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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes Mellitus

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes Mellitus

Larry W. Minor
Federal Highway Administration
February 25, 2013

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 37 (Monday, February 25, 2013)]
[Pages 12821-12822]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04190]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0350]

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes 

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 16 individuals from its 
rule prohibiting persons with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) 
from operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. 
The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate CMVs in 
interstate commerce.

DATES: The exemptions are effective February 25, 2013. The exemptions 
expire on February 25, 2015.

Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Room 
W64-224, 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.


Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at: http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and/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.
    Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of DOT's 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, or other 
entity). You may review DOT's Privacy Act Statement for the Federal 
Docket Management System (FDMS) published in the Federal Register on 
December 29, 2010 (75 FR 82132), or you may visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-12-29/pdf/2010-32876.pdf.


    On January 9, 2013, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of Federal 
diabetes exemption applications from 16 individuals and requested 
comments from the public (78 FR 1923). The public comment period closed 
on February 8, 2013, and no comments were received.
    FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of the 16 applicants and 
determined that granting the exemptions to these individuals would 
achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that 
would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 

Diabetes Mellitus and Driving Experience of the Applicants

    The Agency established the current requirement for diabetes in 1970 
because several risk studies indicated that drivers with diabetes had a 
higher rate of crash involvement than the general population. The 
diabetes rule provides that ``A person is physically qualified to drive 
a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no established medical 
history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring 
insulin for control'' (49 CFR 391.41(b)(3)).
    FMCSA established its diabetes exemption program, based on the 
Agency's July 2000 study entitled ``A Report to Congress on the 
Feasibility of a Program to Qualify Individuals with Insulin-Treated 
Diabetes Mellitus to Operate in Interstate Commerce as Directed by the 
Transportation Act for the 21st Century.'' The report concluded that a 
safe and practicable protocol to allow some drivers with ITDM to 
operate CMVs is feasible. The September 3, 2003 (68 FR 52441), Federal 
Register notice in conjunction with the November 8, 2005 (70 FR 67777), 
Federal Register notice provides the current protocol for allowing such 
drivers to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
    These 16 applicants have had ITDM over a range of 1 to 23 years. 
These applicants report no severe hypoglycemic reactions resulting in 
loss of consciousness or seizure, requiring the assistance of another 
person, or resulting in impaired cognitive function that occurred 
without warning symptoms, in the past 12 months and no recurrent (2 or 
more) severe hypoglycemic episodes in the past 5 years. In each case, 
an endocrinologist verified that the driver has demonstrated a 
willingness to properly monitor and manage his/her diabetes mellitus, 
received education related to diabetes management, and is on a stable 
insulin regimen. These drivers report no other disqualifying 
conditions, including diabetes-related complications. Each meets the 
vision requirement at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10).
    The qualifications and medical condition of each applicant were 
stated and discussed in detail in the January 9, 2013 Federal Register 
notice and they will not be repeated in this notice.

Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received one comment in this proceeding. Mark Sokolow stated 
he is in favor of all exemptions.

Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the diabetes requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) if the exemption 
is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than 
would be achieved without the exemption. The exemption allows the 
applicants to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
    To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, FMCSA 
considered medical reports about the applicants' ITDM and vision, and 
reviewed the treating endocrinologists' medical opinion related to the 
ability of the driver to safely operate a CMV while using insulin.
    Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these 
applicants from the diabetes requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) is 
likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the 

Conditions and Requirements

    The terms and conditions of the exemption will be provided to the 
applicants in the exemption document and they include the following: 
(1) That each individual submit a quarterly

[[Page 12822]]

monitoring checklist completed by the treating endocrinologist as well 
as an annual checklist with a comprehensive medical evaluation; (2) 
that each individual reports within 2 business days of occurrence, all 
episodes of severe hypoglycemia, significant complications, or 
inability to manage diabetes; also, any involvement in an accident or 
any other adverse event in a CMV or personal vehicle, whether or not it 
is related to an episode of hypoglycemia; (3) that each individual 
provide a copy of the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's report to the 
medical examiner at the time of the annual medical examination; and (4) 
that each individual provide a copy of the annual medical certification 
to the employer for retention in the driver's qualification file, or 
keep a copy in his/her driver's qualification file if he/she is self-
employed. The driver must also have a copy of the certification when 
driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local 
enforcement official.


    Based upon its evaluation of the 16 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts Shawn J. Ball (ID), Buck H. Bowers (OH), Jeffrey S. Bublitz 
(WI), Ira S. Chamberlain (ME), Victor W. Dannenbrink (IA), James K. 
Dowden (MN), Myron P. Egbert (UT), Michael T. Evans (OH), Stephen P. 
Honen (OH), Charles E. Johnston (MS), Steve A. Rau (ND), Jack M Sipich 
(IL), Roger N. Stauffer (MI), Tyrone Taylor (NC), Michael E. Westley 
(FL), and Travis M. Whitt (CA) from the ITDM requirement in 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(3), subject to the conditions listed under ``Conditions and 
Requirements'' above.
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 each exemption will 
be valid for two years 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 1/exemption; (2) the exemption has 
resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained before it was 
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. If the 
exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the 
person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at 
that time.

    Issued on: February 15, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-04190 Filed 2-22-13; 8:45 am]

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