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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Narcolepsy

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Narcolepsy

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
April 17, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 74 (Friday, April 17, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21296-21297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08857]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0373]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Narcolepsy

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from three individuals 
for an exemption from the prohibitions against operating a commercial 
motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce by persons with either a 
clinical diagnosis of a condition that is likely to cause a loss of 
consciousness or any loss of ability to operate a CMV safely, [49 CFR 
391.41(b)(8)], or a mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or 
psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with his/her ability to drive 
a commercial motor vehicle safely, [49 CFR391.41(b)(9)]. If granted, 
the exemption would enable these individuals who have been diagnosed 
with narcolepsy and are receiving medical treatment to operate CMVs for 
2 years in interstate commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2012-0081 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to 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 or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket ID for 
this Notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change 
to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information included in 
a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to 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., 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: 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 records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles A. Horan, III, Director, 
Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety, (202) 366-4001, or via 
email at fmcsamedical@dot.gov, or by letter to FMCSA, Room W64-113, 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 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

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in 
the Federal Register [49 CFR 381.315(a)]. The Agency must provide the 
public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the 
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
request.
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 
and

[[Page 21297]]

determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level 
of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The Agency may 
grant an exemption subject to specified terms and conditions. The 
decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 
CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the 
application and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons 
receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the 
exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period 
and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption 
may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
    FMCSA provides medical advisory criteria in the Medical Examination 
Report at 49 CFR 391.43 for use by medical examiners in determining 
whether drivers with certain medical conditions should be certified to 
operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. The advisory 
criteria for 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), indicates 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 medical examiner 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 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 fully recovered from that 
condition, has no existing residual complications, and is not taking 
anti-seizure medication.
    The advisory criteria for 49 CFR 391.41 (b)(9), indicates that a 
variety of functional disorders can cause drowsiness, dizziness, 
confusion, weakness or paralysis that may lead to incoordination, 
inattention, loss of functional control and susceptibility to accidents 
while driving.

Summary of Applications

Thomas Skagen

    Mr. Skagen is a 53-year-non-CDL holder from Washington. He is route 
sales representative for a bakery. He was diagnosed with Narcolepsy 
without cataplexy \1\ in 2008. His physician has treated him for 3 
years and is supportive of Mr. Skagen's exemption request. He states 
that Mr. Skagen is treated with Adderall and has a known 3-year history 
of being very compliant with medical treatment, his Epworth Sleepiness 
Scale scores remain within normal limits, and he does not fall asleep 
at any inappropriate times. He has driven a step van (a walk-in or 
multi-stop truck) since 2005 and says that sleepiness has never been an 
issue and in 37 years of driving he has never caused an accident. He 
would like to be granted an exemption in order to obtain a medical 
certificate to operate in interstate commerce.
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    \1\ According to National Institutes of Health, National 
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, cataplexy is a 
sudden loss of muscle tone while the person is awake that leads to 
feelings of weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control.
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Charles ``Larry'' Peterson

    Mr. Charles Larry Peterson is a 56-year old Class A CDL holder in 
Washington. He is tractor-trailer driver. He was diagnosed with 
Narcolepsy in 1987 and has been continually treated for this condition 
since his diagnosis. A November 2014 letter from Mr. Peterson's 
physician states he is successfully treated with Provigil. He has never 
known of any traffic incidents, accidents or problems related to his 
narcolepsy or treatment. In his opinion his narcolepsy is well 
controlled and he is safe to drive. A November 6 letter from his 
employer supports Mr. Peterson's request for an exemption. The employer 
reports that Mr. Peterson has been employed since 2012 and has been an 
exemplary driver since he was hired. The employer reports there have 
been no accidents, communication problems, and no questionable 
performance issues during his employment. Mr. Peterson would like to be 
granted an exemption to continue to operate in interstate commerce.

Stanley Jandreau

    Mr. Jandreau is a 43 year old Class A CDL holder in Maine. A 
February 2015 letter from his sleep medicine specialists states that 
Mr. Jandreau has been a patient since 2002 when he was found to have 
obstructive sleep apnea and narcolepsy with cataplexy. Mr. Jandreau's 
specialists report that he is stable on therapies for both conditions 
and his CPAP compliance is acceptable to excellent. He is maintained on 
Provigil and Zoloft and by all accounts his sleep disorders are stable 
and well-treated on his current therapeutic regimen. Medication or 
dosing changes have not been required since [the specialist] took over 
his care in 2012. His specialists support Mr. Jandreau's petition for 
exemption based on his condition being stable for quite some time and 
is not likely to worsen so long as he continues his current therapeutic 
regimen. Mr. Jandreau would like to be granted an exemption in 
interstate commerce.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on the applications for 
exemption described in this notice. We will consider all comments 
received before the close of business on the closing date indicated 
earlier in the notice.

    Dated: April 13, 2015.
 Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-08857 Filed 4-16-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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