Medical Review Board to discuss vision standards proposal

May 3, 2021

Land Line Staff

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board plans to evaluate comments regarding the agency’s vision standards proposal during meetings later this month.

The Medical Review Board’s meetings will be held via videoconference and are scheduled for May 19-20. The meetings are open to the public.

Among the topics on the agenda is FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking regarding vision standards and the qualification of commercial motor vehicle drivers.

In January, FMCSA issued a proposal that would allow individuals who can’t meet the current distant visual acuity or field of vision standards in one eye to be deemed physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The new rule would require drivers to complete a road test before being allowed on the road unless they have three years of intrastate or other qualifying driving experience with the vision deficiency. To qualify, the driver must have at least 20/40 vision in the other eye with or without corrective lenses and a field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian.

OOIDA supports change

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the change, saying that it will allow safe and experienced drivers to stay on the road.

“The research presented demonstrates that individuals with monocular vision can safely operate a commercial motor vehicle,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer wrote in formal comments filed in March. “There is also considerable medical literature indicating that individuals with vision loss in one eye can and do develop compensatory viewing behavior to mitigate their vision loss.”

The Medical Review Board will review all of the comments received on the notice of proposed rulemaking to assist FMCSA in preparing its final rule.

Other agenda items

Also on the agenda for the May 19-20 meetings are finalizing updates to the Medical Examiner Handbook, and conducting a review of the medical assessment form for drivers with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Advance registration is encouraged for individuals who would like to attend the Medical Review Board meetings. The public will be given the opportunity to provide verbal or written comments. The announcement of the meeting is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 4. Once that happens, individuals will be able to register to attend here. LL

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