[Federal Register: April 1, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 62)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2005-20027]
Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition.
SUMMARY: The FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 28 individuals from
the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSRs). The exemptions will enable these individuals to qualify as
drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce
without meeting the vision standard prescribed in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10).
DATES: April 1, 2005.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Office of Bus and
Truck Standards and Operations, (202) 366-4001, 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.
You may see all the comments online through the Document Management
System (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov.
On January 14, 2005, the FMCSA published a notice of receipt of [[Page 16888]]
exemption applications from 29 individuals, and requested comments from
the public (70 FR 2701). The 29 individuals petitioned the FMCSA for
exemptions from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which
applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce. They are: Eddie
Alejandro, Eldred S. Boggs, David F. Breuer, James T. Butler, Roger K.
Cox, Richard S. Cummings, Joseph A. Dean, Donald P. Dodson, Jr.,
William H. Goss, Eric W. Gray, James K. Holmes, Daniel L. Jacobs, Jose
M. Limon-Alvarado, Robert S. Loveless, Jr., Eugene R. Lydick, John W.
Montgomery, Danny R. Pickelsimer, Zeljko Popovac, Juan Manuel M. Rosas,
Francis L. Savell, Richie J. Schwendy, David M. Stout, Artis Suitt,
Gregory E. Thompson, Kerry W. VanStory, Harry S. Warren, Carl L. Wells,
Prince E. Williams, and Keith L. Wraight.
Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an
exemption for a 2-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 2-year period.
Accordingly, the FMCSA has evaluated the 29 applications on their
merits and made a determination to grant exemptions to 28 of those
persons who applied for them. The comment period closed on February 14,
2005. One comment was received, and its contents were carefully
considered by the FMCSA in reaching the final decision to grant the
The FMCSA has not made a decision on the application of Keith L.
Wraight. Subsequent to the publication of the notice of applications
and request for comments on January 14, 2005 (70 FR 2701), the agency
received additional information from its check of his motor vehicle
record, and we are evaluating that information. A decision on this
application will be made in the future.
Vision and Driving Experience of the Applicants
The vision requirement in the FMCSRs provides:
A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor
vehicle 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 meridian in each eye, and the ability to
recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard
red, green, and amber (49 CFR 391.41(b)(10)).
Since 1992, the agency has undertaken studies to determine if this
vision standard should be amended. The final report from our medical
panel recommends changing the field of vision standard from 70[deg] to
120[deg], while leaving the visual acuity standard unchanged. (See
Frank C. Berson, M.D., Mark C. Kuperwaser, M.D., Lloyd Paul Aiello,
M.D., and James W. Rosenberg, M.D., "Visual Requirements and
Commercial Drivers," October 16, 1998, filed in the docket, FMCSA-98-
4334.) The panel's conclusion supports the agency's view that the
present visual acuity standard is reasonable and necessary as a general
standard to ensure highway safety. The FMCSA also recognizes that some
drivers do not meet the vision standard, but have adapted their driving
to accommodate their vision limitation and demonstrated their ability
to drive safely.
The 28 applicants fall into this category. They are unable to meet
the vision standard in one eye for various reasons, including
amblyopia, retinal and macular scars, and loss of an eye due to trauma.
In most cases, their eye conditions were not recently developed. All
but 12 of the applicants were either born with their vision impairments
or have had them since childhood. The 12 individuals who sustained
their vision conditions as adults have had them for periods ranging
from 13 to 46 years.
Although each applicant has one eye which does not meet the vision
standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), each has at least 20/40 corrected
vision in the other eye, and in a doctor's opinion has sufficient
vision to perform all the tasks necessary to operate a CMV. The
doctors' opinions are supported by the applicants' possession of valid
commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) or non-CDLs to operate CMVs. Before
issuing CDLs, States subject drivers to knowledge and performance tests
designed to evaluate their qualifications to operate a CMV. All these
applicants satisfied the testing standards for their State of
residence. By meeting State licensing requirements, the applicants
demonstrated their ability to operate a commercial vehicle, with their
limited vision, to the satisfaction of the State.
