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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Transportation (DOT).


Notice of final disposition.


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


The exemptions were applicable on May 19, 2020. The exemptions expire on May 19, 2022.

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Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 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., 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.

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I. Public Participation

A. Viewing Documents and Comments

To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice as Start Printed Page 39271being available in the docket, go to Insert the docket number, FMCSA-2012-0123, FMCSA-2013-0124, FMCSA-2013-0125, FMCSA-2016-0003, or FMCSA-2017-0059, 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 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. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before visiting Docket 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, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at​privacy.

II. Background

On May 5, 2020, FMCSA published a notice announcing its decision to renew exemptions for seven individuals from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce and requested comments from the public (85 FR 26780). The public comment period ended on June 4, 2020, and no comments were received.

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)(11).

The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding hearing found in § 391.41(b)(11) states that a person is physically qualified to drive 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.

This standard was adopted in 1970 and was revised 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).

III. Discussion of Comments

FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding.

IV. Conclusion

Based upon its evaluation of the seven renewal exemption applications, FMCSA announces its decision to exempt the following drivers from the hearing requirement in § 391.41(b)(11).

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following groups of drivers received renewed exemptions in the month of May and are discussed below:

As of May 19, 2020, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), the following seven individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the hearing requirement in the FMCSRs for interstate CMV drivers (85 FR 26780):

Forrest Carroll (OH)

Bryan MacFarlane (OH)

Michael Murrah (GA)

Michael Paasch (NE)

Kelly Pulvermacher (WI)

Brian Walthall (KS)

Joshua Chad Weaver (GA)

The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA-2012-0123, FMCSA-2013-0124, FMCSA-2013-0125, FMCSA-2016-0003, and FMCSA-2017-0059. Their exemptions are applicable as of May 19, 2020, and will expire on May 19, 2022.

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).

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Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2020-14049 Filed 6-29-20; 8:45 am]