FMCSA May Eliminate Driving Experience Criterion in Vision Exemption Process

A proposed rule from the agency offers two options: driving with a stable vision condition for at least a year or no specific amount of CMV driving experience required.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning to change the eligibility requirements for someone seeking an exemption to operate a commercial motor vehicle without meeting the vision standards. Currently, and since 1998, the requirement has been three years of intrastate CMV driving experience immediately prior to the application date.

There are other requirements, including being at least 21 years old, holding a valid license, and no license suspensions or convictions for serious traffic violations while operating any motor vehicle, even a personal vehicle.

FMCSA has published a proposed rule Dec. 18 that offers two options: driving with a stable vision condition for at least a year or no specific amount of CMV driving experience required. Eliminating the experience requirement would be consistent with FMCSA’s diabetes exemption program, according to the rule.

The criterion covering involvement in a crash, where the driver was cited for a moving violation or his/her actions were a contributing factor in the crash, also is being tweaked by this rule. FMCSA states that it plans to use this definition of "accident" from 49 CFR 390.5 as being synonymous with "crash": "An occurrence involving a CMV operating on a highway in interstate or intrastate commerce which results in:

  • "A fatality;
  • "Bodily injury to a person who, as a result of the injury, receives immediate medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or
  • "One or more vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle(s) to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle."

FMCSA is accepting comments on the proposed rule (, Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0097) for 30 days.

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