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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
15 August 2018

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 158 (Wednesday, August 15, 2018)]
[Pages 40631-40632]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-17607]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0060]

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 30 individuals from the 
hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate 
commerce. The exemptions enable these hard of hearing and deaf 
individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

DATES: The exemptions were applicable on June 30, 2018. The exemptions 
expire on June 30, 2020.

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 from 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.


I. 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., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    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.

II. Background

    On May 29, 2018 FMCSA published a notice announcing receipt of 
applications from 30 individuals requesting an exemption from the 
hearing requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) to operate a CMV in 
interstate commerce and requested comments from the public (83 FR 
24552). The public comment period ended on June 28, 2018, and one 
comment was received.
    FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and 
determined that granting 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 391.41(b)(11).
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding hearing 
found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) states 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

[[Page 40632]]

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) 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, 

III. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received one comment in this proceeding. Vicky Johnson, of 
the Minnesota Department of Safety wrote that the Minnesota Department 
of Safety has no objections to Gary T. Nagel obtaining a hearing 

Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) 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.
    The Agency's decision regarding these exemption applications is 
based on current medical information and literature, and the 2008 
Evidence Report, ``Executive Summary on Hearing, Vestibular Function 
and Commercial Motor Driving Safety.'' The evidence report reached two 
conclusions regarding the matter of hearing loss and CMV driver safety: 
(1) No studies that examined the relationship between hearing loss and 
crash risk exclusively among CMV drivers were identified; and (2) 
evidence from studies of the private driver's license holder population 
does not support the contention that individuals with hearing 
impairment are at an increased risk for a crash. In addition, the 
Agency reviewed each applicant's driving record found in the Commercial 
Driver's License Information System (CDLIS), for commercial driver's 
license (CDL) holders, and inspections recorded in the Motor Carrier 
Management Information System (MCMIS). For non-CDL holders, the Agency 
reviewed the driving records from the State Driver's Licensing Agency 
(SDLA). Each applicant's record demonstrated a safe driving history. 
Based on an individual assessment of each applicant that focused on 
whether an equal or greater level of safety is likely to be achieved by 
permitting each of these drivers to drive in interstate commerce as 
opposed to restricting him or her to driving in intrastate commerce, 
the Agency believes the drivers granted this exemption have 
demonstrated that they do not pose a risk to public safety.
    Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these 
applicants from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) is likely 
to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the 

IV. Conditions and Requirements

    The terms and conditions of the exemption are provided to the 
applicants in the exemption document and includes the following: (1) 
Each driver must report any crashes or accidents as defined in 49 CFR 
390.5; (2) each driver must report all citations and convictions for 
disqualifying offenses under 49 CFR part 383 and 49 CFR 391 to FMCSA; 
and (3) each driver is prohibited from operating a motorcoach or bus 
with passengers in interstate commerce. The driver must also have a 
copy of the exemption when driving, for presentation to a duly 
authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement official. In addition, 
the exemption does not exempt the individual from meeting the 
applicable CDL testing requirements.

V. Preemption

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with this exemption with 
respect to a person operating under the exemption.

VI. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 30 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts the following drivers from the hearing standard, 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(11), subject to the requirements cited above:

Alan M. Bridgeford (NV)
Mataio Brown (MS)
Leroy Carter (OH)
Robert M. Cates (NM)
Rocky R. Chin (WA)
Ralph E. Craig (IL)
Cesar DeLeon (TX)
Brody DiPasquale (MD)
Edward J. Duhon (AL)
Lyle Eash (OH)
Richard R. Fisher (PA)
Kinberly I. Foss (CA)
Bradley Ledford (TN)
Dustin McFadden (TX)
Francisco M. Mendoza (CA)
Jack W. Mitchell (TX)
Eugene Mostepan (CA)
Steven Moorehead (OH)
Gary T. Nagel (MN)
Marcel Paul (WA)
Dexter E. Perez (WI)
Connie Ralston (GA)
Noble D. Reed (TX)
Kurt Sanders (VA)
David L. Schibilla (IL)
Pamela Singleton (TX)
Robert W. Slate (NM)
Willine D. Smith (GA)
Michael R. Tayman (ME)
Jason R. Winemiller (IL)

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315, each exemption will be valid 
for two years from the effective date 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 exemption; (2) the 
exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained 
prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not 
be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 

    Issued on: August 9, 2018
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2018-17607 Filed 8-14-18; 8:45 am]

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