[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 24, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67112-67115]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-25634]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0014]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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 11 individuals 
for an exemption from the vision requirement in the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operate a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. If granted, the exemptions will 
enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without 
meeting the vision requirement in one eye.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 27, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0014 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/, 
insert the docket number, FMCSA-2021-0014, in the keyword box, and 
click ``Search.'' Next, sort the results by ``Posted (Newer-Older),'' 
choose the first notice listed, and click on the ``Comment'' button. 
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

[[Page 67113]]

New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, 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, 
DOT, 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-2021-0014), 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 www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2021-0014. Next, sort the results by ``Posted (Newer-
Older),'' choose the first notice listed, click the ``Comment'' 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 Comments

    To view comments go to www.regulations.gov. Insert the docket 
number, FMCSA-2021-0014, in the keyword box, and click ``Search.'' 
Next, sort the results by ``Posted (Newer-Older),'' choose the first 
notice listed, and click ``Browse Comments.'' 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 regulatory 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.transportation.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 11 individuals listed in this notice have requested an 
exemption from the vision requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). 
Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of each 
applicant to determine whether granting an exemption will achieve the 
required level of safety mandated by statute.
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding vision 
found in Sec.  391.41(b)(10) states that a person is physically 
qualified to drive a CMV 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.
    On July 16, 1992, the Agency first published the criteria for the 
Vision Waiver Program, which listed the conditions and reporting 
standards that CMV drivers approved for participation would need to 
meet (57 FR 31458). The current Vision Exemption Program was 
established in 1998, following the enactment of amendments to the 
statutes governing exemptions made by Sec.  4007 of the Transportation 
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 
107, 401 (June 9, 1998). Vision exemptions are considered under the 
procedures established in 49 CFR part 381 subpart C, on a case-by-case 
basis upon application by CMV drivers who do not meet the vision 
standards of Sec.  391.41(b)(10).
    To qualify for an exemption from the vision requirement, FMCSA 
requires a person to present verifiable evidence that he/she has driven 
a commercial vehicle safely in intrastate commerce with the vision 
deficiency for the past three 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 www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-1998-3637.
    FMCSA believes it can properly apply the principle to monocular 
drivers, because data from the Federal Highway Administration's former 
waiver study program clearly demonstrated the driving performance of 
experienced monocular drivers in the program is better than that of all 
CMV drivers collectively.\1\ The fact that experienced monocular 
drivers demonstrated safe driving records in the waiver program 
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.
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    \1\ A thorough discussion of this issue may be found in a FHWA 
final rule published in the Federal Register on March 26, 1996 and 
available on the internet at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-1996-03-26/pdf/96-7226.pdf.
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    The first major research correlating past and future performance 
was done in England by Greenwood and Yule in 1920. Subsequent studies, 
building on

[[Page 67114]]

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.

III. Qualifications of Applicants

Travis Crosson

    Mr. Crosson, 44, has had a rential detachment in his left eye due 
to a traumatic incident in 1996. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20, and in his left eye, light perception. Following an examination 
in 2021, his optometrist stated, ``It is my medical opinion that Travis 
has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate 
a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Crosson reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for 15 years, accumulating 144,000 miles, and tractor-
trailer combinations for 18 years, accumulating 388,000 miles. He holds 
a Class A CDL from California. His driving record for the last 3 years 
shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

George M. Hapchuk

    Mr. Hapchuk, 67, has had extropia in his left eye since childhood. 
The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, 20/
60. Following an examination in 2021, his optometrist stated, ``It is 
my impression that Mr. Hapchuk has adequate vision and peripheral 
vision to perform the tasks needed to operate a commercial vehicle.'' 
Mr. Hapchuk reported that he has driven straight trucks for 49 years, 
accumulating 1.715 million miles. He holds a Class BM CDL from 
Pennsylvania. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes 
and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Gerald E. Hartman

    Mr. Hartman, 55, has anterior synechiae in his right eye due to a 
traumatic incident in 1980. The visual acuity in his right eye is hand 
motion, and in his left eye, 20/25. Following an examination in 2021, 
his optometrist stated, ``Decreased vision OD is due to long standing 
injury (approximately 40 years) and in my opinion should not affect his 
ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Hartman reported 
that he has driven straight trucks for 15 years, accumulating 702,000 
miles. He holds an operator's license from Oklahoma. His driving record 
for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Derek E. Haynes

