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FHWA ACTS TO HELP TRUCK, BUS DRIVERS MEET FEDERAL VISION STANDARDS

FHWA ACTS TO HELP TRUCK, BUS DRIVERS MEET FEDERAL VISION STANDARDS
 WASHINGTON, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Truck and bus drivers who cannot meet current federal vision standards for interstate drivers will be granted temporary waivers under certain conditions while the government explores the feasibility of relaxing its across-the-board vision requirements in favor of a more individualized standard.
 The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) said in a notice in the Federal Register March 25 that it would accept waiver applications and would grant them for either three years or until the rulemaking is concluded, whichever occurs first.
 Applicants would have to be legally licensed to operate a commercial vehicle in their home state for at least the four preceding years and have had no convictions in that time for moving violations or involvement in a reportable accident.
 Additionally, they would have to have at least 20/40 visual acuity in the better eye and be certified by an ophthalmologist or optometrist that they have sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle. Their driving records during the waiver period will be closely monitored.
 Many drivers have operated such vehicles for years in intrastate commerce or in exempt intracity zones without having to meet the federal standard, which prescribes certain "absolute" vision requirements.
 As more states are complying with recent legislation by adopting the federal requirements for intrastate operations, drivers in those states who cannot meet the federal vision standard will be precluded from operating a commercial vehicle in intrastate commerce.
 "Our action today will avoid any unreasonable risk," according to FHWA Administrator Thomas D. Larson. "It will preserve the jobs of drivers who have demonstrated their ability to operate safely and are facing the vision standards for the first time. It also responds to the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability rights laws to ensure that people capable of performing a job are not denied employment on the basis of disability."
 Larson added that the FHWA also will establish a control group of drivers to perform a comparative analysis. Volunteers are being sought from throughout the driver workforce, and will be subject to the same work-related prerequisites as applied to waiver applicants. Applications should be sent to Vision Waiver Program, 400 7th St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.
 Information about the waiver program is available from the FHWA's Office of Motor Carriers, 800-832-5660.
 -0- 3/26/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Jasien, 202-366-0660, or Stan Hamilton, 202-366-0665, both of the Federal Highway Administration/ CO: Federal Highway Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU:


MH -- DC023 -- 2049 03/26/92 14:44 EST
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Date:Mar 26, 1992
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