[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 231 (Monday, December 2, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72149-72151]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28804]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA--2013-0125]


Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces that 10 individuals have applied for a medical 
exemption from the hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). In accordance with the statutory 
requirements concerning applications for exemptions, FMCSA requests 
public comments on these requests. The statute and implementing 
regulations concerning exemptions require that exemptions must provide 
an equivalent or greater level of safety than if they were not granted. 
If the Agency determines the exemptions would satisfy the statutory 
requirements and decides to grant theses requests after reviewing the 
public comments submitted in response to this notice, the exemptions 
would enable 10 individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA--2013-0125 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; 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, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the 
docket numbers for this notice. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below 
for further information.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The FDMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 
days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your 
comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard 
or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting 
comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). 
You may review DOT's Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in 
the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit 
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief Medical 
Programs, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W64-224, Washington, 
DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has authority to 
grant exemptions from many of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations (FMCSRs) under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), as amended by 
Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA--21) (Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 107, 401). FMCSA 
has published in 49 C.F.R. part 381, subpart C final rules implementing 
the statutory changes in its exemption procedures made by section 4007, 
69 FR 51589 (August 20, 2004).\1\ Under the

[[Page 72150]]

rules in part 381, subpart C, FMCSA must publish a notice of each 
exemption request in the Federal Register. The Agency must provide the 
public with an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the 
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted and 
any research reports, technical papers and other publications 
referenced in the application. The Agency must also provide an 
opportunity to submit public comment on the applications for exemption.
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    \1\ This action adopted as final rules the interim final rules 
issued by FMCSA's predecessor in 1998 (63 FR 67600 (Dec. 8, 2008)), 
and adopted by FMCSA in 2001 [66 FR 49867 (Oct. 1, 2001)].
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    The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and 
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level 
of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be 
achieved without the exemption. The decision of the Agency must be 
published in the Federal Register. If the Agency denies the request, it 
must state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the 
exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons 
receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from 
which an exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the 
effective period of the exemption (up to 2 years) and explain the terms 
and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed.
    The current provisions of the FMCSRs concerning hearing state that 
a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person

    First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at 
not less than 5 feet with or without the use of a hearing aid or, if 
tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average 
hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 
1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the 
audiometric device is calibrated to American National Standard 
(formerly ASA Standard) Z24.5--1951.

49 CFR 391.41(b)(11). This standard was adopted in 1970, with a 
revision in 1971 to allow drivers to be qualified under this standard 
while wearing a hearing aid, 35 FR 6458, 6463 (April 22, 1970) and 36 
FR 12857 (July 3, 1971).
    FMCSA also issues instructions for completing the medical 
examination report and includes advisory criteria on the report itself 
to provide guidance for medical examiners in applying the hearing 
standard. See 49 C.F.R. 391.43(f). The current advisory criteria for 
the hearing standard include a reference to a report entitled ``Hearing 
Disorders and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers'' prepared for the 
Federal Highway Administration, FMCSA's predecessor, in 1993.\2\
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    \2\ This report is available on the FMCSA Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/publications/medreport_archives.htm.
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FMCSA Requests Comments on the Exemption Applications

    FMCSA requests comments from all interested parties on whether a 
driver who cannot meet the hearing standard should be permitted to 
operate a CMV in interstate commerce. Further, the Agency asks for 
comments on whether a driver who cannot meet the hearing standard 
should be limited to operating only certain types of vehicles in 
interstate commerce, for example, vehicles without air brakes. The 
statute and implementing regulations concerning exemptions require that 
the Agency request public comments on all applications for exemptions. 
The Agency is also required to make a determination that an exemption 
would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption 
before granting any such requests. 49 U.S.C.

Submitting Comments

    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 and 
in the search box insert the docket number ``FMCSA-2013-0125'' and 
click the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue 
``Comment Now!'' button on the right hand side of the page. On the new 
page, enter information required including the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. If you submit your comments by mail or 
hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 
8[frac12] 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.
    We will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your 
comments. FMCSA may issue a final rule at any time after the close of 
the comment period.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this 
preamble, To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number 
``FMCSA-2013-0125'' and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket 
Folder'' and you will find all documents and comments related to the 
proposed rulemaking.

Information on Individual Applicants

Sascha Cotton

    Mr. Cotton, 39, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Florida.

Keith C. Drown

    Mr. Drown, 61, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) in 
Idaho.

Norman Estes

    Mr. Estes, 60, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) in 
Alabama.

David Garland

    Mr. Garland, 42, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Maine.

James Gooch

    Mr. Gooch, 53, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) in 
Missouri.

Harold Johnson

    Mr. Johnson, 61, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Pennsylvania.

Michael Paasch

    Mr. Paasch, 40, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Nebraska.

William Symonds

    Mr. Symonds, 55, holds a Class B commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Illinois.

Anthony Thong

    Mr. Thong, 30, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) in 
California.

Roger Allen Wright

    Mr. Wright, 61, holds a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) 
in Alabama.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b)(4), FMCSA 
requests public comment from all interested persons on the exemption 
petitions described in this notice. The Agency will consider all

[[Page 72151]]

comments received before the close of business January 2, 2014. 
Comments will be available for examination in the docket at the 
location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The Agency 
will file comments received after the comment closing date in the 
public docket, and will consider them to the extent practicable. In 
addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the 
public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the 
comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the public 
docket for new material.

    Issued on: November 25, 2013.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-28804 Filed 11-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P