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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
November 13, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 13, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68144-68146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27109]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0109]


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 11 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 limited 
2-year exemptions would enable these individuals to operate CMVs in 
interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 13, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-

[[Page 68145]]

2013-0109 using any of the following methods:
     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 January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316; January 17, 2008). 
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 11 
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 CMV.
    FMCSA provides medical advisory criteria for use by medical 
examiners in determining whether drivers with certain medical 
conditions should be certified to operate CMVs 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.

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-2013-0109'' 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 8\1/2\ 
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 material received during the 
comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your 
comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of 
the comment period.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this 
preamble, To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number 
``FMCSA-2013-0109'' and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket 
Folder'' and you will find all documents and comments related to the 
proposed rulemaking.

Summary of Applications

Jeffrey Ballweg

    Mr. Ballweg is a 51 year-old driver in Wisconsin. He has a history 
of epilepsy and has been seizure free since June of 2006. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same since 2006. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a 
CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Ballweg receiving an 
exemption.

[[Page 68146]]

Dean Bretey

    Mr. Bretey is a 63 year-old driver in Wisconsin. He has a history 
of seizures and has remained seizure free for at least 10 years. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for 10 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a CMV. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Bretey receiving an 
exemption.

Montie Bullis

    Mr. Bullis is a 56 year-old driver in Oklahoma. He has a history of 
epilepsy and 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 continue to drive 
large trucks. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Bullis 
receiving an exemption.

Rick Cote

    Mr. Cote is a 55 year-old class A commercial driver's license 
holder in Oregon. He has a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure 
free for over 4 years. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage 
and frequency remaining the same for over 4 years. If granted the 
exemption, he would like to drive a commercial tractor. His physician 
states he is supportive of Mr. Cote receiving an exemption.

David Crowe

    Mr. Crowe is a 23 year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of 
epilepsy and has remained seizure free since October 2009. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a truck over 10,001 lbs. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. 
Crowe receiving an exemption.

Dwight Crownover

    Mr. Crownover is a 49 year-old driver in New York. He has a history 
of seizures and has remained seizure free for 29 years. He takes anti-
seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same 
since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a 
delivery truck. His physician states he is supportive of Mr. Crownover 
receiving an exemption.

Bryan Couture

    Mr. Couture is a 48 year-old class B commercial driver's license 
holder in Rhode Island. He has a history of seizures and has remained 
seizure free for over 9 years. He takes anti-seizure medication and his 
seizure medication was changed to a new medication this year. If 
granted the exemption, he would like to drive a dump truck. His 
physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Couture receiving an 
exemption.

John Johnson

    Mr. Johnson is a 35 year-old driver in Wisconsin. He has a history 
of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 2005. He takes anti-
seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for 
over 8 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. 
His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Johnson receiving an 
exemption.

Michael Schneider

    Mr. Schneider is a 27 year-old driver in Wisconsin. He has a 
history seizure and has remained seizure free since 2004. He does not 
take seizure medication and states that he has never taken seizure 
medication. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a heavy 
equipment truck. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. 
Schneider receiving an exemption.

Barry Von Gulner

    Mr. Von Gulner is a 49 year-old driver in Wisconsin. He has a 
history of a solitary seizure in 2008. He takes anti-seizure medication 
with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If 
granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician 
states that he is supportive of Mr. Von Gulner receiving an exemption.

John Welch

    Mr. Welch is a 27 year-old class B commercial driver's license 
holder in New Hampshire. He has a history of seizure and has remained 
seizure free since 2000. He has not taken seizure medication since 
2009. If granted the exemption, he would like to continue to drive a 
CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Welch receiving 
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: November 1, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-27109 Filed 11-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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