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Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
18 April 2019


[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 75 (Thursday, April 18, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16338-16339]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-07793]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[FMCSA Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0027]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and 
Seizure Disorders

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to exempt six individuals from 
the requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 
(FMCSRs) that interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have 
``no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or 
any other condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or 
any loss of ability to control a CMV.'' The exemptions enable these 
individuals who have had one or more seizures and are taking anti-
seizure medication to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

DATES: The exemptions were applicable on April 2, 2019. The exemptions 
expire on April 2, 2021.

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., 
ET, 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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Public Participation

A. Viewing Documents and Comments

    To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this notice 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov. 
Insert the docket number, FMCSA-2019-0027, in the keyword box, and 
click ``Search.'' Next, click the ``Open Docket Folder'' button and 
choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the 
internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket 
Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

B. 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.

II. Background

    On February 21, 2019, FMCSA published a notice announcing receipt 
of applications from six individuals requesting an exemption from the 
epilepsy and seizure disorders prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) and 
requested comments from the public (84 FR 5552). The public comment 
period ended on March 25, 2019, and no comments were received.
    FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and 
determined that granting exemptions to 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 
391.41(b)(8).
    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding epilepsy 
found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) states that a person is physically 
qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no established medical 
history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which 
is likely to cause the loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to 
control a CMV.
    In addition to the regulations, FMCSA has published advisory 
criteria \1\ to assist medical examiners in determining whether drivers 
with certain medical conditions are qualified to operate a CMV in 
interstate commerce. [49 CFR part 391, APPENDIX A TO PART 391--MEDICAL 
ADVISORY CRITERIA, section H. Epilepsy: Sec.  391.41(b)(8), paragraphs 
3, 4, and 5.]
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    \1\ See http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=e47b48a9ea42dd67d999246e23d97970&mc=true&node=pt49.5.391&rgn=div5#ap49.5.391_171.a and https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2015-title49-vol5/pdf/CFR-2015-title49-vol5-part391-appA.pdf.

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[[Page 16339]]

III. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received no comments in this proceeding.

IV. Basis for Exemption Determination

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
for up to five years from the epilepsy and seizure disorder prohibition 
in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) 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. FMCSA grants exemptions from the FMCSRs for a two-
year period to align with the maximum duration of a driver's medical 
certification.
    In reaching the decision to grant these exemption requests, FMCSA 
considered the 2007 recommendations of the Agency's Medical Expert 
Panel (MEP). The January 15, 2013, Federal Register notice (78 FR 3069) 
provides the current MEP recommendations which is the criteria the 
Agency uses to grant seizure exemptions.
    The Agency's decision regarding these exemption applications is 
based on an individualized assessment of each applicant's medical 
information, including the root cause of the respective seizure(s) and 
medical information about the applicant's seizure history, the length 
of time that has elapsed since the individual's last seizure, the 
stability of each individual's treatment regimen and the duration of 
time on or off of anti-seizure medication. In addition, the Agency 
reviewed the treating clinician's medical opinion related to the 
ability of the driver to safely operate a CMV with a history of seizure 
and each applicant's driving record found in the Commercial Driver's 
License Information System (CDLIS) for commercial driver's license 
(CDL) holders, and interstate and intrastate inspections recorded in 
the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). For non-CDL 
holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State 
Driver's Licensing Agency (SDLA). A summary of each applicant's seizure 
history was discussed in the February 21, 2019, Federal Register notice 
(84 FR 5552) and will not be repeated in this notice.
    These six applicants have been seizure-free over a range of 24 
years while taking anti-seizure medication and maintained a stable 
medication treatment regimen for the last two years. In each case, the 
applicant's treating physician verified his or her seizure history and 
supports the ability to drive commercially.
    The Agency acknowledges the potential consequences of a driver 
experiencing a seizure while operating a CMV. However, the Agency 
believes the drivers granted this exemption have demonstrated that they 
are unlikely to have a seizure and their medical condition does not 
pose a risk to public safety.
    Consequently, FMCSA finds that in each case exempting these 
applicants from the epilepsy and seizure disorder prohibition in 49 CFR 
391.41(b)(8) is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that 
existing without the exemption.

V. Conditions and Requirements

    The terms and conditions of the exemption are provided to the 
applicants in the exemption document and includes the following: (1) 
Each driver must remain seizure-free and maintain a stable treatment 
during the two-year exemption period; (2) each driver must submit 
annual reports from their treating physicians attesting to the 
stability of treatment and that the driver has remained seizure-free; 
(3) each driver must undergo an annual medical examination by a 
certified Medical Examiner, as defined by 49 CFR 390.5; and (4) each 
driver must provide a copy of the annual medical certification to the 
employer for retention in the driver's qualification file, or keep a 
copy of his/her driver's qualification file if he/she is self-employed. 
The driver must also have a copy of the exemption when driving, for 
presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local enforcement 
official.

VI. 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.

VII. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the six exemption applications, FMCSA 
exempts the following drivers from the epilepsy and seizure disorder 
prohibition, 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), subject to the requirements cited 
above:

John D. Archer (MO)
Travis W. Flowers (VA)
Stephen T. Root (NY)
Jeffrey L. Slagan (WI)
Dereck Welch (FL)
Mark D. Wray (NY)

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), each exemption will be 
valid for two years from the effective date 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.

    Issued on: April 11, 2019.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2019-07793 Filed 4-17-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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