While possessing a valid CDL or non-CDL, these 28 drivers have been
authorized to drive a CMV in intrastate commerce, even though their
vision disqualifies them from driving in interstate commerce. They have
driven CMVs with their limited vision for careers ranging from 3 to 30
years. In the past 3 years, two of the drivers have had convictions for
traffic violations. One of these convictions was for speeding and one
was for "failure to obey traffic sign." None of the drivers was
involved in a crash.
The qualifications, experience, and medical condition of each
applicant were stated and discussed in detail in the January 14, 2005,
notice (70 FR 2701). Since there were no substantial docket comments on
the specific merits or qualifications of any applicant, we have not
repeated the individual profiles here. Our summary analysis of the
applicants is supported by the information published on January 14,
2005 (70 FR 2701).
Basis for Exemption Determination
Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA may grant an
exemption from the vision standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) if the
exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety
than would be achieved without the exemption. Without the exemption,
applicants will continue to be restricted to intrastate driving. With
the exemption, applicants can drive in interstate commerce. Thus, our
analysis focuses 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
To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, the FMCSA
considered not only the medical reports about the applicants' vision,
but also their driving records and experience with the vision
deficiency. To qualify for an exemption from the vision standard, the
FMCSA requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he or she
has driven a commercial vehicle safely with the vision deficiency for 3
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-98-3637.
We believe we can properly apply the principle to monocular
drivers, because data from a former FMCSA waiver study program clearly
demonstrates that the driving performance of experienced monocular
drivers in the program is better than that of all CMV drivers
collectively. (See 61 FR 13338 and 13345; March 26, 1996.) Because
experienced monocular drivers with [[Page 16889]] good driving records in the waiver program demonstrated their ability
to drive safely, this fact 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 3 consecutive years
of data, comparing the experiences of drivers in the first 2 years with
their experiences in the final year.
Applying principles from these studies to the past 3-year record of
the 28 applicants receiving an exemption, we note that the applicants
have had no crashes and only two traffic violations in the last 3
years. The applicants achieved this record of safety while driving with
their vision impairment, demonstrating the likelihood that they have
adapted their driving skills to accommodate their condition. As the
applicants' ample driving histories with their vision deficiencies are
good predictors of future performance, the FMCSA concludes their
ability to drive safely can be projected into the future.
We believe the applicants' intrastate driving experience and
history provide an adequate basis for predicting their ability to drive
safely in interstate commerce. Intrastate driving, like interstate
operations, involves substantial driving on highways on the interstate
system and on other roads built to interstate standards. Moreover,
driving in congested urban areas exposes the driver to more pedestrian
and vehicular traffic than exists on interstate highways. Faster
reaction to traffic and traffic signals is generally required because
distances between them are more compact. These conditions tax visual
capacity and driver response just as intensely as interstate driving
conditions. The veteran drivers in this proceeding have operated CMVs
safely under those conditions for at least 3 years, most for much
longer. Their experience and driving records lead us to believe each
applicant is capable of operating in interstate commerce as safely as
he or she has been performing in intrastate commerce. Consequently, the
FMCSA finds exempting these applicants from the vision standard in 49
CFR 391.41(b)(10) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that
existing without the exemption. For this reason, the agency is granting
the exemptions for the 2-year period allowed by 49 U.S.C. 31315 and
31136(e) to 28 of the 29 applicants listed in the notice of January 14,
2005 (70 FR 2701).
We recognize that the vision of an applicant may change and affect
his/her ability to operate a commercial vehicle as safely as in the
past. As a condition of the exemption, therefore, the FMCSA will impose
requirements on the 28 individuals consistent with the grandfathering
provisions applied to drivers who participated in the agency's vision
Those requirements are found at 49 CFR 391.64(b) and include the
following: (1) That each individual be physically examined 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, 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.
