[Federal Register: April 13, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 71)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket Nos. FMCSA-02-12423, FMCSA-02-12844, FMCSA-04-19477, 04-17984]
Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Renewals; Vision
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition.
SUMMARY: FMCSA previously announced its decision to renew the
exemptions from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations for 11 individuals. FMCSA has statutory authority to
exempt individuals from the vision requirement if the exemptions
granted will not compromise safety. The Agency has reviewed the
comments submitted in response to the previous announcement and
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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Chief, Physical
Qualifications Division, (202) 366-4001, email@example.com, FMCSA,
Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Room 8301,
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
You may see all the comments online through the Document Management
System (DMS) at http://dmses.dot.gov.
Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, 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. The comment
period ended on March 8, 2007.
Discussion of Comments
FMCSA received three comments in these proceedings. The comments
were considered and discussed below.
Ms. Sachau believes that the approval or renewal of vision
exemptions make the roads much more dangerous.
A review of each record for safety while driving with the
respective vision deficiencies over the past two years indicates each
applicant continues to meet the vision exemption standards. To evaluate
the effect of these exemptions on safety, 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 [[Page 18726]] standard, 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
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) expressed
opposition to FMCSA's policy to grant exemptions from the FMCSR,
including the driver qualification standards. Specifically, Advocates:
(1) Objects to the manner in which 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. 31136(e) and 31315); and finally (4) suggests
that a 1999 Supreme Court decision affects the legal validity of vision
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). We will not
address these points again here, but refer interested parties to those
Ms. Valerie L. Kaune is in support of the Federal vision exemption
program. She believes that it does not pose a danger to our roads and
is the livelihood of many drivers.
The Agency has not received any adverse evidence on any of these
drivers that indicates that safety is being compromised. Based upon its
evaluation of the 11 renewal applications, FMCSA renews the Federal
vision exemptions for Roger C. Carson, Charles R. O'Connell, William T.
Cummins, Dennis R. O'Dell, Jr., Scott D. Goalder, Harold D. Jones,
Lester G. Kelly, III, Jerry W. Parker, Virgil A. Potts, Henry A.
Shelton and Ronald A. Stevens.
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each renewal
exemption will be valid for 2 years unless revoked earlier by 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. 31136 and 31315.
Issued on: April 6, 2007.
Larry W. Minor,
Acting, Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. E7-6997 Filed 4-12-07; 8:45 am]
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