[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 3 (Thursday, January 5, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 644-645]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-8303]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket Nos. FMCSA-99-5748, FMCSA-99-6156, FMCSA-2001-9258, FMCSA-2003-
16241]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Vision

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

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

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew the exemptions from the 
vision requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for 
13 individuals. 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 January 3, 2006. Comments must be 
received on or before February 6, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods. 
Please label your comments with DOT DMS Docket Numbers FMCSA-99-5748, 
FMCSA-99-6156, FMCSA-2001-9258, or FMCSA-2003-16241.
     Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for 
submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     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.
    All submissions must include the agency name and docket number for 
this notice. Note that all comments received will be posted without 
change to http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information 
provided. To read background documents or comments received, go to 
http://dms.dot.gov 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.

[[Page 645]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, Chief, Physical 
Qualifications Division, (202) 366-4001, FMCSA, Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. 
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Public Comments: The DMS is generally available 24 hours each day, 
except when announced system maintenance requires a brief interruption 
in service. 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. An acknowledgement page 
appears after submitting comments on-line and can be printed to 
document submission of comments.
    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.

Exemption Decision

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA may renew an exemption 
from the vision requirements in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10), which applies to 
drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce, for a two-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 13 
individuals who have requested renewal of their exemptions in a timely 
manner. FMCSA has evaluated these 13 applications for renewal on their 
merits and decided to extend each exemption for a renewable two-year 
period. They are: Woodrow E. Bohley, Kenneth E. Bross, Russell W. 
Foster, Curtis N. Fulbright, George A. Hoffman, III, Richard L. 
Loeffelholz, Herman C. Mash, Frank T. Miller, Martin Postma, Ezequiel 
Ramirez, Robert G. Rascicot, Jon H. Wurtele, and Walter M. Yohn, Jr.
    These exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions: 
(1) That each individual have a physical examination 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 two years unless rescinded 
earlier by 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 two years from its approval date and may be renewed upon 
application for additional two year periods. In accordance with 49 
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), each of the 13 applicants has satisfied the 
entry conditions for obtaining an exemption from the vision 
requirements (64 FR 40404; 64 FR 66962; 66 FR 66969; 68 FR 69432; 64 FR 
54948; 65 FR 159; 66 FR 17743; 66 FR 33990; 68 FR 35772; 68 FR 61857; 
68 FR 75715). Each of these 13 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 two 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, FMCSA concludes that 
extending the exemption for each renewal applicant for a period of two 
years is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing 
without the exemption.

Request for Comments

    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, FMCSA requests that interested parties with 
specific data concerning the safety records of these drivers submit 
comments by February 6, 2006.
    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 17 individuals from the vision 
requirement in 49 CFR 931.41(b)(10). That final decision to grant the 
exemption 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.
    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 FMCSA. The agency 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), FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the 
exemption of a driver.

    Issued on: December 28, 2005.
Larry W. Minor,
Director, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations.
 [FR Doc. E5-8303 Filed 1-4-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P