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Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
April 8, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 67 (Wednesday, April 8, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18926-18928]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08062]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0121; FMCSA-2013-0122; FMCSA-2013-0123]


Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; Hearing

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant requests from 39 
individuals for exemptions from the Agency's physical qualifications 
standard concerning hearing for interstate drivers. The current 
regulation prohibits hearing impaired individuals from operating CMVs 
in interstate commerce. After notice and opportunity for public 
comment, the Agency concluded that granting exemptions for these 
drivers to operate property-carrying CMVs will provide a level of 
safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety 
maintained without the exemptions. The exemptions are valid for a 2-
year period and may be renewed, and the exemptions preempt State laws 
and regulations.

DATES: The exemptions are effective April 8, 2015. The exemptions 
expire on April 10, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles A. Horan, III, Director, 
Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety, (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 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

A. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at: http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and/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., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    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.

B. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the safety regulations for a 2-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 2-year period. 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 grants 39 individuals an exemption from Sec.  391.41(b)(11) 
concerning hearing to enable them to operate property-carrying CMVs in 
interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The Agency's decision on these 
exemption applications is based on the current medical literature and 
information and the ``Executive Summary on Hearing, Vestibular Function 
and Commercial Motor Driving Safety'' (the 2008 Evidence Report) 
presented to FMCSA on August 26, 2008. The evidence report reached two 
conclusions regarding the matter of hearing loss and CMV driver safety: 
(1) No studies that examined the relationship between hearing loss and 
crash risk exclusively among CMV

[[Page 18927]]

drivers were identified; and (2) evidence from studies of the private 
driver license holder population does not support the contention that 
individuals with hearing impairment are at an increased risk for a 
crash. In addition, the Agency reviewed each applicant's driving record 
found in the CDLIS,\1\ for CDL holders, and inspections recorded in 
MCMIS.\2\ For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records 
from the State licensing agency. Each applicant's record demonstrated a 
safe driving history. The Agency believes the drivers covered by the 
exemptions do not pose a risk to public safety.
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    \1\ Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) is an 
information system that allows the exchange of commercial driver 
licensing information among all the States. CDLIS includes the 
databases of 51 licensing jurisdictions and the CDLIS Central Site, 
all connected by a telecommunications network.
    \2\ Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is an 
information system that captures data from field offices through 
SAFETYNET, CAPRI, and other sources. It is a source for FMCSA 
inspection, crash, compliance review, safety audit, and registration 
data.
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C. Comments

    FMCSA announced the exemption applications and requested public 
comment for each of the applicants in one of the notices below. For 
those applicants discussed in a previous notice but who are not 
mentioned in this notice, the Agency announced its decision in a 
previous notice.

Docket # FMCSA-2013-0121

    On May 3, 2013, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption 
applications and requested public comment on 9 individuals. The comment 
period ended on June 3, 2013. In response to the notice, FMCSA received 
three comments. All three commenters support the idea of granting 
exemptions.

Docket # FMCSA-2013-0122

    On May 6, 2013, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption 
applications and requested public comment on 16 individuals. The 
comment period ended on June 5, 2013. In response to the notice, FMCSA 
received four comments. All four commenters support the idea of 
granting exemptions.

Docket # FMCSA-2013-0123

    On July 16, 2013, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption 
applications and requested public comment on 27 individuals. The 
comment period ended on August 15, 2013. In response to the notice, 
FMCSA received seven comments. All seven commenters support the idea of 
granting exemptions.

D. Exemptions Granted

    Following individualized assessments of the exemption applications, 
FMCSA grants exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) to 39 individuals. 
Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 39 drivers receiving 
exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) would have been considered 
physically qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce except that 
they do not meet the hearing requirement. FMCSA has determined that the 
following 39 applicants should be granted an exemption:

Andrew Alcozer

    Mr. Alcozer, 30, holds an operator's license from Illinois.

James Allen

    Mr. Allen, 47, holds an operator's license from Vermont.

Michael Beebe

    Mr. Beebe, 51, holds an operator's license from New Jersey.

Shayne Bumbalough

    Mr. Bumbalough, 41, holds an operator's license from Washington.

Barry Carpenter

    Mr. Carpenter, 57, holds an operator's license from South Dakota.

Gregorio Cerino-Perez

    Mr. Cerino-Perez, 36, holds an operator's license from Virginia.

Charles Cofield

    Mr. Cofield, 37, holds an operator's license from Mississippi.

Chase Cook

    Mr. Cook, 31, holds an operator's license from Virginia.

Barry Crisman

    Mr. Crisman, 53, holds an operator's license from California.

Michael Desarmeaux

    Mr. Desarmeaux, 53, holds an operator's license from Ohio.

Robert Douglas

    Mr. Douglas, 47, holds an operator's license from California.

William Faulk

    Mr. Faulk, 33, holds an operator's license from Alabama.

Michael Fuller

    Mr. Fuller, 30, holds an operator's license from North Carolina.

