To the Deaf Community and Deaf Truckers:
Rights of Deaf Truckers (RDT) and Colleagues Admins have not given up on any of the deaf people who want to become truck drivers. We are aware that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) do have some future plans to remove the 40 DB hearing loss and few other regulations of the FMCSA. No one at this time knows where FMCSA are in the process removing these policies. In the meaning time, things are changing but not as fast as we were hoping for.
Currently, RDT has been receiving emails and conversations from deaf people who are waiting for their waiver. We apology for the delay in the process, but that is beyond our control. If RDT Admins look back in history of RDT, the first announcement from National Association of the Deaf (NAD) took almost a year before the 40 trucker’s waiver was announced. RDT had to wait another 9 months before the approval was announced. As a result, RDT learned that in the federal level of the government moves slower than what the local truckers would prefer.
Our last email from FMCSA was on January 30, 2013 and they said, “We will soon have the application information for a Hearing exemption posted on our FMCSA website for download. If you know of others prior to that time who wish to apply for an exemption, you can have them email email@example.com and ask for a Hearing exemption application.”
In meaning time, RDT is not sure if the downloadable applications are now online for deaf people who want to continue or get their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) this time. Our admins are aware that some people have been receiving an application, but there are currently many ways people are receiving their applications. At this time, the best way to receive your application is to emai the FMCSA Medical Team. If you have received one, that’s great. If you have not, please email FMCSA Medical office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meaning time, while you are waiting. It might be a good idea to get in touch with NAD CDL lawyer named Thomas Knope at email@example.com. For the reason, he can assist you in the process. Due to his close ties with the FMCSA, he might know how to answer some questions quicker than RDT at this time. In addition, RDT is currently looking for ways to build their relationship with FMCSA and NAD to get answers for our Deaf Truckers United members and members of the deaf community as fast as we can. However, we are in the early stage of this process and hope that will happen someday soon.
If you would like RDT to be aware of your conversations, please email us and a copy of your letters, emails and conversations. You may also email to us with a cc in email. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the FMCSA process is so slow, RDT Admins hate to say this but all of us need to be very patience as the process is usually slower than most of us would like to see. That is all we can say about your waiver at this time. RDT Admins hope that the process will become faster in the future. And, we will make sure that FMCSA knows that our deaf people who want to receive the hearing waivers as fast as any truck driver out there where the process will be faster and equal than it was today and in the past.
Thank you for your support and looking forward to the hearing and speaking requirements to be removed.
On Tuesday, April 9, Scott Friede left a video blog (VBlog) with caption and shared with another group on facebook. He was receiving news from different deaf trucker peers across the country about the following concerns.
- Weigh Stations have loudspeakers need to be replaced
- Staff and workers at the weight stations are not professional
- Deaf truckers need to pay twice as much for the exams
- Process to get the Hearing Exemption is taking too long.
- More schools should seek ADA accommodations for the deaf people
Deaf Truck Drivers agree with Scott about his concerns that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking so long. We had to wait so long for the 45 deaf truckers to get their results. FMCSA only approved of 40 drivers. We still are not sure if the 5 that were not yet declined actually had a reason to be declined or not. Some of the 5 truckers say that they were not yet declined but on hold.
Recently, we had 9 new deaf people apply for a waiver and we have no idea how long it will take for them to get their waiver papers from the hearing physical exemption. How much longer must our deaf truckers wait for this? We already know that some of the 40 deaf people who got their waiver stepped out of the process because they needed to make a living and decided to explore other employment opportunities out there.
Scott did raise another point, there are some deaf people who are currently working. He is concerned that the system is not giving them a chance. The workers and police are facing these deaf truckers with guns as if the deaf person is a threat to the industries. He feels that is not necessary. Even the schools, are declining the deaf people mainly because the school does not want to provide an accommodation that is required by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Many of the industries do not want to provide a sign language interpreter.
He also raise another issue about the Medical Certification Examination is wasting deaf people’s money and making deaf truckers look expensive. For example, the deaf person gives the newly created Medical Waiver from the Hearing Examination from FMCSA and the doctors will decline the document because they did not know anything about it. Then, the deaf person will need to get FMCSA involved to help educate the doctor about it. After this discussion, the doctor will accept the deaf person again. The biggest concern was that the deaf person has to pay for each visit. Just because the doctor was not aware.
Deaf Truckers in the past argued with FMCSA that deaf people should have equal opportunity to go the same steps just as any other trucker who passes the physical examination. The goal was not to go additional unnecessary steps for their examination process. This means, our deaf drivers should go in and get their test without any struggles or questions about their hearing or speaking skills.
Then, Scott shows some of his past letters of commendation and application from his previous employers for his hard work as a truck driver. He feels that it is time for FMCSA to begin educating many states, agencies and industries about fair treatment to the deaf truckers who are about to gain their rights to be a driver.
RDT Administrations are currently working on writing a letters to both FMCSA and NAD. Because, RDT believes that driving truck is about skills not hearing.
Deaf Truckers United (DTU) is a Facebook Group of about 300 people who are either a trucker, desire or supporter to be a trucker. Currently, most of our members are deaf or hard of hearing. However, there are several truckers in the group.
Our members together worked hard to help National Association of the Deaf (NAD) work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow people with over 40 DB hearing loss with a hearing aid to drive a truck. Mainly, we found that driving trucks was about skills not hearing.
DTU members and supporters successfully got the FMCSA to give a waiver to 40 deaf truckers. And, we still have the mission to remove the regulations that prevent deaf truckers from driving trucks because we believe driving trucks is about skills not hearing.
This is the first post and we look forward to working with you in the future. Our Facebook Group can be found in below link:
Join us on our mission to remove the US DOT FMCSA regulations 391.11(2), 391.41(b)(11), and 391.43(EARS) from all Class A drivers.
For those who are wondering what is happening with the Deaf Trucker United (DTU) group, Brenda Palmigiano and I agreeded to do a 2012 update of what has been happening and where we are at this time. There are a few additional changes that happened as well.
For one, for those who live in New York State, Binghamton’s Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) found a new Assembly to sponsor this bill known as A09309. His name is Micah Kellner. He has disability and is a strong speaker in Albany. At the same time, we spoke with Senator Joe Robach who pushed this bill, S09309, last year. He said that he will do the same thing this year. So, this is good news for all of us! Let’s waive hands for STIC advocates!!
Anyway, below is the video blog that Brenda and I created with an update of what is happening. We hope that this helps you see where we are at this time.
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)