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NAD Asks DOT to Waive Hearing Standard for Deaf Truck Drivers

NAD Asks DOT to Waive Hearing Standard for Deaf Truck Drivers


The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed applications for exemptions
with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) on behalf of 21
deaf truck drivers asking the DOT to waive its hearing requirement and allow
them to drive commercial motor vehicles. The DOT requires all applicants for
a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) to prove that they can hear a forced
whisper at not less than 5 feet, or that they have a hearing level of less
than 40 decibels in the better ear. The NAD has argued for decades that the
hearing standard discriminates against people who are deaf and hard of

The applicants come from all over the United States and include
award-winning forklift operators, chauffeurs, package delivery people, and
transport drivers. One of the applicants, Randall Doane, of Del Valle, has
logged more than 250,000 miles of safe commercial driving. During his years
of commercial driving, Mr. Doane drove double/triple trailers, tankers, and
vehicles carrying hazardous materials with an average hearing loss of 39
decibels, without a single accident or citation. When his average hearing
level tipped just decibels past the DOT limit of 40 decibels, Mr. Doane was
no longer permitted to do the job he loved. Now Mr. Doane is hoping for the
opportunity to get back on the road.

The DOT has 180 days to respond to the NAD request for exemptions. If DOT
grants the exemptions, it will mark the first time deaf drivers are allowed
to drive trucks across state lines anywhere in the nation.



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