FMCSA Proposes to Alter Vision Standard Requirements

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29 Jan 2021

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a proposal to amend vision standard requirements in the Federal Register on January 12, 2021. Present regulations disqualify drivers with distant visual acuity or field of vision standard, or both, in one eye from operating a CMV in interstate commerce. These drivers must receive an exemption from FMCSA in order to operate.

Under the proposed changes, there would be a two-step process to ensure physical qualifications are met. First, a vision assessment from an ophthalmologist or optometrist would be conducted. The doctor would record the findings and provide specific medical opinions on the proposed Vision Evaluation Report, Form MCSA-5871. A medical examiner (ME) would then determine if the driver meets the vision standard requirements provided the individual:

  1. Have in the better eye distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen), with or without corrective lenses, and field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian;
  2. be able to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber;
  3. have a stable vision deficiency; and
  4. have had sufficient time to adapt to and compensate for the change in vision.


If qualifications are met, a ME could issue a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876, for a maximum of 12 months. These changes would allow MEs to make physical qualification determinations rather than FMCSA’s exemption program. This proposal is open for comment until March 15, 2021. Comments can be made, here.