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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes Mellitus

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes Mellitus

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
3 July 2017

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 126 (Monday, July 3, 2017)]
[Pages 30940-30942]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-13929]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0031]

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes 

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.


SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt 49 individuals from its 
rule prohibiting persons with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) 
from operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. 
The exemptions enable these individuals to operate CMVs in interstate 

DATES: The exemptions were effective on May 31, 2017. The exemptions 
expire on May 31, 2019.

Medical Programs Division, (202) 366-4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64-113, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


I. 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 

II. Background

    On April 27, 2017, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of Federal 
diabetes exemption applications from 50 individuals and requested 
comments from the public (82 FR 19438). The

[[Page 30941]]

public comment period closed on May 30, 2017, and two comments were 
    FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of the 50 applicants and 
determined that granting the exemptions to 49 of these individuals 
would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level 
that would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 

Diabetes Mellitus and Driving Experience of the Applicants

    The Agency established the current requirement for diabetes in 1970 
because several risk studies indicated that drivers with diabetes had a 
higher rate of crash involvement than the general population. The 
diabetes rule provides that ``A person is physically qualified to drive 
a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no established medical 
history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring 
insulin for control'' (49 CFR 391.41(b)(3)).
    FMCSA established its diabetes exemption program, based on the 
Agency's July 2000 study entitled ``A Report to Congress on the 
Feasibility of a Program to Qualify Individuals with Insulin-Treated 
Diabetes Mellitus to Operate in Interstate Commerce as Directed by the 
Transportation Act for the 21st Century.'' The report concluded that a 
safe and practicable protocol to allow some drivers with ITDM to 
operate CMVs is feasible. The September 3, 2003 (68 FR 52441), Federal 
Register notice in conjunction with the November 8, 2005 (70 FR 67777), 
Federal Register notice provides the current protocol for allowing such 
drivers to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
    These 50 applicants have had ITDM over a range of 1 to 28 years. 
These applicants report no severe hypoglycemic reactions resulting in 
loss of consciousness or seizure, requiring the assistance of another 
person, or resulting in impaired cognitive function that occurred 
without warning symptoms in the past 12 months and no recurrent (2 or 
more) severe hypoglycemic episodes in the past 5 years. In each case, 
an endocrinologist verified that the driver has demonstrated a 
willingness to properly monitor and manage his/her diabetes mellitus, 
received education related to diabetes management, and is on a stable 
insulin regimen. These drivers report no other disqualifying 
conditions, including diabetes-related complications. Each meets the 
vision requirement at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10).
    The qualifications and medical condition of each applicant were 
stated and discussed in detail in the April 27, 2017, Federal Register 
notice and they will not be repeated in this notice.

III. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received two comments in this proceeding. Charles W. Smith, 
who is included in this docket, submitted a comment asking if more 
information was needed for his exemption. Mr. Smith had a complete 
application at the time he was published in the Federal Register for 
the 30-day comment period. Since no negative comments were received 
regarding his case, he was granted an exemption effective May 31, 2017. 
Robert E. Branigan, Jr., who is also included on this docket, requested 
a document stating he is now exempt from the diabetes standard. An 
exemption was granted and mailed to him on May 31, 2017.

IV. Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the diabetes requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) if the exemption 
is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than 
would be achieved without the exemption. The exemption allows the 
applicants to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
    To evaluate the effect of these exemptions on safety, FMCSA 
considered medical reports about the applicants' ITDM and vision, and 
reviewed the treating endocrinologists' medical opinion related to the 
ability of the driver to safely operate a CMV while using insulin.
    Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these 
applicants from the diabetes requirement in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) is 
likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the 

V. Conditions and Requirements

    The terms and conditions of the exemption will be provided to the 
applicants in the exemption document and they include the following: 
(1) That each individual submit a quarterly monitoring checklist 
completed by the treating endocrinologist as well as an annual 
checklist with a comprehensive medical evaluation; (2) that each 
individual reports within 2 business days of occurrence, all episodes 
of severe hypoglycemia, significant complications, or inability to 
manage diabetes; also, any involvement in an accident or any other 
adverse event in a CMV or personal vehicle, whether or not it is 
related to an episode of hypoglycemia; (3) 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 (4) that 
each individual provide a copy of the annual medical certification to 
the employer for retention in the driver's qualification file, or keep 
a copy in his/her driver's qualification file if he/she is self-
employed. The driver must also have a copy of the certification when 
driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local 
enforcement official.

VI. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 50 exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts the following 49 drivers from the diabetes requirement in 49 
CFR 391.41(b)(3):

Ronald J. Boe (MN)
Robert E. Branigan, Jr. (PA)
Wayne P. Cashion (TN)
Randall J. Claeys (OR)
Ronald G. Dalle (NY)
Vincenzo Dellisola (NY)
Gary L.A. Driggers (GA)
Daniel L. Fernberg (WI)
Steven A. Grover (CO)
Kenneth L. Hawthorne (MS)
Matthew A. Huebner (IL)
James C. Hylton (VA)
Michael A. Jacobson (IA)
David C. Jossi (ID)
Randy J. Kean (KY)
Edward T. Klauck (MO)
Carl R. Knapp (WA)
Robert E. Knox (OR)
Oris Lormeus (NY)
James V. Maiorana (NY)
Jerry S. Malloy (OK)
James E. Mann, Jr. (NC)
Tremaine E. Mathews (TX)
Archie D. McCracken (NC)
William M. Nafus (PA)
David S.E. Patton (AR)
Andrew J. Peard (NE)
Ronald C. Pennyman (GA)
Matthew B. Phillips (IN)
Larry P. Pruitt (NC)
Jose L. Ramos (NM)
Danny L. Russell (NH)
Ronald M. Salas (CA)
Roger W. Senff (WY)
David M. Seswick (OH)
Charles W. Smith (VA)
Jeffery A. Stone (IN)
William C. Suozzo (PA)
Sean M. Sweeney (NJ)
Thomas W. Szaloy (NM)
John A. Tagtgren (MN)
Michael E. Thompson (WA)
John A. Wargo (WV)
Michael E. Weideman (SD)
Monty A. Weigum (ND)
Zachary B.J. Weihart (WI)
James M. Wenzel (MN)
Steven G. Wilcox (CA)

[[Page 30942]]

Nathaniel D. Winston (VA)

    Gerald G. Blacklock (PA), who was included in the request for 
comments notice published on April 27, 2017 (82 FR 19438), ceased using 
insulin during the comment period. As a result, he no longer requires 
an exemption to operate in interstate commerce and was not issued one 
by the Agency.
    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 each exemption is 
valid for two years 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 before it was 
granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent 
with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315. If the 
exemption is still effective at the end of the 2-year period, the 
person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at 
that time.

    Issued on: June 22, 2017.
 Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-13929 Filed 6-30-17; 8:45 am]

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