The United States Federal Government Department responsible for heavy vehicle regulation has stepped in to prevent hearing-impaired truck drivers from being barred from the road.
According to the department in the US, truck drivers who are hearing impaired should be allowed on the road, a decision which benefits in particular hearing impaired drivers who cannot speak.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said on Tuesday that hearing-impaired truck drivers should not be prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles because of their disability.
The FMCSA are responsible for regulating heavy vehicles in the United States has ruled that hearing-impaired drivers should be allowed to drive trucks if they can read and write in English. US Federal regulations stipulate that interstate truck drivers must be capable of reading and writing in English. Unfortunately the FMCSA has identified cases of truck drivers being denied their licence because they are not able to speak, despite the law permitting them to drive.
The FMCSA received a complaint from the National Association of the Deaf and thereafter sad t would grant exemptions to hearing-impaired truck drivers who demonstrate that their disability would not affect road safety and does not put other drivers at risk.
The FMCSA said it would be loosening longstanding English language requirements for truck drivers who are deaf as long as they can still understand traffic signs and signals.
The FMCSA noted:
“Some hearing impaired drivers have advised the National Association of the Deaf that they have been told by State licensing agency officials that they do not meet the English language requirement essentially because they do not speak,”
“The English-language rule should not be construed to prohibit operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) by hearing impaired drivers who can read and write in the English language but do not speak, for whatever reason.”
The new ruling applies to truck drivers who have gained an exemption from the FMCSA’s hearing standard. The requirements are intended to ensure truck drivers understand the rules of the road, but there are some state agencies in The US who have misconstrued the rule and denied commercial drivers’ licenses to people with hearing impairments. The agency went on to state:
“The absence of an ability to speak in English is not an indication that the individual cannot read and write in English sufficiently to communicate with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records,”
The ruling comes after the agency announced it is considering applications from a number of people for an exemption from vision requirements. These applicants aren’t able to meet the vision requirement in one eye for a number of reasons. In an announcement the FMCSA noted:
“The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision requirement in one eye,”