    Mr. Haynes, 51, has a prosthesis in his left eye due to a traumatic 
incident in 1988. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in 
his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination in 2021, 
his optometrist stated, ``Based on these findings, I feel Derek E. 
Haynes has the visual abilities to continue operating a commercial 
motor vehicle in interstate commerce because of the loss of vision in 
his left eye occurred in 1988 and he has normal vision in his right 
eye.'' Mr. Haynes reported that he has driven straight trucks for 17 
years, accumulating 1.02 million miles, and tractor-trailer 
combinations for 7 years, accumulating 420,000 miles. He holds a Class 
A CDL from Iowa. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Dale O. Hoover

    Mr. Hoover, 26, has had a macular retinal detachment in his left 
eye since 2016. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/15, and in his 
left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2021, his optometrist 
stated, ``In my medical opinion, Mr. Hoover has sufficient vision to 
perform the driving tasks to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Hoover 
reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 7 years, 
accumulating 350,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from Pennsylvania. 
His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no 
convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Michael R. Jackson

    Mr. Jackson, 56, has corneal scarring in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 
20/20, and in his left eye, 20/400. Following an examination in 2021, 
his optometrist stated, ``Mr. Jackson's condition is likely to remain 
stable with insignificant change and I believe he has the ability and 
sufficient vision to perform driving tasks required to operate a 
commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Jackson reported that he has driven straight 
trucks for 3 years, accumulating 300,000 miles. He holds an operator's 
license from Oklahoma. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Silvian N. Jones

    Mr. Jones, 51, has complete vision loss in his left eye due to a 
traumatic incident in 2016. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/
25, and in his left eye, no light perception. Following an examination 
in 2021, his ophthalmologist stated, ``I, Jeffrey Hart, MD certify that 
in my medical opinion Silvian N. Jones has sufficient vision to perform 
the driving tasks required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CWW) 
[sic].'' Mr. Jones reported that he has driven tractor-trailer 
combinations for 18 years, accumulating 900,000 miles. He holds a Class 
A CDL from Nevada. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no 
crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

Mark S. Phillips

    Mr. Phillips, 51, has had macular degeneration in his left eye 
related to age since 2017. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, 
and in his left eye, 20/60. Following an examination in 2021, his 
optometrist stated, ``I certify that in my medical opinion, this 
patient has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to 
operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. Phillips reported that he has 
driven straight trucks for 16 years, accumulating 464,000 miles, and 
tractor-trailer combinations for 6 years, accumulating 540,000 miles. 
He holds a Class AM CDL from Illinois. His driving record for the last 
3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a 
CMV.

Jessie W. Shearer

    Mr. Shearer, 31, has a cataract in his left eye due to a traumatic 
incident in 2008. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in 
his left eye, 20/70. Following an examination in 2021, his optometrist 
stated, ``I, Bryce Peek OD, certify that Jessie Shearer has sufficient 
vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial 
vehicle.'' Mr. Shearer reported that he

[[Page 67115]]

has driven straight trucks for 5 years, accumulating 75,000 miles and 
tractor-trailer combinations for 5 years, accumulating 90,000 miles. He 
holds a Class A CDL license from West Virginia. His driving record for 
the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving 
violations in a CMV.

Ryan K. Terrill

    Mr. Terrill, 34, has a retinal detachment in his right eye due to a 
traumatic incident in 2010. The visual acuity in his right eye is no 
light perception, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination 
in 2021, his optometrist stated, ``In my medical opinion, Ryan Terrill 
has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate 
a commercial motor vehicle.'' Mr. Terrill reported that he has driven 
straight trucks for 13 years, accumulating 2,600 miles. He holds an 
operator's license from Vermont. His driving record for the last 3 
years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a 
CMV.

Darrin Wilson

    Mr. Wilson, 55, has amblyopia in his right eye due to degenerative 
myopia during childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is counting 
fingers, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2021, 
his optometrist stated, ``He demonstrates sufficient vision to perform 
the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.'' Mr. 
Wilson reported that he has driven straight trucks for 8 years, 
accumulating 70,844 miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Washington. His 
driving record for the last 3 years shows one crash, which he was not 
cited for, and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV.

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 and material 
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. 2021-25634 Filed 11-23-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P