Daniel Grossinger

    Mr. Grossinger, 27, holds an operator's license from Maryland.

Gregory Hill

    Mr. Hill, 38, holds an operator's license from Mississippi.

Kyle Hornung

    Mr. Hornung, 25, holds an operator's license from Wisconsin.

Ronald Jardine

    Mr. Jardine, 60, holds an operator's license from New Jersey.

Michael Jenkins

    Mr. Jenkins, 33, holds an operator's license from Virginia.

Roman Landa

    Mr. Landa, 37, holds an operator's license from California.

Bryan Macfarlane

    Mr. Macfarlane, 33, holds an operator's license from Vermont.

Aminder Malhi

    Mr. Malhi, 25, holds an operator's license from California.

Mark Martin

    Mr. Martin, 60, holds an operator's license from Michigan.

Joshua Moothart

    Mr. Moothart, 36, holds an operator's license from Oregon.

Robert Munson

    Mr. Munson, 63, holds an operator's license from New Jersey.

Jayson Lawson

    Mr. Lawson, 39, holds an operator's license from Arkansas.

Albert Nicholson

    Mr. Nicholson, 43, holds an operator's license from New Mexico.

Darren Nordquist

    Mr. Nordquist, 46, holds an operator's license from Wisconsin.

Edwin Oakes II

    Mr. Oakes, 44, holds an operator's license from New York.

Jeffrey Pagenkopf

    Mr. Pagenkopf, 30, holds an operator's license from Minnesota.

Jacob Paullin

    Mr. Paullin, 38, holds an operator's license from Wisconsin.

Ryan Pope

    Mr. Pope, 37, holds an operator's license from California.

[[Page 18928]]

Thomas Potterfield

    Mr. Potterfield, 31, holds an operator's license from South 
Carolina.

Thomas Prickett

    Mr. Prickett, 45, holds an operator's license from Minnesota.

Fernando Ramirez-Savon

    Mr. Ramirez-Savon, 45, holds a class A commercial driver's license 
from New Mexico.

Ralph Reno

    Mr. Reno, 43, holds an operator's license from Pennsylvania.

Ronald Rutter

    Mr. Rutter, 50, holds an operator's license from Arizona.

Russell Smith

    Mr. Smith, 44, holds an operator's license from Ohio.

James Weir

    Mr. Weir, 41, holds an operator's license from Washington.

Billy White

    Mr. White, 42, holds an operator's license from Texas.

E. Basis For Exemption

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) if the exemption is 
likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would 
be achieved without the exemption. With the exemption, applicants can 
drive in interstate commerce. Thus, the Agency's analysis focuses on 
whether an equal or greater level of safety is likely to be achieved by 
permitting each of these drivers to drive in interstate commerce as 
opposed to restricting him or her to driving in intrastate commerce. 
The driver must comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption. 
This includes reporting any crashes or accidents as defined in 49 CFR 
390.5 and reporting all citations and convictions for disqualifying 
offenses under 49 CFR part 383 and 49 CFR 391.

Conclusion

    The Agency is granting exemptions from the hearing standard, 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(11), to 39 individuals based on an evaluation of each 
driver's safety experience. Safety analysis of information relating to 
these 39 applicants meets the burden of showing that granting the 
exemptions would achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or 
greater than the level that would be achieved without the exemption. By 
granting the exemptions, the CMV industry will gain 39 additional CMV 
drivers. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315, each exemption will be 
valid for 2 years from the effective date with annual recertification 
required unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked 
if the following occurs: (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 prior to being granted; or 
(3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the 
goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315.
    FMCSA exempts the following 39 drivers for a period of 2 years from 
the physical qualification standard concerning hearing: Andrew Alcozer 
(IL); James Allen (VT); Michael Beebe (NJ); Shayne Bumbalough (WA); 
Barry Carpenter (SD); Gregorio Cerino-Perez (VA); Charles Cofield (MS); 
Chase Cook (VA); Barry Crisman (CA); Michael Desarmeaux (OH); Robert 
Douglas (CA); William Faulk (AL); Michael Fuller (NC); Daniel 
Grossinger (MD); Gregory Hill (MS); Kyle Hornung (WI); Ronald Jardine 
(NJ); Michael Jenkins (VA); Roman Landa (CA); Bryan Macfarlane (VT); 
Aminder Malhi (CA); Mark Martin (MI); Joshua Moothart (OR); Robert 
Munson (NJ); Jayson Lawson (AR); Albert Nicholson (NM); Darren 
Nordquist (WI); Edwin Oakes II (NY); Jeffrey Pagenkopf (MN); Jacob 
Paullin (WI); Ryan Pope (CA); Thomas Potterfield (SC); Thomas Prickett 
(MN); Fernando Ramirez-Savon (NM); Ralph Reno (PA); Ronald Rutter (AZ); 
Russell Smith (OH); James Weir (WA); and Billy White (TX).

    Dated: April 2, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-08062 Filed 4-7-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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