[Federal Register: August 18, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 159)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket Nos. FMCSA-99-5748, FMCSA-99-6480, FMCSA-2001-11426, FMCSA-2002-11714, FMCSA-2002-12294]
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 26 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 September 9, 2004. Comments from
interested persons should be submitted by September 17, 2004.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT DMS Docket Numbers
FMCSA-99-5748, FMCSA-99-6480, FMCSA-2001-11426, FMCSA-2002-11714, and
FMCSA-2002-12294 by any of the following methods:
Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
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 comments.
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 http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under Regulatory Notices.
Docket: For access to the docket 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: Ms. Teresa Doggett, Office of Bus and
Truck Standards and Operations, (202) 366-2990, FMCSA, Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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
Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all
comments 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 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 procedures for requesting an
exemption (including renewals) are set out in 49 CFR Part 381. This
notice addresses 26 individuals who have requested renewal of their
exemptions in a timely manner. The FMCSA has evaluated these 26
applications for renewal on their merits and decided to extend each
exemption for a renewable 2-year period.
Ronald M. Aure, William J. Bell, Frank R. Berritto, Robert B.
Brewer, Jack D. Clodfelter, James W. Collins, Tommy J. Cross, Jr.,
Daniel K. Davis, III, Timothy J. Droeger, Robert A. Fogg, Dan M.
Francis, Jack L. Henson, Gary T. Hicks, Oskia D. Johnson, Walter R.
Morris, Richard W. O'Neill, Larry A. Priewe, Gary L. Reveal, Billy L.
Riddle, Randolph L. Rosewicz, Robert L. Savage, Kenneth D. Sisk,
Patrick D. Talley, John C. Vantaggi, Loren R. Walker,Timothy J. Wilson.
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 2 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 2 years from its approval date and may be renewed upon
application for additional 2-year periods. In accordance with 49 U.S.C.
31315 and 31136(e), each of the 26 applicants has satisfied the entry
conditions for obtaining an exemption from the vision requirements (64
FR 40404, 64 FR 66962, 67 FR 10475, 67 FR 17102, 64 FR 68195, 65 FR
20251, 67 FR 38311, 67 FR 10471, 67 FR 19798, 67 FR 15662, 67 FR 37907,
67 FR 46016, 67 FR 57267). Each of these 26 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 2 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 2 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 September 17, 2004.
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 66 FR 17994 (April 4, 2001) and are repeated below for the
The FMCSA believes that the requirements for a renewal of an
exemption under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) can be satisfied by
initially granting the renewal and then requesting and evaluating, if
needed, subsequently comments submitted by interested parties. As
indicated above, the agency previously published notices
of final disposition announcing its decision to exempt these 26
individuals from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). That
final decision to grant exemptions to each of these individuals was
based on the merits of each case and only after careful consideration
of the comments received to its notices of applications. Those notices
of applications stated in detail the qualifications, experience, and
medical condition of each applicant for an exemption from the vision
requirements. That information is available by consulting the above
cited Federal Register publications.
Each of these 26 individuals identified in today's publication has
successfully driven with an exception from the vision requirements for
the past 2 years. Each driver has received physical examinations during
the past 2-year period, in accordance with the program requirements.
Either an ophthalmologist or optometrist has attested that each
continued to meet the standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10) in the better
eye. Upon filing a renewal application, each of the 26 applicants has
presented proof of continued qualification. Their vision impairment is
stable. The driving record of all 26 renewal applicants continues to
highlight their safe driving. These individuals have, and are
continuing to, achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or
greater than, the level that would be achieved absent the exemption.
Nonetheless, interested parties or organizations possessing
information that would otherwise show that any, or all of these
drivers, are not currently achieving the statutory level of safety
should immediately notify the FMCSA. The FMCSA will evaluate any
adverse evidence submitted and, if safety is being compromised or if
continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals
and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA will take
immediate steps to revoke the exemption of a driver.
The FMCSA continues to find its exemption process appropriate to
the statutory and regulatory requirements.
Issued on: August 12, 2004.
Rose A. McMurray,
Associate Administrator, Policy and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 04-18900 Filed 8-17-04; 8:45 am]