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September 30, 2014 3:00 PM, EDT

33 Vision-Impaired Drivers Seek Waivers to Drive Commercial Vehicles

A group of drivers who have clear vision in one eye, yet are blind or partially blind in the other eye, are asking a federal regulator to allow them to drive commercial vehicles on the interstates.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Sept. 30 announced that it received the applications of 33 individual drivers who are seeking exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations because they are unable to meet vision guidelines in one eye.

The agency posted the drivers’ request in the Federal Register, and the public may offer input through Oct. 30 directly to the agency. FMCSA indicated it would investigate every comment submitted and the exemptions will be issued the day after the comment period closes.

If granted, the exemptions would enable the drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce without meeting prescribed vision requirements.

In August, the agency announced it approved the exemption of 52 individuals who are blind or partially blind in one eye. The agency concluded that granting these exemptions provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions for these commercial drivers.

FMCSA noted that it does not have authority to grant waivers or exemptions to drivers from states’ intrastate requirements. Details about how to comment on the matter is found in the Federal Register.