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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
26 September 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 185 (Tuesday, September 26, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44870-44871]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-20524]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0386]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Hearing

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

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

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to renew exemptions for two 
individuals from the hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for interstate commercial motor vehicle 
(CMV) drivers. The exemptions enable these hard of hearing and deaf 
individual to continue to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

DATES: The renewed exemptions were applicable on September 12, 2017. 
The exemptions expire on September 12, 2019. Comments must be received 
on or before October 26, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, 
Medical Programs Division, 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., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have 
questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, 
contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0386 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online 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 number(s) 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 online.
    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 http://www.regulations.gov, as described in 
the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed 
at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.

I. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption 
for five years 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 five-year period. FMCSA 
grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a two-year period to align with 
the maximum

[[Page 44871]]

duration of a driver's medical certification.
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding hearing 
found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11) states that a person is physically 
qualified to driver 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) 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).
    The two individuals listed in this notice have requested renewal of 
their exemptions from the hearing standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(11), in 
accordance with FMCSA procedures. Accordingly, FMCSA has evaluated 
these applications for renewal on their merits and decided to extend 
each exemption for a renewable two-year period.

II. Request for Comments

    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. 
31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the 
exemption of a driver.

III. Basis for Renewing Exemptions

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, each of the two 
applicants have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an 
exemption from the hearing requirement (80 FR 48394). In addition, for 
Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders, the Commercial Driver's 
License Information System (CDLIS) and the Motor Carrier Management 
Information System (MCMIS) are searched for crash and violation data. 
For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviews the driving records from the 
State Driver's Licensing Agency (SDLA). These factors provide an 
adequate basis for predicting each driver's ability to continue to 
safely operate a CMV in interstate commerce. Therefore, FMCSA concludes 
that extending the exemption for each of these drivers for a period of 
two years is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing 
without the exemption.
    As of September 12, 2017, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) 
and 31315, the following two individuals, have satisfied the renewal 
conditions for obtaining an exemption from the hearing requirement in 
the FMCSRs for interstate CMV drivers (80 FR 48394): Casey Wayne 
Patrick (WA) and Eduwin Pineiro (NJ).
    The drivers were included in docket number FMCSA-2014-0386. The 
exemptions were applicable on September 12, 2017, and will expire on 
September 12, 2019.

IV. Conditions and Requirements

    The exemptions are extended subject to the following conditions: 
(1) Each driver must report any crashes or accidents as defined in 49 
CFR 390.5; (2) report all citations and convictions for disqualifying 
offenses under 49 CFR part 383 and 49 CFR 391 to FMCSA, and (3) each 
driver prohibited from operating a motorcoach or bus with passengers in 
interstate commerce. The driver must also have a copy of the exemption 
when driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or 
local enforcement official. In addition, the exemption does not exempt 
the individual from meeting the applicable CDL testing requirements. 
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. 31136(e) and 
31315.

V. Preemption

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with this exemption with 
respect to a person operating under the exemption.

VI. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the two exemption applications, FMCSA 
renews the exemptions of the aforementioned drivers from the hearing 
requirement in 49 CFR 391.41 (b)(11). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 
31136(e) and 31315, each exemption will be valid for two years unless 
revoked earlier by FMCSA.

    Issued on: September 19, 2017.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-20524 Filed 9-25-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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