The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided to go ahead and continue to allow 14 drivers who suffer from poor vision to bypass rules that would otherwise prohibit them from driving commercial vehicles.
“FMCSA has statutory authority to exempt individuals from the vision requirement if the exemptions granted will not compromise safety,” the agency wrote in the Federal Registrar.
The drivers were excused from the vision rule under the Federal Vision Exemption Program, which issues vision exemptions for a maximum of 2 years and is subject to certain conditions.
To qualify for the program, the impaired driver must receive an eye exam each year with the physician determining that vision in the better eye sufficiently makes up for the compromised vision in the other eye and is good enough to drive a commercial vehicle.
When considering a driver’s application to the program, the FMCSA also takes into account employment history, driving experience and motor vehicle records. The agency makes a final decision within 180 days of submission.
Currently, the FMCSA is further considering exemptions for another 35 truck drivers who also have impaired vision in one eye.
According to the agency, compromised vision for many of these truck drivers is a result of childhood trauma.