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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
17 July 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 137 (Tuesday, July 17, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33292-33295]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-15261]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0014]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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 13 individuals 
for an exemption from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. If granted, the exemptions will 
enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without 
meeting the vision requirement in one eye.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 16, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0014 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
    online 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., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket number(s) 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., e.t., 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 online.
    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 http://www.regulations.gov, as described in 
the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed 
at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 
Medical Programs Division, (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 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions 
regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket 
Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the FMCSRs for a five-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 
five-year period. FMCSA grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a two-
year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver's medical 
certification.
    The 13 individuals listed in this notice have requested an 
exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). 
Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of each 
applicant to determine whether granting an exemption will achieve the 
required level of safety mandated by statute.
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding vision 
found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) states that a person is physically 
qualified to drive a CMV if that person has distant visual acuity of at 
least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual 
acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with 
corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) 
in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at 
least 70[deg] in the horizontal

[[Page 33293]]

Meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the colors of 
traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber.
    In July 1992, the Agency first published the criteria for the 
Vision Waiver Program, which listed the conditions and reporting 
standards that CMV drivers approved for participation would need to 
meet (Qualification of Drivers; Vision Waivers, 57 FR 31458, July 16, 
1992). The current Vision Exemption Program was established in 1998, 
following the enactment of amendments to the statutes governing 
exemptions made by Sec.  4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 
21st Century (TEA-21), Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 401 (June 9, 
1998). Vision exemptions are considered under the procedures 
established in 49 CFR part 381 subpart C, on a case-by-case basis upon 
application by CMV drivers who do not meet the vision standards of 49 
CFR 391.41(b)(10).
    To qualify for an exemption from the vision requirement, FMCSA 
requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he/she has driven 
a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for the past 
three years. Recent driving performance is especially important in 
evaluating future safety, according to several research studies 
designed to correlate past and future driving performance. Results of 
these studies support the principle that the best predictor of future 
performance by a driver is his/her past record of crashes and traffic 
violations. Copies of the studies may be found at Docket Number FMCSA-
1998-3637.
    FMCSA believes it can properly apply the principle to monocular 
drivers, because data from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) 
former waiver study program clearly demonstrated the driving 
performance of experienced monocular drivers in the program is better 
than that of all CMV drivers collectively (See 61 FR 13338, 13345, 
March 26, 1996). The fact that experienced monocular drivers 
demonstrated safe driving records in the waiver program supports a 
conclusion that other monocular drivers, meeting the same qualifying 
conditions as those required by the waiver program, are also likely to 
have adapted to their vision deficiency and will continue to operate 
safely.
    The first major research correlating past and future performance 
was done in England by Greenwood and Yule in 1920. Subsequent studies, 
building on that model, concluded that crash rates for the same 
individual exposed to certain risks for two different time periods vary 
only slightly (See Bates and Neyman, University of California 
Publications in Statistics, April 1952). Other studies demonstrated 
theories of predicting crash proneness from crash history coupled with 
other factors. These factors--such as age, sex, geographic location, 
mileage driven and conviction history--are used every day by insurance 
companies and motor vehicle bureaus to predict the probability of an 
individual experiencing future crashes (See Weber, Donald C., 
``Accident Rate Potential: An Application of Multiple Regression 
Analysis of a Poisson Process,'' Journal of American Statistical 
Association, June 1971). A 1964 California Driver Record Study prepared 
by the California Department of Motor Vehicles concluded that the best 
overall crash predictor for both concurrent and nonconcurrent events is 
the number of single convictions. This study used three consecutive 
years of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first two 
years with their experiences in the final year.

II. Qualifications of Applicants

Ronald D. Blakely

    Mr. Blakely, 63, has had amblyopia in his left eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/
50. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, ``I feel 
that Ron has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to 
operate a commercial vehicle since the amblyopia is longstanding, 
stable, and he is well adjusted.'' Mr. Blakely reported that he has 
driven straight trucks for 35 years, accumulating 1.58 million miles, 
and buses for one year, accumulating 25,000 miles. He holds a Class CB 
CDL from Michigan. His driving record for the last three years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Homero Dominguez

    Mr. Dominguez, 51, has a prosthetic left eye due to a traumatic 
incident in 2000. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in 
his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination in 2018, 
his optometrist stated, ``In my opinion Mr. Dominguez has sufficient 
vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial 
vehicle.'' Mr. Dominguez reported that he has driven tractor-trailer 
combinations for four years, accumulating 340,000 miles. He holds a 
Class A CDL from Texas. His driving record for the last three years 
shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Larry L. George

    Mr. George, 59, has had a corneal scar in his right eye since 
childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is counting fingers, and 
in his left eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2018, his 
ophthalmologist stated, ``Mr. George's vision is sufficient to drive a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. George reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for two years, accumulating 100,000 miles, and tractor-trailer 
combinations for 30 years, accumulating 6 million miles. He holds an 
operator's license from Louisiana. His driving record for the last 
three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