Discussion of Comments
The FMCSA received one comment in this proceeding. The comment was
considered and is discussed below.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) expresses
continued opposition to the FMCSA's policy to grant exemptions from the
FMCSRs, including the driver qualification standards. Specifically,
Advocates: (1) Objects to the manner in which the FMCSA presents driver
information to the public and makes safety determinations; (2) objects
to the agency's reliance on conclusions drawn from the vision waiver
program; (3) claims the agency has misinterpreted statutory language on
the granting of exemptions (49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e)); and finally
(4) suggests that a 1999 Supreme Court decision affects the legal
validity of vision exemptions.
The issues raised by Advocates were addressed at length in 64 FR
51568 (September 23, 1999), 64 FR 66962 (November 30, 1999), 64 FR
69586 (December 13, 1999), 65 FR 159 (January 3, 2000), 65 FR 57230
(September 21, 2000), and 66 FR 13825 (March 7, 2001). The FMCSA's
responses are restated below.
On the first issue regarding the manner in which the FMCSA presents
driver information to the public and makes safety determinations,
Advocates questions how various aspects of exemption application
information are verified. In particular, Advocates states that the
public is not advised about outside verification of each applicant's
miles driven, the number of years driving commercial vehicles, the type
of vehicle driven, and the most recent 3-year driving record. The
number of years driving commercial vehicles is not the precise
experience criterion used to determine an applicant's acceptability for
an exemption. That determination is made on the most recent 3 years'
experience before application. That experience and the type of vehicle
driven is verified by the applicant's employer.
The recent 3-year driving record is verified through the Commercial
Driver License Information System (CDLIS). This is another criterion
used to determine if an applicant is acceptable. Total miles driven is
not and never has been a criterion used to decide acceptability. It is,
therefore, not verified. Mileage is presented as an indication of
overall experience with CMVs.
Advocates states that the FMCSA needs to provide an accurate
mileage figure for the recent 3-year period. This mileage is allegedly
needed to determine whether an applicant's crashes and violations are
accumulated at low or high exposure in the 3 years preceding the
application. While this may be an interesting determination in [[Page 16890]] some contexts, it is not relevant to the determination of the driver's
acceptability. An applicant is acceptable relative to a driving record
if there are no crashes for which the driver was issued a citation nor
was a contributing factor. It is not relevant whether these types of
crashes occur at high or low exposure. If they are present, the driver
Advocates states that the FMCSA should require a minimum average
annual miles driven or total mileage in order to qualify for an
exemption. In making this statement, Advocates notes that mileage
driven by applicants in the Federal Register notice ranges from as
little as 37,000 miles over 17 years to over 3 million miles for two
applicants with 30 and 32 years' driving experience respectively. The
FMCSA believes defining a required minimum mileage for application
would enact a spurious screening standard not supported by the results
of the Vision Waiver Program. An examination of the data from the years
the program was in operation shows the annual mileage driven ranged
from as little as 1,000 miles to a maximum of 160,000 miles. The median
annual miles driven was about 40,000 with 25 percent of the waiver
holders usually driving less than 17,000 miles per year.
Although a minimum mileage standard is an inappropriate criterion,
FMCSA believes miles driven does have value in the context of program
evaluation. It is part of the basis for establishing whether a program
has achieved a ``level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater
than, the level of safety that would have been achieved'' absent from
exemption. The other part of the safety determination is the number of
crashes experienced by an exempt group where crashes and mileage are
related through a statistical model named Poisson regression. In this
model, the relationship is given as the number of crashes (nc) being
equal to a rate (r) times mileage (m) (nc=r x m). The rate in this
model is usually referred to as the crash rate per some convenient unit
of miles driven (1 million, for example). This rate is the basis
through which the safety level of a program is determined and miles
driven are an integral part of the determination. This framework,
however, does not suggest that there is a minimum level of mileage that
could be arbitrarily used for a screening decision.
Advocates states that the FMCSA should consider imposing a sliding
scale standard for drivers with little driving experience, holding
applicants with relatively low accumulations of mileage and years of
experience to a higher safety standard during the 3-year review period.
