Rules easing for truckers with history of seizures?

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering letting truck drivers with a history of seizures get behind the wheel as long as they have not had an episode in more than a decade.

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Truck drivers who have suffered from just one isolated seizure may be allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle even sooner after a period of five years passes without incident, the agency said Monday.

"Certification should be deferred until the driver has fully recovered from that condition (and) has no existing residual complications," the agency wrote in the Federal Register.

The FMCSA says 11 truck drivers have petitioned the agency for an exemption to the rules.

Currently, truck drivers who have been diagnosed with epilepsy often face difficulties in getting commercial motor vehicle licenses under FMCSA rules. But the agency is considering an exemption for people who it sees as low-risk drivers who no longer rely on anti-seizure medication.

The FMCSA says these drivers should not have had a seizure in the last several years, and also recommends they complete a neurological exam before they are given a commercial motor vehicle license. 

Drivers who qualify would be provided with a two-year exemption, as long as a medical examiner and their doctor find that "such as exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such exemption," the agency wrote. 

The public has 30 days to comment on the new rules.