FMCSA Moves Forward to Allow Deaf Drivers to Receive CDLs
On February 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a decision granting 40 deaf intrastate drivers and former interstate drivers an exception to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations’ hearing qualifications. When FMCSA previously announced consideration of the issue, ATA suggested that FMCSA should instead consider a full rulemaking allowing all otherwise qualified deaf drivers to operate commercial vehicles. FMCSA did not choose to do a formal rulemaking for all drivers, because “the rulemaking process is too lengthy to afford relief” to these 40 drivers. However, FMCSA notes that it has received a petition to revise the hearing qualifications, that it has research demonstrating the safety of deaf drivers, and that “additional studies could simply delay drivers receiving a CDL and prove costly to the government without providing meaningful additional safety to the driving public.” ATA is hopeful that this announcement indicates FMCSA’s intention to move forward with such a rulemaking addressing all deaf drivers.