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Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

Larry W. Minor
Federal Highway Administration
February 25, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 37 (Monday, February 25, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12809-12811]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04312]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0332]


Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

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

ACTION: Notice of applications for exemptions; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that 9 individuals have applied for a medical 
exemption from the hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). In accordance with the statutory 
requirements concerning applications for exemptions, FMCSA requests 
public comments on these requests. The statute and implementing 
regulations concerning exemptions require that exemptions must provide 
an equivalent or greater level of safety than if they were not granted. 
If the Agency determines the exemptions would satisfy the statutory 
requirements and decides to grant theses requests after reviewing the 
public comments submitted in response to this notice, the exemptions 
would enable these 9 individuals to operate CMVs in interstate 
commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 27, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0332] using any of the 
following methods:

[[Page 12810]]

     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., 
ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket numbers for this notice. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below 
for further information.
    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., ET, 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 DOT's Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in 
the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit 
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief Medical 
Programs, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, 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., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has authority to 
grant exemptions from many of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), as amended by 
Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA- 21) (Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 107, 401). FMCSA 
has published in 49 CFR part 381, subpart C final rules implementing 
the statutory changes in its exemption procedures made by section 4007, 
69 FR 51589 (August 20, 2004).\1\ Under the rules in part 381, subpart 
C, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal 
Register. The Agency must provide the public with an opportunity to 
inspect the information relevant to the application, including any 
safety analyses that have been conducted and any research reports, 
technical papers and other publications referenced in the application. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity to submit public comment on 
the applications for exemption.
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    \1\ This action adopted as final rules the interim final rules 
issued by FMCSA's predecessor in 1998 (63 FR 67600 (Dec. 8, 2008)), 
and adopted by FMCSA in 2001 (66 FR 49867 (Oct. 1, 2001)).
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    The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and 
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level 
of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be 
achieved without the exemption. The decision of the Agency must be 
published in the Federal Register. If the Agency denies the request, it 
must state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the 
exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons 
receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from 
which an exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the 
effective period of the exemption (up to 2 years) and explain the terms 
and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed.
    The current provisions of the FMCSRs concerning hearing state 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.

    49 CFR 391.41(b)(11). This standard was adopted in 1970, with a 
revision 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).
    FMCSA also issues instructions for completing the medical 
examination report and includes advisory criteria on the report itself 
to provide guidance for medical examiners in applying the hearing 
standard. See 49 CFR 391.43(f). The current advisory criteria for the 
hearing standard include a reference to a report entitled ``Hearing 
Disorders and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers'' prepared for the 
Federal Highway Administration, FMCSA's predecessor, in 1993.\2\
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    \2\ This report is available on the FMCSA web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/publications/medreport_archives.htm.
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FMCSA Requests Comments on the Exemption Applications

    FMCSA requests comments from all interested parties on whether a 
driver who cannot meet the hearing standard should be permitted to 
operate a CMV in interstate commerce. Further, the Agency asks for 
comments on whether a driver who cannot meet the hearing standard 
should be limited to operating only certain types of vehicles in 
interstate commerce, for example, vehicles without air brakes. The 
statute and implementing regulations concerning exemptions require that 
the Agency request public comments on all applications for exemptions. 
The Agency is also required to make a determination that an exemption 
would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption 
before granting any such requests. 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1). See also 49 
CFR 381.305(a).

Information on Individual Applicants

Mark Cole

    Mr. Cole holds a driver's license from the state of Ohio. He would 
like to drive tractor trailer trucks in interstate commerce, if he is 
granted an exemption.

Nelson De Leon

    Mr. De Leon holds a CDL from the state of Florida. He has been 
driving in intrastate commerce for 17 years and would like to drive a 
CMV in interstate commerce, if he is granted an exemption.

William Wallace Larson

    Mr. Larson holds a class A Commercial driver's license (CDL) from 
the state of North Carolina. He has been

[[Page 12811]]

driving a dump truck in intrastate commerce for 20 years and recently 
lost his hearing. He would like to continue to drive dump trucks if 
granted an exemption.

Bryan Lewis

    Mr. Lewis holds a driver's license from the District of Columbia 
(DC). He would like to drive rental box trucks in interstate commerce, 
if granted an exemption.

Donald Lynch

    Mr. Lynch holds a driver's license from the state of Florida. He 
would like to drive tractor trailer trucks in interstate commerce, if 
he is granted an exemption.

Zachary Rietz

    Mr. Reitz holds a driver's license from the state of Texas. He has 
been driving straight trucks and vans locally for a trucking company. 
He would like to obtain a Class A CDL license and drive tractor 
trailers in interstate commerce if granted an exemption.

Benton Scott

    Mr. Scott holds a Class A CDL license from the state of 
Mississippi. He has driven over the road tractor trailers for 34 years 
until recently when he was unable to pass the hearing requirement for 
his DOT physical. He would like to resume driving tractor trailer 
trucks in interstate commerce, if granted an exemption.

 Bryon Smith

    Mr. Smith holds a driver's license from the state of Louisiana. He 
would like to drive tractor trailer trucks in interstate commerce, if 
he is granted an exemption.

Steve Queen

    Mr. Queen holds a Class A license from the state of Florida. He has 
been driving a CMV in interstate commerce until recently when he failed 
to pass the hearing test. He would like to continue to drive tractor 
trailer trucks in interstate commerce, if he is granted an exemption.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment from all interested persons on the exemption 
petitions described in this notice. The Agency will consider all 
comments received before the close of business March 27, 2013. Comments 
will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed 
under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency will file 
comments received after the comment closing date in the public docket, 
and will consider them to the extent practicable. In addition to late 
comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, 
relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing 
date. Interested persons should monitor the public docket for new 
material.

    Issued on: February 4, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-04312 Filed 2-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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