FMCSA Guidance for Drivers Applying for Hearing Exemption


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has posted new guidance documents to help commercial drivers apply for an exemption from the hearing standard.

The guidance includes a list of the information that must be sent to the agency to get an exemption from the federal hearing standard in 49 CFR Sec. 391.41(b)(11).

The FMCSA’s hearing standard — adopted in 1970 — prohibits drivers who cannot pass the hearing requirement from operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. Drivers must be able to hear a whispered voice at five feet or have an average hearing loss of no more than 40 decibels in their better ear.

The FMCSA first started granting exemptions from the hearing standard in early 2013 and has since approved numerous applications.

To apply for an exemption from the hearing standard, the FMCSA says drivers should submit a list of six items, including a copy of the driver’s license, a “Release of Medical Information” form, and a three-year driving record from the state.

The agency is authorized to grant exemptions for up to two years if it determines that public safety will not be harmed. The agency must first evaluate each driver’s application, publish it and take public comments, and then decide whether to grant or deny the request.

The new guidance documents and release form can be viewed online.

Also on the FMCSA’s website are documents to apply for exemptions from the diabetes and vision standards.