Advocates based this view on two factors: (1) Exposure is frequently
used as a means of determining safety, as when the FMCSA uses the
fatality rate as a measure of safety progress in truck-related crashes;
and (2) greater driving experience would mean the drivers have had more
time to adjust to driving with their vision deficiencies. The FMCSA
believes that imposing a sliding scale standard, like the minimum
mileage requirement discussed above, would enact a spurious screening
standard, based on data taken from the Vision Waiver Program which was
shown to have an acceptable level of safety.
Advocates states that, while the FMCSA provides some information on
the applicant's separate experience with combination tractor-trailers
and the straight trucks, the agency has not assessed the relative value
in terms of driving experience between driving these types of vehicle
configurations in predicting safety. This would suggest that there
should be separate experience specifications for each type of CMV and
that an exemption would be issued for a particular type of vehicle.
Relative to this, Advocates formerly pointed to research literature
concerned with the differences between the two types of trucks. This
literature, however, does not address the operation of the two types of
CMVs in relation to the visual conditions which are the focus of the
exemption program. The best evidence of possible disparities in the
operation of the CMV types is taken from the earlier Vision Waiver
Program. The data taken from the program show that those driving
straight trucks had a crash rate that was slightly higher than that of
the combination truck operators (2.15 crashes per million miles driven
versus 1.76). This difference was not statistically significant. As a
result, it appears that a consideration of vehicle type in the
application process is not necessary.
The same conclusion can be drawn in relation to Advocates'
statement concerned with driving routines. Advocates states that the
FMCSA has not made any attempt to distinguish between the kinds of
driving routine the applicants experienced based on the type of driving
they had done. To support the need to do this, they previously noted
that the agency distinguished between five types of drivers and driving
regimens in its May 2000 proposed rule on driver rest and sleep for
safe operations. This proposal was concerned with driver fatigue. There
is no evidence that there is a differential effect of fatigue on
drivers with the vision conditions that are the focus of exemptions.
Consequently, the FMCSA does not believe there is a need to issue
exemptions for specific types of driving routine.
Advocates is concerned with the FMCSA's use of a 3-year driving
record to screen drivers who apply for exemptions. They first claim
that it is misleading to report a driving record for the most recent 3-
year period in conjunction with drivers' self report of the total
number of years driving. This is misleading, they state, because the
addition of the unverified total years of driving gives the impression
of a longer period of safe driving. The FMCSA had no intention of
conveying this type of interpretation. Total years driving was
reported, as was mileage, to give an overall indication of experience.
For the purposes of screening, a recent 3-year driving record is the
critical focus relative to safe driving.
Advocates then argues that a 3-year record may not be sufficient to
guarantee a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than that
present in the absence of an exemption program. In support of this, it
points to the comment filed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
for the State of California relative to a driver from that State who
applied for an exemption (Mr. James N. Spencer at 65 FR 20245, April
14, 2000). The California DMV opposed the granting of an exemption to
this driver because of his crash involvement and citation record in
years 4 and 5 before applying for an exemption. The FMCSA finds
California's comment inconsistent with California's issuance of an
intrastate CDL on July 23, 1997, to the driver.
The FMCSA believes that using a 3-year driving record as a
screening procedure in the application process is adequate to ensure
the required level of safety. In John C. Anderson v. Federal Highway
Administration, No. 98-3739 (8th Cir. May 1, 2000), the United States
Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the agency's 3-year
requirement of driving with a vision impairment before being eligible
for an exemption. This screening period was used in the Vision Waiver
Program which was shown to have a level of safety that was better than
the national norm. Moreover, as Advocates correctly points out, not all
States maintain driving records for more than 3 years. Requiring some
drivers to submit 3-year records and others to submit ones for a longer
duration, as Advocates suggests, would be arbitrary and capricious.
