified.

In those individual cases where a driver had a seizure or an episode of loss of consciousness that resulted from a known medical condition (e.g., drug reaction, high temperature, acute infectious disease, dehydration, or acute metabolic disturbance), certification should be deferred until the driver has fully recovered from that condition, has no existing residual complications, and is not taking anti-seizure medication. 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 5-year period or more.

Submitting Comments

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 and in the search box insert the docket number “FMCSA-2014-0212” and click the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue “Comment Now!” button on the right hand side of the page. On the new page, enter information required including the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. 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.

We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of the comment period.

Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble, or to submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number “FMCSA-2014-0212” and click “Search.” Next, click “Open Docket Folder” and you will find all documents and comments related to the proposed rulemaking.

Summary of Applications

Ruben Alcantar

Mr. Alcantar is a 39-year-old driver in Oregon. He has a history of a single seizure in 1992 and has remained seizure free since that time. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 1992. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Alcantar receiving an exemption.

Charles Barnett

Mr. Barnett is a 67-year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 2011. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Barnett receiving an exemption.

Peter Bender

Mr. Bender is a 58-year-old class A CDL holder in Minnesota. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1996. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted an exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Bender receiving an exemption.

James Boyd

Mr. Boyd is a 56-year-old driver in Kansas. He has a history of a single seizure in 2011 following surgery of a traumatic brain injury and has remained seizure free since that time. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since for 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Boyd receiving an exemption.

Terry Hamby

Mr. Hamby is a 44-year-old class A CDL holder in North Carolina. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1981. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and Start Printed Page 38665frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Hamby receiving an exemption.

Louis Lerch

Mr. Lerch is a 62-year-old class A CDL holder in Iowa. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 1978. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2007. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Lerch receiving an exemption.

Joaquin Polin

Mr. Polin is a 47-year-old driver in New York. He has a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 2010. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Polin receiving an exemption.

Angel Velez-Cruz

Mr. Velez-Cruz is a 30-year-old class B CDL holder in New Jersey. He has a history of seizures and has remained seizure free since 2004. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2009. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Velez-Cruz receiving an exemption.

Request for Comments

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

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Issued on: June 25, 2014.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2014-15955 Filed 7-7-14; 8:45 am]

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