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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.


Notice of renewal of exemptions; request for comments.


FMCSA announces its decision to renew the exemptions for 20 individuals from the hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The exemptions enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.


This decision was effective March 4, 2016. Comments must be received on or before August 31, 2016.

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Christine A. Hydock, Chief, Medical Programs Division, Medical Programs Division, 202-366-4001,, 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. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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I. Electronic Access

You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at:

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to and/or Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at​privacy.

II. Background

Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption for up to 2 years if it finds “such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.” The statute also allows the Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding hearing found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) states that a person is physically qualified to driver a CMV if that person:

First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than 5 feet with or without the use of a hearing aid or, if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to American National Standard (formerly ASA Standard) Z24.5—1951.

49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) was adopted in 1970, with a revision in 1971 to allow drivers to be qualified under this standard while wearing a hearing aid, 35 FR 6458, 6463 (April 22, 1970) and 36 FR 12857 (July 3, 1971).

The 20 individuals listed in this notice have requested renewal of their exemptions from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11), in accordance with FMCSA procedures.

III. Request for Comments

Interested parties or organizations possessing information that would otherwise show that any, or all, of these drivers are not currently achieving the Start Printed Page 50594statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any adverse evidence submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption of a driver. FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and related materials.

IV. Basis for Renewing Exemptions

Under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), an exemption may be granted for no longer than two years from its approval date and may be renewed upon application. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each of the 20 applicants has satisfied the entry conditions for obtaining an exemption from the hearing requirement (80 FR 18924; 80 FR 18926; 80 FR 22766; 80 FR 22768; 80 FR 60747). The Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) and Motor Carrier Management Informatiom System (MCMIS) are searched for crash and violation data. For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviews the driving records from the State Driver's Licensing Agency (SDLA). These factors provide an adequate basis for predicting each driver's ability to continue to drive safely in interstate commerce.

V. Exemption Decision

The 20 drivers in this notice remain in good standing with the Agency and have not exhibited any medical issues that would compromise their ability to safely operate a CMV during the previous 2-year exemption period. FMCSA has concluded that renewing the exemptions for each of these applicants is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. Therefore, FMCSA has decided to renew each exemption for a two-year period. They are:

Joshua Arango (FL), Michael Beebe (NJ), Andrew Deuschle (TX), David Garland (ME), Daniel Grossinger (MD), Roman Landa (CA), Claire Mitcham (TX), Quinton Murphy (WI), Michael Paasch (NE), Jeffrey Pagenkopf (MN), Kelly Pulvermacher (WI), Alfredo Ramirez (TX), Fernando Ramirez-Savon (NM), Julie Ramirez (TX), Ralph Reno (PA), Adalberto Rodriguez (NY), Andrey Shevchenko (MN), William Symonds (IL), Hayden Teesdale (TX), Joshua Weaver (GA).

VI. Conditions and Requirements

The exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions: (1) Each driver must report any crashes or accidents as defined in 49 CFR 390.5; and (2) report all citations and convictions for disqualifying offenses under 49 CFR part 383 and 49 CFR 391 to FMCSA. In addition, the driver must also have a copy of the exemption when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement officials. The driver is prohibited from operating a motorcoach or bus with passengers in interstate commerce. The exemption does not exempt the individual from meeting the applicable CDL testing requirements. Each exemption will be valid for two years unless rescinded earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315.

VII. Conclusion

Based upon its evaluation of the 20 exemption applications, FMCSA renews the exemptions of the aforementioned drivers from the hearing requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by FMCSA.

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Issued on: July 22, 2016.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2016-18137 Filed 7-29-16; 8:45 am]