Jason C. Hetrick

    Mr. Hetrick, 38, has complete loss of vision in his left eye due to 
a traumatic incident in 1987. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/
20, and in his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination 
in 2018, his optometrist stated, ``Based on my understanding of the 
visual requirements for commercial vehicle operation, Mr. Hetrick has 
sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Hetrick reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for 25 years, accumulating 381,250 miles, and tractor-trailer 
combinations for seven years, accumulating 3,500 miles. He holds an 
operator's license from Pennsylvania. His driving record for the last 
three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

Michael A. Hildebrand

    Mr. Hildebrand, 40, has had posterior staphyloma in his right eye 
since childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is count fingers, 
and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2018, his 
optometrist stated, ``In my medical opinion, Michael Hildebrand has 
sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Hildebrand reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for 12 years, accumulating 374,400 miles. He holds an 
operator's license from Pennsylvania. His driving record for the last 
three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

Junior M. Isenberg

    Mr. Isenberg, 63, has had amblyopia in his left eye since birth. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/
400. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, ``In my 
opinion, Junior Isenberg has sufficient vision to perform the

[[Page 33294]]

driving task to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Isenberg reported 
that he has driven straight trucks for 30 years, accumulating 1.5 
million miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Kentucky. His driving record 
for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

David G. Livingston

    Mr. Livingston, 55, has had amblyopia in his right eye since 
childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/200, and in his 
left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist 
stated, ``This is a second letter to express that it is my medical 
opinion that Mr. Livingston has sufficient vision in his left eye to 
perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Livingston reported that he has driven straight trucks for 18 
years, accumulating 360,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 
18 years, accumulating 360,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from 
Vermont. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes 
and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Joseph P. Markley

    Mr. Markley, 61, has had macular myelinated nerve fibers in his 
right eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is counting 
fingers, and in his left eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2018, 
his ophthalmologist stated, ``Mr. Markley has sufficient vision in left 
eye to perform the tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Markley reported that he has driven straight trucks for 39 years, 
accumulating 42,900 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 39 
years, accumulating 91,650 miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from 
Pennsylvania. His driving record for the last three years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Derek L. Redford

    Mr. Redford, 65, has an irregularly shaped pupil in his left eye 
due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his 
right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, counting fingers. Following an 
examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, ``I hereby certify that in 
my medical opinion the patient has sufficient vision to perform the 
driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Redford 
reported that he has driven straight trucks for ten years, accumulating 
500,000 miles. He holds an operator's license from Idaho. His driving 
record for the last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for 
moving violations in a CMV.

David Tavarez

    Mr. Tavarez, 49, has had amblyopia in his right eye since birth. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion, and in his left eye, 
20/20. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist stated, 
``Based upon the color vision testing,binocular [sic] field of vision 
tests and quality of vision in his left eye, it is my medical opinion 
that Mr. David Tavarez can adequately operate a commercial motor 
vehicle at this time.'' Mr. Tavarez reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for 21 years, accumulating 630,000 miles. He holds an 
operator's license from New Jersey. His driving record for the last 
three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

William B. Van Drielen

    Mr. Van Drielen, 56, has a macular scar in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident in 2012. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/
20, and in his left eye, 20/50. Following an examination in 2018, his 
optometrist stated, ``In my medical opinion, Mr. Vandrielen [sic] has 
sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Van Drielen reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for five years, accumulating 1 million miles, and 
tractor-trailer combinations for 36 years, accumulating 3.85 million 
miles. He holds a Class AM CDL from Nevada. His driving record for the 
last three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Willie R. White, Jr.

    Mr. White, 62, has had optic nerve damage in his left eye since 
2012. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 
light perception. Following an examination in 2018, his optometrist 
stated, ``In my medical opinion this patient has sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. White reported that he has driven straight trucks for ten years, 
accumulating 150,000 miles, and tractor-trailer combinations for 20 
years, accumulating two million miles. He holds a Class A CDL from 
Nevada. His driving record for the last three years shows no crashes 
and one conviction for a moving violation in a CMV; he exceeded the 
speed limit by 9 mph.

Curtis C. Williams

    Mr. Williams, 63, has a retinal detachment in his right eye due to 
a traumatic incident in 2010. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
hand motion, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 
2017, his optometrist stated, ``In my opinion Mr. Williams has 
sufficient vision to perform the daily task required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Williams reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for 26 years, accumulating 1.24 million miles, and tractor-
trailer combinations for 26 years, accumulating 1.24 million miles. He 
holds a Class A CDL from Missouri. His driving record for the last 
three years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations 
in a CMV.

III. Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions 
described in this notice. We will consider all comments and material 
received before the close of business on the closing date indicated in 
the dates section of the notice.

IV. 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-2018-0014 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 materials received during the 
comment period. FMCSA may issue a final determination at any time after 
the close of the comment period.

V. Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this 
preamble, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert 
the docket number FMCSA-2018-0014 and click ``Search.''

[[Page 33295]]

Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' and you will find all documents and 
comments related to this notice.

    Issued on: July 12, 2018.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2018-15261 Filed 7-16-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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