The Demanding Document Of The Rights of Deaf Truckers (RDT) and Colleagues

This Agreement to this demanding document was made on by and among the members of the Rights of Deaf Truckers (RDT) and Colleagues.

I.      Who are we?

Our mission is to focus and defending the rights of all deaf and hard of hearing drivers rights and their awareness of their driving skill do not need a waiver for hearing or speaking as required by US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (US DOT FMCSA) regulations 391.11(2), 391.41(b)(11), and 391.43(EARS) from all Class A drivers.  Below are three links to the regulations that we want to remove:

II.  Why did we create this Document?

We, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing, and members have joined together to question the FMCSA requirements of needing to hear or speak in order to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Class A Licenses.  This license was created to give people permission to drive large trucks with any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  We have found that it was worthless to require wearing hearing aids to drive trucks and we want to be exempted from wearing our hearing aids.  We want to drive without any fear of losing our licenses for any reasons to wear the hearing aids as it really is worthless to wear those devices.

III. Often there are misunderstandings of the speech requirements found in regulation 391.11(2) that requires deaf and hard of hearing people to speak.

We have found that deaf people can communicate at all times by writing or pointing at things.  There should be no reason why the deaf person’s limits to as written in 391.11(2) will cause any kind of barriers or struggles on communicating at any time while inside or outside of the truck.  We found that deaf people can communicate by using writing on paper, cell phone (text, email or relay applications), relay calls through computer by using roaming or even using satellite phone with a TTY.  There are no reasons for any reason our skills will be limited if we can not speak or needing an interpreter at a scheduled appointment.

We have been pulled over by police officers in the past and communicated with them just fine using notepad and pen.  And, we would like to use that option as anyone else can use it as well.

IV. We do not believe that people will need to hear a whisper 5 feet away with any assistance other than using of common sense or other available body senses that replace our hearing.

We are often confronted that we need to hear the air brakes.  But, this is not true, even hearing truckers admitted that they can not hear inside the cab due to the noise from the muffler that is right behind them.  Many hearing people fear losing their licenses as they lose hearing from driving inside the cab that is so noisy. Hearing people have admitted that they can not hear inside the cab and find no reason why deaf truckers should be prevented from driving trucks.

After all, all modern trucks that are made today a build in technology that helps increase the drivers safely.  For example, the PSI gauge inside the truck will show leaks in the air brakes.  In addition, all vehicles are due to an inspection before driving on the road.  At that point, the air system check will be checked by two people.  In addition, when the engine is turned off and back on the truck has technologies that will self perform as the truck release the parking brakes there will be no more than 10 PSI loss in one minute the driver will know that something is wrong with the air brakes.  This whole thing can be done by looking at the PSI gage and it is not the truck driver’s duty to fix the truck.  They will be required to make a call to a truck mechanics by their preferred communication explained in Section III above.

There are also warning devices inside the truck that will come on when the truck becomes lower than 60 PSI.  Also, to point of information, the build rate will not go from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds.  A deaf truck driver will be able to verify that at beginning of driving and while driving.  A deaf truck driver will be able to identify these things as they pay close attention to the psi gage. No need to hear anything.  They will be able to feel these things however, all of these things will be captured when they perform the pre-trip inspection of the truck that inspects the 5th wheel jaw locked, suspension/ brakes, nuts, rims, tires, air/electric lines, wheel seal, brake pads, coupling systems, axle check, and rear of the truck.  This check up includes checking inside cab check to ensure that all emergency equipment, horn, lights, wipers, defroster, and gauges are working properly.

In other words, there should be no reason why anyone would need to hear a whisper 5 feet away, because everything will be captured from technologies inside the truck and the pre-trip inspection.

V.  We do not believe any driver who can not pass the Hearing Physical Requirements should be given a Class B License instead of a Class A License.

If there was ever an opportunity that DOT to open up a position for deaf and hard of hearing people who can not meet the physical requirements and giving them opportunity to receive a Class B license.  We believe that this would be a nice option.  However, we must decline because deaf people been driving for many years and many got a Class A licenses.

As a Class A Driver, we experienced days that our hearing aids were lost, broken or forgotten.  As a result, we drove our trucks very well with no problems at all and the air brakes did not cause our driving records to decline.  Why should we downgrade ourselves if we made it this far pass the federal regulation for hearing to be part of the physical requirements?  No, we should not do that.  We should tell DOT to change the regulation and allow us to continue our driving without an Hearing Aid.

In addition, we do not want to be forced to get our Class B license after years of fighting to get our Class A License if our hearing aids fail to protect us in the future.   In other words, we are asking the DOT to allow us to drive without our hearing aids after our number of years as a driver of a Class A license as an example to remove the federal regulation that requires our people to hear and speak to maintain their driver’s license.

VI. What if DOT allow deaf people to get their Class B License and drive them with vehicles without air brakes?

Currently, The DOT has indicated that it may grant exemptions to operate Class B vehicles without air brakes to safe drivers who cannot pass the DOT’s hearing test.  Those truck drivers who have drove for years with air brakes found that driving trucks with air brakes are way more safer than having no brake gauge.  There should be no reason the air brakes or brake gauge would make a difference for a person who is deaf or has hearing loss.  This exemption to allow deaf people to drive without air brakes does not make sense at all.  As a result, many truck drivers wonder why the DOT would allow deaf truck drivers with Class B license to get their license without any airbrake?  We would like you to take serious thoughts about this as there might be some kind of hidden agenda behind the true purpose.    

VII. Do deaf people have the ability to drive trucks of Class A license?

Truck drivers have the lowest accident records.  And, deaf people have the best driving records.  Any insurance company would verify that deaf people are the best drivers out there.  We have better visual and feeling sense that helps us become a better driver.  If anyone is concerned about deaf people’s driving records, you will find nothing wrong with our records and driving is about skills not hearing.   We hope to find a legislator who will support us on our mission to remove the hearing aid requirements of driving trucks.

Help us remove the hearing and speech requirements from the federal DOT regulations, because it is about driving skills not hearing.

Thank you from the Rights of Deaf Truckers (RDT) and Colleagues Group.

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