[Federal Register Volume 88, Number 15 (Tuesday, January 24, 2023)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4286-4288]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2023-01263]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0047]


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 15 individuals 
for 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 February 23, 2023.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the Federal Docket 
Management System Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0047 using any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/, 
insert the docket number (FMCSA-2022-0047) 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 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, FMCSA, DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room 
W64-224, Washington, DC 20590-0001, (202) 366-4001, 
[email protected]. 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-2022-0047), 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-2022-0047. 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. 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

[[Page 4287]]

number FMCSA-2022-0047, 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 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(6), DOT solicits comments 
from the public on the exemption request. 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 (Federal Docket Management System), which can be 
reviewed at https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/privacy/privacy-act-system-records-notices, the comments are searchable by the name of 
the submitter.

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 statutes also allow 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 15 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 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

Andrew Briggs

    Andrew Briggs is a 43-year-old class A, B, C, and D commercial 
driver's license (CDL) holder in Wisconsin. They have a history of 
focal epilepsy and have been seizure free since 2010. They take anti-
seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same 
since December 2011. Their physician states that they are supportive of 
Andrew Briggs receiving an exemption.

Joel Clapper

    Joel Clapper is a 49-year-old class C license holder in Michigan. 
They have a history of seizure disorder and have been seizure free 
since 2005. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since November 2005. Their physician 
states that they are supportive of Joel Clapper receiving an exemption.

Trent Clark

    Trent Clark is a 38-year-old class C license holder in 
Pennsylvania. They have a history of seizure and have been seizure free 
since 2007. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since 2015. Their physician states that 
they are supportive of Trent Clark receiving an exemption.

John Girdley

    John Girdley is a 42-year-old class D license holder in Kentucky. 
They have a history of epilepsy and have been seizure free since 
September 2012. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since November 2014. Their physician 
states that they are supportive of John Girdley receiving an exemption.

[[Page 4288]]

Larry Kirby

    Larry Kirby is a 36-year-old class A CDL holder in Missouri. They 
have a history of epilepsy and have been seizure free since 2010. They 
take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since May 2019. Their physician states that they are 
supportive of Larry Kirby receiving an exemption.

Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch is a 31-year-old class C license holder in 
Pennsylvania. They have a history of seizure disorder and have been 
seizure free since 2013. They take anti-seizure medication with the 
dosage and frequency remaining the same since 2013. Their physician 
states that they are supportive of Matthew Lynch receiving an 
exemption.

Edward Malicki

    Edward Malicki is a 49-year-old class D license holder in New York. 
They have a history of generalized epilepsy and have been seizure free 
since 2002. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since 2003. Their physician states that 
they are supportive of Edward Malicki receiving an exemption.

Jared Meyers

    Jared Meyers is a 30-year-old class R license holder in 
Mississippi. They have a history of cryptogenic seizures and have been 
seizure free since November 2007. They take anti-seizure medication 
with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since November 2007. 
Their physician states that they are supportive of Jared Meyers 
receiving an exemption.

James Niemoller

    James Niemoller is a 45-year-old class C license holder in 
Maryland. They have a history of epilepsy and have been seizure free 
since May 1990. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since June 2013. Their physician states 
that they are supportive of James Niemoller receiving an exemption.

Joshua Pattyn

    Joshua Pattyn is a 47-year-old class A CDL holder in Oregon. They 
have a history of seizure disorder and have been seizure free since 
1995. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same since 1995. Their physician states that they are 
supportive of Joshua Pattyn receiving an exemption.

Joe W. Porath

    Joe W. Porath is a 51-year-old class A CDL holder in Idaho. They 
have a history of sequalae of cerebral infraction, unprovoked seizure 
and have been seizure free since July 2017. They take anti-seizure 
medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since 
October 2017. Their physician states that they are supportive of Joe W. 
Porath receiving an exemption.

Jon Rollins

    Jon Rollins is a 52-year-old class D license holder in Ohio. They 
have a history of grand mal seizure disorder and have been seizure free 
since 2006. They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same since 2006. Their physician states that 
they are supportive of Jon Rollins receiving an exemption.

Garrett Sager

    Garrett Sager is a 25-year-old class C license holder in Iowa. They 
have a history of epilepsy generalized tonic-clonic seizure and have 
been seizure free since 2012. They take anti-seizure medication with 
the dosage and frequency remaining the same since April 2019. Their 
physician states that they are supportive of Garrett Sager receiving an 
exemption.

Colin Trummer

    Colin Trummer is a 19-year-old class D license holder in Ohio. They 
have a history of benign Rolandic seizure and have been seizure free 
since 2011. They have not taken anti-seizure medication since 2013. 
Their physician states that they are supportive of Colin Trummer 
receiving an exemption.

Shawn Vanliew

    Shawn Vanliew is a 65-year-old class D license holder in Minnesota. 
They have a history of epilepsy and have been seizure free since 1992. 
They take anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same since 1992. Their physician states that they are 
supportive of Shawn Vanliew 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. 2023-01263 Filed 1-23-23; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P