Medical board to review exemption for drivers on anti-seizure meds

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 9/20/2017

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board will meet Sept. 26-27 to review the agency’s exemption program criteria concerning commercial drivers who take anti-seizure medication.

The meeting is open to the public, and comments will be allowed. It is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EDT each day at the FMCSA National Training Center, 1310 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, Va.

Oral comments will be heard during the meeting. Members of the public may also submit written comments by Sept. 20 to the Federal Docket Management System with the Docket No. FMCSA-2008-0362 at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

According to the FMCSA’s notice on the meeting, the Medical Review Board will identify factors the agency should consider for potential regulatory actions that would eliminate the need for granting exemptions for commercial motor vehicle drivers who take anti-seizure medication.

In 2013, the FMCSA announced its decision to grant requests from 22 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that commercial motor vehicle 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 commercial motor vehicle.”

Since the 2013 decision, the FMCSA has published additional notices granting requests from individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement regarding epilepsy.

“The agency’s decision regarding exemption applications is based on an individualized assessment of each applicant’s 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 anti-seizure medication,” the FMCSA wrote. “In addition, the agency reviews the treating clinician’s medical opinion related to the ability of the driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely with a history of seizure and each applicant’s driving record.”

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