[Federal Register: February 14, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 29)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket Nos. FMCSA-2000-7363, FMCSA-2000-7918]
Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of renewal of exemption; request for comments.
SUMMARY: This notice publishes the FMCSA decision to renew the
exemptions from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations for 17 individuals. The FMCSA has statutory
authority to exempt individuals from vision standards if the exemptions
granted will not compromise safety. The agency has concluded that
granting these exemptions will provide a level of safety that will be
equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety maintained without
the exemptions for these commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
DATES: This decision is effective March 7, 2005. Comments from
interested persons should be submitted by March 16, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Numbers
FMCSA-2000-7363 and FMCSA-2000-7918 by any of the following methods:
- Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for
submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401,
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting
Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and
docket numbers for this notice. For detailed instructions on submitting
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the
Public Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section
of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted
without change to , including any personal
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under
Docket: For access to the dockets to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room PL-
401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal Holidays.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maggi Gunnels, Office of Bus and Truck
Standards and Operations, (202) 366-2987, FMCSA, Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
Public Participation: The DMS is available 24 hours each day, 365
days each year. You can get electronic submission and retrieval help
guidelines under the "help" section of the DMS Web site. If you want
us to notify you 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 is able to search the electronic form of all
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the
Department of Transportation's complete Privacy Act Statement in the
Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70;
Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.
Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may renew an
exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which
applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce, for a two 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 procedures for requesting an
exemption (including renewals) are set out in 49 CFR part 381. This
notice addresses 17 individuals who have requested renewal of their
exemptions in a timely manner. The FMCSA has evaluated these 17
applications for renewal on their merits and decided to extend each
exemption for a renewable two year period. They are:
Henry Ammons, Jr., Larry N. Arrington, Robert D. Bonner, David S.
Carman, Cedric E. Foster, Glen T. Garrabrant, John R. Hughes, Alan L.
Johnston, Luther A. McKinney, Carl A. Michel, Sr., Dennis I. Nelson,
Rance A. Powell, Shannon E. Rasmussen, James R. Rieck, Garfield A.
Smith, Frederick E. St. John, Henry L. Walker.
These exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions:
(1) That each individual have a physical exam every year (a) by an
ophthalmologist or optometrist who attests that the vision in the
better eye continues to meet the standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), and
(b) by a medical examiner who attests that the individual is otherwise
physically qualified under 49 CFR 391.41; (2) 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 (3)
that each individual provide a copy of the annual medical certification
to the employer for retention in the driver's qualification file and
retain a copy of the certification on his/her person while driving for
presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement
official. Each exemption will be valid for two years unless rescinded
earlier by the FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if: (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 before it was granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption
would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C.
31315 and 31136(e).
Basis for Renewing Exemptions
Under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), an exemption may be granted for no
longer than two years from its approval date and may be renewed upon
application for additional two year periods. In accordance with 49
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), each of the 17 applicants has satisfied the
entry conditions for obtaining an exemption from the vision
requirements (65 FR 45817, 65 FR 77066, 68 FR 10300, 65 FR 66286, 66 FR
13825). Each of these 17 applicants has requested timely renewal of the
exemption and has submitted evidence showing that the vision in the
better eye continues to meet the standard specified at 49 CFR
391.41(b)(10) and that the vision impairment is stable. In addition, a
review of each record of safety while driving with the respective
vision deficiencies over the past two years indicates each applicant
continues to meet the vision exemption standards. These factors provide
an adequate basis for predicting each driver's ability to continue to
drive safely in interstate commerce. Therefore, the FMCSA concludes
that extending the exemption for each renewal applicant for a period of
two years is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing
without the exemption.
The FMCSA will review comments received at any time concerning a
particular driver's safety record and determine if the continuation of
the exemption is consistent with the requirements at 49 U.S.C. 31315
and 31136(e). However, the FMCSA requests that interested parties with
specific data concerning the safety records of these drivers submit
comments by March 16, 2005.
In the past the FMCSA has received comments from Advocates for
Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) expressing continued opposition to
the FMCSA's procedures for renewing exemptions from the vision
requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). Specifically, Advocates objects to
the agency's extension of the exemptions without any opportunity for
public comment prior to the decision to renew, and reliance on a
summary statement of evidence to make its decision to extend the
exemption of each driver.
The issues raised by Advocates were addressed at length in 69 FR
51346 (August 18, 2004). The FMCSA continues to find its exemption
process appropriate to the statutory and regulatory requirements.
Issued on: February 7, 2005.
Rose A. McMurray,
Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 05-2758 Filed 2-11-05; 8:45 am]