The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will consider additional applications for exemptions from the federal hearing standard prohibiting deaf truck drivers from interstate operations. The first 40 such individuals to receive these exemptions were approved in February.
In a Federal Register notice issued Monday, the agency said it is taking public comments through January 2, regarding 10 individuals who have applied for a medical exemption from the hearing requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
On May 25, 2012, FMCSA published a notice requesting public comment on the National Association of the Deaf’s application for an exemption on behalf of 45 drivers.
On Feb 1, 2013 the agency granted 40 individuals an exemption from the regulatory requirement allowing individuals who do not meet the hearing requirements to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce for a 2-year period.
The federal hearing standard for truck drivers was adopted in 1970 and updated in 1971.
It says someone is physically qualified to drive a commercial if that person first perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than 5 feet with or without the use of a hearing aid or if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at certain frequencies with or without a hearing aid.
The February decision by FMCSA was hailed by NAD.