03 May 2013

Guest Post: Federal Government Grants Commercial Licenses to Deaf Truck Drivers

Editor's Note: We've all heard it before-- deaf people can drive!? Guest writer Anne Roberts has the details about this historic victory for deaf truck drivers. Thanks, Anne!

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has finally granted licenses to some 40 commercial truck drivers who are deaf or hard of-hearing, making them the first in American history. The federal agency has granted them driving privileges by exempting them from hearing requirements that previously prevented them from obtaining the licenses.

During the issuance of the said driver’s licenses, the DOT cited a research proving that deaf drivers are as safe as drivers without hearing loss.

For decades, the DOT, which is responsible for regulating physical qualifications standards, or physical requirements for everyone who want to drive commercial vehicles in interstate commerce, has been maintaining a hearing standard that has barred safe and skilled drivers with hearing loss from a career in commercial trucking.

The granting of license is in light of the National Association of the Deaf’s (NAD) filed application on July 2011, requesting the DOT to waive the hearing standard and to allow deaf drivers with safe driving records to drive commercial vehicles. On November 2012, the same effort was renewed by NAD.

The DOT reviewed the driving records of each exemption applicant submitted by NAD. In addition, the agency asked for public comments regarding the exemption request. In response, it received a total of 570 comments from individuals and organizations agreeing that deaf drivers should be allowed to obtain commercial drivers licenses. Consequently, 40 deaf drivers represented by the NAD received the licenses last February.

The historic event is a great victory for the deaf people since it opens the door to driving careers to deaf drivers with safe driving records.

Following the granting of the licenses, the DOT is said to be currently considering a petition filed by NAD according to media sources. The petition seeks to totally remove the hearing standard from the regulations.

About the Author:
Anne Roberts is a web content writer for the Mesriani Law Group, a professional law corporation with its main office in Los Angeles, California and satellite offices in nearby counties in Southern California. She writes blog posts, news, how-to’s, and other related web content.

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