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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

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


Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.


FMCSA announces receipt of an application from one individual for an exemption from the prohibition in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) against operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) by persons with a current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis, or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope (transient loss of consciousness), dyspnea (shortness of breath), collapse, or congestive heart Start Printed Page 8831failure. If granted, the exemption would enable this individual with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.


Comments must be received on or before March 11, 2021.


You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2021-0036 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to​docket?​D=​FMCSA-2021-0036. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket 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.

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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 Dockets Operations, (202) 366-9826.

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I. Public Participation

A. Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0036), 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​docket?​D=​FMCSA-2021-0036. 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​docket?​D=​FMCSA-2021-0036 and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the 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.

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(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 individual listed in this notice has requested an exemption from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(4). Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of the applicant to determine whether granting the exemption will achieve the required level of safety mandated by statute.

The physical qualification standard found in § 391.41(b)(4) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis, or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure.

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. The advisory criteria states that ICDs are disqualifying due to risk of syncope.

III. Qualifications of Applicant

Matthew Wackt

Mr. Wackt is a CMV driver in Wisconsin. A January 8, 2021, letter from his cardiologist reports that his ICD was implanted in March of 2019, for secondary prevention of high risk cardiac arrhythmias for which he has not received ICD therapy since the device was implanted, nor has he reported any symptoms associated with any cardiac arrhythmia. His cardiologist's letter states that Mr. Wackt is stable from a cardiac electrophysiology perspective, and maintains ICD follow-up, however, remains at risk for recurrent ventricular arrhythmias in the setting of his underlying diagnosis. The cardiologist's letter also states that the presence of an ICD does not guarantee prevention of syncope.

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 petition described in this notice. We will consider all comments received before the close of business on Start Printed Page 8832the closing date indicated under the DATES section of the notice.

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Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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1.  These criteria may be found in 49 CFR part 391, APPENDIX A TO PART 391—MEDICAL ADVISORY CRITERIA, section D. Cardiovascular: § 391.41(b)(4), paragraph 4, which is available on the internet at​fdsys/​pkg/​CFR-2015-title49-vol5/​pdf/​CFR-2015-title49-vol5-part391-appA.pdf.

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[FR Doc. 2021-02658 Filed 2-8-21; 8:45 am]