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Notice

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of applications for exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 17 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 May 9, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0008 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online 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., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number(s) for this notice. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below for further information.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or Start Printed Page 15217Room 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. 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 acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments online.

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 http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at http://www.dot.gov/​privacy.

Start Further Info

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., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption from the FMCSRs for a five-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 five-year period. FMCSA grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a two-year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver's medical certification.

The 17 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 49 CFR 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.

In July 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 (Qualification of Drivers; Vision Waivers, 57 FR 31458, July 16, 1992). 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 49 CFR 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 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 Docket Number FMCSA-1998-3637.

FMCSA believes it can properly apply the principle to monocular drivers, because data from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) former waiver study program clearly demonstrated the driving performance of experienced monocular drivers in the program is better than that of all CMV drivers collectively (See 61 FR 13338, 13345, March 26, 1996). The fact that experienced monocular drivers demonstrated safe driving records in the waiver program supports a conclusion that other monocular drivers, meeting the same qualifying conditions as those required by the waiver program, are also likely to have adapted to their vision deficiency and will continue to operate safely.

The first major research correlating past and future performance was done in England by Greenwood and Yule in 1920. Subsequent studies, building on that model, concluded that crash rates for the same individual exposed to certain risks for two different time periods vary only slightly (See Bates and Neyman, University of California Publications in Statistics, April 1952). Other studies demonstrated theories of predicting crash proneness from crash history coupled with other factors. These factors—such as age, sex, geographic location, mileage driven and conviction history—are used every day by insurance companies and motor vehicle bureaus to predict the probability of an individual experiencing future crashes (See Weber, Donald C., “Accident Rate Potential: An Application of Multiple Regression Analysis of a Poisson Process,” Journal of American Statistical Association, June 1971). A 1964 California Driver Record Study prepared by the California Department of Motor Vehicles concluded that the best overall crash predictor for both concurrent and nonconcurrent events is the number of single convictions. This study used three consecutive years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first two years with their experiences in the final year.

II. Qualifications of Applicants

Leobardo Antunez

Mr. Antunez, 66, has had a macular cyst in his left eye since 2000. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, “In my professional/medical opinion, Leobardo has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Antunez reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 17 years, accumulating 1 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Washington. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Jason P. Dostal

Mr. Dostal, 49, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/80. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “Has sufficient vision to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Dostal reported that he has driven straight trucks for seven years, accumulating 182,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Indiana. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no Start Printed Page 15218convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

John C. Duncan

Mr. Duncan, 68, has had amblyopia in his left eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/200. Following an examination in 2017, his ophthalmologist stated, “In my medical opinion, Mr. John Duncan has the sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle land or water.” Mr. Duncan reported that he has driven straight trucks for 43 years, accumulating 64,500 miles, tractor-trailer combinations for five years, accumulating 15,000 miles, and buses for 24 years, accumulating 48,000 miles. He holds a Class BM CDL from New York. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Kenneth M. Emerson

Mr. Emerson, 66, has had amblyopia in his left eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/50. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “Kenneth has adequate vision to drive a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Emerson reported that he has driven straight trucks for seven years, accumulating 700,000 miles. He holds an operator's license from Idaho. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Michael C. Farley

Mr. Farley, 62, has had amblyopia in his right eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/160, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “In my medical opinion he has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Farley reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for seven years, accumulating 700,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Florida. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Steven W. Kyman

Mr. Kyman, 58, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/60, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “Nothing in our vision testing indicates Mr. Kyman should not continue to possess a CDL and drive a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Kyman reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 14 years, accumulating 1.68 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.

Jeffrey T. Landry

Mr. Landry, 53, has had optic neuropathy in his left eye since 2015. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, counting fingers. Following an examination in 2017, his ophthalmologist stated, “He has sufficient vision in his right eye to operate a commercial vehicle, and has been successfully over the last [two] years per his report.” Mr. Landry reported that he has driven straight trucks for four years, accumulating 48,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 32 years, accumulating 3.8 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.

David A. Margetson

Mr. Margetson, 39, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/50, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “In my opinion, there is no concern for him to operate a commercial vehicle due to his vision” Mr. Margetson reported that he has driven straight trucks for 11 years, accumulating 215,644 miles. He holds an operator's license from Michigan. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Trent C. McCain

Mr. McCain, 41, has had retinopathy in his right eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/400, and in his left eye, 20/30. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “In my medical opinion, Trent McCain has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. McCain reported that he has driven straight trucks for 28 years, accumulating 28,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 17 years, accumulating 1.44 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Kansas. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

David M. McCarty

Mr. McCarty, 51, has a corneal scar in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in 1986. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, light perception. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “My medical opinion is that David has sufficient vision to operate commercial vehicles.” Mr. McCarty reported that he has driven straight trucks for 28 years, accumulating 420,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 28 years, accumulating 420,000 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.

Jeffrey W. Pike, Jr.

Mr. Pike, 41, has a cataract in his right eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, “In my opinion he has sufficient vision to perform driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle and has done so successfully for many years.” Mr. Pike reported that he has driven straight trucks for 25 years, accumulating 250,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 23 years, accumulating 1.8 million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Minnesota. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Jess C. Sanchez

Mr. Sanchez, 44, has had retinal ischemia in his left eye due to lupus since 2007. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/15, and in his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination in 2017, his ophthalmologist stated, “From a visual perspective, he has adequate vision to perform driving test required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Sanchez reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 29 years, accumulating 1.7 million 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.

Ermanno M. Santucci

Mr. Santucci, 39, 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 2017, his optometrist stated, “Patient has sufficient vision to perform driving tasks and drive a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Santucci reported that he has driven straight trucks for five years, accumulating 135,150 miles. He holds a Class B CDL Start Printed Page 15219from Illinois. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

John R.A.Taylor

Mr. Taylor, 67, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “I certify that in my professional opinion, John R. A. Taylor has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Taylor reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 300,000 miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Virginia. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Justin L. Tidyman

Mr. Tidyman, 35, has had amblyopia in his right eye since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/200, and in his left eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, “I feel that My. [sic] Tidyman has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Tidyman reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 1.4 million miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for seven years, accumulating 140,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Arkansas. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Raul Torres Malaga

Mr. Torres Malaga, 60, has had amblyopia in his right eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/60, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “Upon completing the eye exam, I find Mr. Torres visually capable to operate a motor vehicle of any kind, including commercial vehicles.” Mr. Torres Malaga reported that he has driven straight trucks for one year, accumulating 9,100 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for three years, accumulating 60,900 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Florida. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Timothy L. Tucker

Mr. Tucker, 46, has had amblyopia in his left eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2017, his optometrist stated, “Patient, Tim Tucker, should be allowed to operate a commercial vehicle with no restrictions with respect to his visual status.” Mr. Tucker reported that he has driven straight trucks for 15 years, accumulating 465,000 miles. He holds an operator's license from Kentucky. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

III. Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, 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 in the dates section of the notice.

IV. 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-2018-0008 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 materials received during the comment period. FMCSA may issue a final determination at any time after the close of the comment period.

V. Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA-2018-0008 and click “Search.” Next, click “Open Docket Folder” and you will find all documents and comments related to this notice.

Start Signature

Issued on: April 2, 2018

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-07187 Filed 4-6-18; 8:45 am]

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