[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 34 (Tuesday, February 23, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11044-11046]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03697]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0053]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and 
Seizure Disorders

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

ACTION: Notice of applications for exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from seven individuals 
for

[[Page 11045]]

an exemption from the prohibition in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) against persons with a clinical diagnosis of 
epilepsy or any other condition that is likely to cause a loss of 
consciousness or any loss of ability to control a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) to drive in interstate commerce. If granted, the 
exemptions would enable these individuals who have had one or more 
seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs in 
interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 25, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0053 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2020-0053. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Dockets Operations; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation'' portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 
Medical Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, [email protected], FMCSA, 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W64-224, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions 
regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Dockets 
Operations, (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation

A. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0053), indicate the specific section of 
this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for 
each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and 
material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only 
one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a 
mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of 
your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions 
regarding your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2020-0053. Click on the ``Comment Now!'' button and type 
your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether 
you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a 
third party and then submit.
    If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them 
in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period.

B. Viewing Documents and Comments

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2020-0053 and choose the document to review. If you do 
not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by 
visiting Dockets Operations in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the 
DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-
0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call 
(202) 366-9317 or (202) 366-9826 before visiting Dockets Operations.

C. 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 www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

II. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the FMCSRs for no longer than a 5-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 5-year period. FMCSA grants medical exemptions from the 
FMCSRs for a 2-year period to align with the maximum duration of a 
driver's medical certification.
    The seven individuals listed in this notice have requested an 
exemption from the epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(8). Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications 
of each applicant to determine whether granting the exemption will 
achieve the required level of safety mandated by statute.
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding epilepsy 
found in Sec.  391.41(b)(8) states that a person is physically 
qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no established medical 
history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which 
is likely to cause the loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to 
control a CMV.
    In addition to the regulations, FMCSA has published advisory 
criteria \1\ to assist medical examiners (MEs) in determining whether 
drivers with certain medical conditions are qualified to operate a CMV 
in interstate commerce.
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    \1\ These criteria may be found in APPENDIX A TO PART 391--
MEDICAL ADVISORY CRITERIA, section H. Epilepsy: Sec.  391.41(b)(8), 
paragraphs 3, 4, and 5, which is available on the internet at 
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2015-title49-vol5/pdf/CFR-2015-title49-vol5-part391-appA.pdf.
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    The criteria states that if an individual has had a sudden episode 
of a non-epileptic seizure or loss of consciousness of unknown cause 
that did not require anti-seizure medication, the decision whether that 
person's condition is likely to cause the loss of consciousness or loss 
of ability to control a CMV should be made on an individual basis by 
the ME in consultation with the treating physician. Before 
certification is considered, it is suggested that a 6-month waiting 
period elapse from the time of the episode. Following the waiting 
period, it is suggested that the individual have a complete 
neurological examination. If the results of the examination are 
negative and anti-seizure medication is not required, then the driver 
may be qualified.
    In those individual cases where a driver has had a seizure or an 
episode of loss of consciousness that resulted from a known medical 
condition (e.g., drug reaction, high temperature, acute infectious 
disease, dehydration, or acute metabolic disturbance), certification 
should be deferred until the driver has

[[Page 11046]]

recovered fully from that condition, has no existing residual 
complications, and is not taking anti-seizure medication.
    Drivers who have a history of epilepsy/seizures, off anti-seizure 
medication and seizure-free for 10 years, may be qualified to operate a 
CMV in interstate commerce. Interstate drivers with a history of a 
single unprovoked seizure may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate 
commerce if seizure-free and off anti-seizure medication for a 5-year 
period or more.
    As a result of MEs misinterpreting advisory criteria as regulation, 
numerous drivers have been prohibited from operating a CMV in 
interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more 
seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication, rather than an 
individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified ME based on 
the physical qualification standards and medical best practices.
    On January 15, 2013, FMCSA announced in a Notice of Final 
Disposition titled, ``Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; 
Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders,'' (78 FR 3069), its decision to grant 
requests from 22 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory 
requirement that interstate CMV drivers have ``no established medical 
history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which 
is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to 
control a CMV.'' Since that time, the Agency has published additional 
notices granting requests from individuals for exemptions from the 
regulatory requirement regarding epilepsy found in Sec.  391.41(b)(8).
    To be considered for an exemption from the epilepsy and seizure 
disorders prohibition in Sec.  391.41(b)(8), applicants must meet the 
criteria in the 2007 recommendations of the Agency's Medical Expert 
Panel (78 FR 3069).

III. Qualifications of Applicants

Sayed K. Abbed

    Mr. Abbed is a 40-year old class C license holder in Illinois. He 
has a history of focal seizure, and has been seizure free since 2012. 
He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same since 2012. His physician states that he is 
supportive of Mr. Abbed receiving an exemption.

Devante Carter

    Mr. Carter is a 23-year old class D license holder in Illinois. He 
has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 2009. He has 
not taken anti-seizure medication since 2012. His physician states that 
she is supportive of Mr. Carter receiving an exemption.

David R. Frantz

    Mr. Frantz is a 56-year old class CM license holder in 
Pennsylvania. He has a history of epilepsy and has been seizure free 
since 2011. He has not taken anti-seizure medication since 2012. His 
physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Frantz receiving an 
exemption.

Brian P. Klein

    Mr. Klein is a 46-year old Operator License holder in Indiana. He 
has a history of seizures, and has been seizure free since 2008. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since 2008. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. 
Klein receiving an exemption.

Thomas A. Marx

    Mr. Marx is a 44-year old Driver License holder in Washington. He 
has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 1995. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since 1995. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. 
Marx receiving an exemption.

Jeffrey Smith, Jr.

    Mr. Smith, Jr. is a 42-year old Driver License holder in Florida. 
He has a history of epilepsy, and has been seizure free since 2012. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since 2016. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. 
Smith, Jr. receiving an exemption.

Eric R. Smits

    Mr. Smits is a 52-year old Driver License holder in Wisconsin. He 
has a history of seizures, and has been seizure free since September 
2012. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same since September 2012. His physician states that he 
is supportive of Mr. Smits receiving an exemption.

IV. Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions 
described in this notice. We will consider all comments received before 
the close of business on the closing date indicated under the DATES 
section of the notice.

Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2021-03697 Filed 2-22-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P