In another comment, Advocates suggests that the agency is
sanitizing the [[Page 16891]] information in the driving record to justify granting vision
exemptions. Specific information provided on the crashes and violations
of applicants is a presentation of the facts as we know them and not
any attempt to downplay or explain away crashes and citations as
Advocates also comments that the opinions of ophthalmologists and
optometrists are not persuasive and should not be relied on by the
agency. The opinions of the vision specialists on whether a driver has
sufficient vision to perform the tasks associated with operating a CMV
are made only after a thorough vision examination including formal
field of vision testing to identify any medical condition which may
compromise the visual field such as glaucoma, stroke or brain tumor,
and not just based on a Snellen test. The FMCSA believes it can rely on
medical opinions regarding whether a driver's visual capacity is
sufficient to enable safe operations. The medical information is
combined with information on experience and driving records in the
agency's overall determination of whether exempting applicants from the
vision standard is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that
existing without the exemption.
In regard to Advocates' second issue regarding what inferences can
be drawn from the results of the waiver study program, Advocates
suggests that the agency cannot base the present proceedings on the
results generated by the waiver study program because a valid research
model was not used. In response to this concern, we note that the
validity of research designs is a quality with many dimensions which
cannot be accepted or dismissed in a blanket, simplistic statement.
Validity can be concerned with the measurements used, the manner in
which the study is performed (internal validity), or the application of
the results for a broader inference (external validity). The approach
used by the FMCSA for the assessment of risk is a valid design that has
been used in epidemiology for studies of occupational health. These
studies compare a treated or exposed group (such as the drivers who
hold waivers) to a control group that is large and represents outcomes
for the nation as a whole (e.g., national mortality rates or truck
crash rates). This design has been used to investigate risk relative to
the hazards of asbestos and benzene with regulatory decisions based on
While the design has been successfully used in critical risk areas,
its application has been challenged in adversarial proceedings. Most of
the criticism has focused on the data used in the models (measurement
validity). In these circumstances, it has been argued that exposure to
hazards is not always clearly measured because recordkeeping is not
accurate or complete. Criticism has also focused on the poor
measurement of outcomes (e.g. the occurrence of disease or vehicle
crashes). Threats to the validity of measurement were not a problem in
the waiver program's risk assessment. Exposure, for example, in the
assessment is manifested by participation in the waiver program (as in
an exposure to a medical treatment or an employment condition) and
through vehicle miles traveled (as exposure to risk). The measurement
of participation in the program had no error by virtue of the required
recordkeeping. Exposure to risk by vehicle miles traveled was measured
by self-report and could, of course, contain errors. However, since
reports were made on a monthly basis, it was not expected that the
reporting for these short periods would contain significant systematic
error over the life of the program.
The measurement of risk outcomes was determined through crash
occurrence. Crash occurrence was verified in multiple ways through
self-report (a program requirement), the Commercial Driver License
Information System (CDLIS), State driving records, and police crash
reports. As a result it is believed that the research approach used in
the waiver program did not suffer flaws relative to the validity of
Criticism of internal validity was addressed in a sensitivity
analysis. The original design proposed to use a sample of CMV operators
without vision deficiencies as a comparison group. While the design was
appealing, it had potential for flaws relative to internal validity.
Because the vision deficiencies studied were a fixed condition, the
drivers could not be randomly assigned to the waiver and comparison
groups as is done in clinical trials, for example. Moreover, a
comparison group could not be assembled from the general population of
CMV operators due to a lack of volunteers. Instead, the information
needed for comparison was taken from the General Estimates System
(GES). GES is an annual survey of police crash reports sponsored by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that is based on sound
statistical sampling principles. Estimates derived from the survey
(national crash rates) represent national crash rate norms for large
While the national norms in the GES data are effective for a
comparison at the national level, they raise questions in relation to
internal validity. When random assignment to the treatment and
comparison groups cannot be used, internal validity can be questioned.
The necessary approach to obtaining valid results, in this case, is to
thoroughly examine a study for bias and make adjustments as necessary.
