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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking Buses American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
January 15, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 10 (Tuesday, January 15, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3079-3081]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00712]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0294


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and 
Seizure Disorders

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of applications for exemption, request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 9 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 February 14, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2012-0094--using any of the 
following methods:

[[Page 3080]]

     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 acknowledgement page 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 December 29, 2010 (75 FR 82132). This information 
is also available at http://Docketinfo.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine Papp, Chief, Medical Programs 
Division (202) 366-4001, or via email at fmcsamedical@dot.gov, or by 
letter 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.

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 9 
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 commercial motor vehicle.
    FMCSA provides medical advisory criteria for use by medical 
examiners in determining whether drivers with certain medical 
conditions should be certified to operate commercial motor vehicles 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.

Summary of Applications

Patrick Andreasen

    Mr. Andreasen is a 54 year-old Class C driver in the State of 
Pennsylvania. He has a history of epilepsy. His last seizure was in 
1982. He has remained seizure free for 30 years. He takes anti-seizure 
medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for 20 
years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a 15-passenger 
bus. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Andreasen receiving 
an exemption and Mr. Andreasen states he feels he would operate a 
vehicle at the same safety level as someone who did not require an 
exemption.

Samuel D. Beverly

    Mr. Beverly is a 46 year-old driver in the State of Virginia. He 
has a history of seizures and his last seizure was in 1995. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 17 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a dump truck. Mr. Beverly's physician states he is highly 
supportive of Mr. Beverly receiving an exemption.

Craig Bugella

    Mr. Bugella is a 46 year-old CMV driver in the State of Wisconsin. 
He has a history of complex partial and generalized seizures. He has 
remained seizure free for 11 years. He takes anti-seizure medication 
with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for 11 years. If 
granted the exemption, he would like to drive bucket trucks and Derrick 
diggers. His physician states he is extremely confident Mr. Bugella can 
operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

Eric Hilmer

    Ms. Hilmer is a 36 year-old Class D driver in the State of 
Wisconsin. He has a history of generalized seizure disorder as a child. 
His last seizure in October 2007, following a closed head injury and at 
that time, he was not taking anti-seizure medication Prior to that 
event, his last seizure had been at age 17. He takes anti-seizure 
medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for 5 
years. If granted the exemption, she would like to drive commercial 
motor vehicles. His physician is supportive of Mr. Hilmer being granted 
an exemption.

Tye Dale Moore

    Mr. Moore is a 46 year-old driver in the State of Indiana. He has a 
diagnosis of seizure disorder and has remained

[[Page 3081]]

seizure free for more than 20 years. He takes anti-seizure medication 
with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for 18 years. If 
granted the exemption, he would like to drive tractor trailers in 
interstate commerce. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Moore 
receiving an exemption.

Michael C. Ranalli

    Mr. Ranalli is a 27 year-old Class CM driver in the State of 
Pennsylvania. He has a diagnosis of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. His 
last seizure was in 2006. He has remained seizure free for over 6 
years. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same for 6 years. If granted the exemption, he would like 
to drive a Class A International Material Handler bucket truck, a 
single axle with a gross weight of 22,000 pounds. His physician states 
he is supportive of Mr. Ranalli being granted an exemption.

Robert Spencer

    Mr. Spencer is a 30 year-old Class E driver in the State of 
Florida. He has a diagnosis of seizure disorder and his last seizure 
was in February 2009. He has remained seizure free for over 3 years. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for over 3years. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a delivery van under 26,000 pounds. His physician is supportive 
of Mr. Spencer being granted an exemption.

Brian J. Wiggins

    Mr. Wiggins is a 52 year-old CMV driver in the State of Idaho.. He 
has a diagnosis of seizure disorder and his last seizure was in 1996. 
This seizure was the result of his physician taking him off of his 
anti-seizure medication. He has remained seizure free for 16 years. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for 16 years. He is a diesel mechanic and, if granted the 
exemption, would be driving Class 6, 7, and 8 trucks for diagnosis and 
repair purposes. His physician is supportive of Mr. Wiggins being 
granted an exemption.

Timothy M. Zarahtka

    Mr. Zarahtka is a 37 year-old Class D driver in the State of 
Minnesota. He suffered a penetrating head injury in 1993 and developed 
a seizure disorder following the injury. He was taking anti-seizure 
medications with good control until his treating physician changed his 
medication to a generic in 2008. His last seizure was in August 2008 
and his medication was changed. He has remained seizure-free for 4 
years. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same for 4 years. If granted the exemption, he would like 
to drive a single axle dump truck. His physician states he is 
supportive of Mr. Zarhatka being granted 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.

    Issued on: January 10, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-00712 Filed 1-11-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE P



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