To do this, additional information (e.g. demographic and operational
data) is needed for both the treatment and comparison groups to
determine if the samples are balanced. GES did not have these data, so
internal validity could be questioned because adjustments could not be
made. Under these circumstances, bias, if it existed, would remain
To address this question, the agency performed a sensitivity
analysis to assess the impact of possible hidden bias (Rosenbaum, P.R.
Observational Studies, New York, Springer-Verlag 1995). The analysis
examined outcomes under various levels of possible hidden bias and the
results showed that the comparison with GES crash rates is insensitive
to hidden bias. The results of this sensitivity analysis, filed in
docket number FMCSA-99-5578, provide evidence to support the internal
validity of the comparison to GES data.
The remaining facet of validity that is of concern for the waiver
program assessment involves its relevance in the regulatory setting
(external validity). The structure of these types of epidemiological
investigations provides a high level of external validity. Being able
to compare outcomes to a national norm places the focus in proper
perspective for regulatory matters. This, of course, is their strength
relative to the waiver program where the GES crash rates represent a
national safety norm.
Based on the various assessments, it is clear that the results of
the waiver program risk analysis are valid. The measurement of exposure
and risk outcomes was conducted with virtually no error. The external
validity is ensured because a national norm is the focus of comparison
and, based on the sensitivity analysis, the internal validity is
Although the foregoing discussion successfully addresses Advocates'
concerns about validity, there is another issue that was engaged to
complete the scrutiny of the waiver program risk assessment. A full
examination would consider all facets of how results are obtained. In
particular, obtaining valid results that point to a clear causal
connection between an action and an outcome rests on ruling out other
[[Page 16892]] influences on the outcome. While this appears to be largely
accomplished based on an examination of the various types of validity,
there remained an additional potential threat to the validity of the
results. Relative to this, it had been argued that the drivers in the
various waiver programs have lower crash rates because they were aware
of being monitored, and monitoring is a strong motivation to exercise
care. To address this possible threat, the agency conducted a follow-up
assessment after the waived drivers were given grandfather rights in
March 1996 and were no longer monitored. Conducted in June 1998, the
agency made an assessment of the drivers' crash experience for the
period from March to December 1996. The results, on file in docket
FMCSA-99-5578, showed that the drivers who had been in the program
continued to have a crash rate that was lower than the national norm.
In regard to their third issue, Advocates believes that the agency
misinterpreted the current law on exemptions by considering it slightly
more lenient than the previous law. Regardless of how one characterizes
the new exemption language, the FMCSA strictly adheres to the statutory
standard for granting an exemption. In short, we determine whether
granting the exemption is likely to achieve an equal or greater level
of safety than exists without the exemption.
Advocates' final point suggesting that the Supreme Court decision,
Albertsons, Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 119 S.Ct. 2162 (June 22, 1999) affects
the legal validity of vision exemptions is without support. Vision
exemptions are granted under FMCSA's statutory authority and standards,
which were not at issue in the case.
Based upon its evaluation of the 28 exemption applications, the
FMCSA exempts Eddie Alejandro, Eldred S. Boggs, David F. Breuer, James
T. Butler, Roger K. Cox, Richard S. Cummings, Joseph A. Dean, Donald P.
Dodson, Jr., William H. Goss, Eric W. Gray, James K. Holmes, Daniel L.
Jacobs, Jose M. Limon-Alvarado, Robert S. Loveless, Jr., Eugene R.
Lydick, John W. Montgomery, Danny R. Pickelsimer, Zeljko Popovac, Juan
Manuel M. Rosas, Francis L. Savell, Richie J. Schwendy, David M. Stout,
Artis Suitt, Gregory E. Thompson, Kerry W. VanStory, Harry S. Warren,
Carl L. Wells, and Prince E. Williams from the vision requirement in 49
CFR 391.41(b)(10), subject to the requirements cited above (49 CFR
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), each exemption
will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. The
exemption will be revoked 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. If the exemption is
still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply
to the FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time.
Issued on: March 28, 2005.
Rose A. McMurray,
Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 05-6476 Filed 3-31-05; 8:45 am]