I'm not sure how common my situation is but any help is appreciated. I obtained my class A here in Mass. nearly two years ago. Almost immediately after, I was involved in a bad accident(non motor vehicle) and as a result lost my right leg below the knee. I now walk and drive(car) with a prosthetic with no restrictions or complications. The rmv has reinstated my class A but my doctor checked skills performance evaluation on my med card even though I am otherwise healthy. I have jumped through the DOT hoops for months now only to be told that I will have to more or less repeat the state exam. I dont have too much of a problem with that and assume this is because I really have no experience driving. The part I have a big problem with is I am being told that I have only one shot to pass the entire test and if I dont my cdl is gone for good, no second chance. I had several chances before my accident but only one now. Is it just me or does anyone else feel that this is not right. To make matters worse the school I attended to get my cdl will not get involved leaving me with no truck/instructors to practice or take the test with. Again, any help/advice is greatly appreciated.
Caveat: I'm not a driver, and have no specific knowledge in this arena. But I am disabled, and I can lend you some attitude about that!
The "no second chance" thing sounds wrong; if joe blow gets as many retests as he can pay for, so should you. Don't be afraid to play the disability discrimination card -- you deserve to be tested on the same level playing field as anyone else.
Even so, if you need time behind the wheel to find your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, you might just have to pay for that time. Fuel, instructors, and trucks all cost money, and it's not fair to ask the school to give you those things for free. But if you're willing to pay, they should be willing to help.
FWIW, I lost my leg (left above knee) several years ago, and I'm now considering trucking as a second career, after I'm sufficiently vested for retirement from my current job. I actually took CDL training about twenty years ago (long before it was called CDL) but ended up on a different career path. I'm still interested, though, and recent developments in automatic clutch/transmission technology make it a real possibility for me now.
I appologize if I wasn't completely clear in my earlier post, but money is not the issue with the school or me. I'm perfectly willing to pay. The school cannot get involved for other reasons I am not at liberty to disclose. The only other school in my area that I'm aware of is not very reputable. I agree with the discrimination aspect and it is probably worth mentioning, but this is the federal gov't were talking about. You get a better conversation with the wall not to mention the fact that I risk pissing them off and being in a worse situation than I'm in now. Anyway, thanks for the post and good luck with your new career.
As regards the other stuff, it looks like FMCSA 391.49 covers the particulars of the skills performance evaluation (SPE), which is what you need to get around the loss-of-limb clause in the physical qualifications in 391.41. Here are some links:
I'm no rules lawyer, but I don't see anything in there that says you only get one chance to pass the skills test. I think whoever is telling you that is feeding you a line. Remember, this is government work -- ultimately, they have to play by their own rules. If this person can't give you chapter and verse of the FMCSA/CFR/etc to back up his claim, it isn't true. In which case you need to find a supervisor and lodge a complaint. It might be discrimination, but more likely it's ignorance.
Have you checked into ADA
I know that ADA is instrumental in the workplace and in real estate transactions in which I am most familiar with that aspect of the ADA. I can't see why you should be limited as trucks like any other vehicle, can be altered/modified if need be.
Residences, public buildings, and other facilities must be modified to meet ADA guidelines.
Best of luck
I drove a Freightliner FL112 converted to a Toterhome with 10 speed autoshift for 3 yrs. No CDL was required because it was considered a Motorhome. After selling it, I looked into getting my CDL and becoming a full time Over the road driver.
The problems that I have yet to overcome are as follows:
1. The fed gov't requires, in order to obtain my Medical waiver, that I have a company that I am going to be driving for be considered the co-applicant. I assume this is some kind of liability issue.
2. I have talked to US Express, which utilize Autoshifts, and as soon as they realized the I only have 1 working arm, they started backpeddling our conversation.
3. I recieved a letter from Millis Transfer (who advertised Autoshift's) stating that they had a place for me in one of their next classes. I was supprised. They didn't even know anything about me or my disabilty, so I placed a phone call with a recruiter. What a crock! As soon as I explained my disability, talk about an about face. I never seen anyone change subjects so fast.
I believe (know) I can drive a truck. Did it for 3 years in my Totorhome with 48' trailer. But it seems to mostly be an issue of liability. I gets my gull that the federal government clearing states, even in times of autoshifts and power steering, that people with disabilities are made to have, what is similar to a co-signer, in order to get a CDL. If a person can find a company to train with, a bit difficult but not impossible, and prove their ability to drive safely, why should that driver be tied to a company to obtain his/her CDL.
Once you have that CDL in your pocket, you should be able to present a stronger argument to prospective employers -- if you can pass the government hurdles to licensure, they'll have a hard time arguing against you from a safety standpoint. Make it a point to NOT mention your disability too early! If it's really not a big deal, don't make it sound like it is. You're a driver first. Make sure they know it.
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, I know most of what you all are talking about. I think its a case of my situation being fairly unique so the information I have received along the way has been largely incorrect. Nothing was really layed out neatly for me. It has been a frustrating process trying to decipher exactly what is expected of me and why. Every time I'm told to do something, someone else comes along and says do something different. The federal DOT in Baltimore says we just want to see you drive. The Mass DOT says I have to repeat the test and then some. I think the biggest hair across my ##* is with the one and done scenario that the state is pushing on me. What if I hit a cone doing an alley dock because I'm rusty. Why can they take away my cdl with no chance at redemption and blame it on my disability. It makes no sense. I dont make excuses for the way I am because I really dont consider my self different but this just doesn't seem right. Also, if were to be sucessfull at this does anyone know if I am required to disclose my disability to perspective employers. Thanks again for the help.
Discloser is going to make a difference anywhere, they may interpret that as lying if you don't let them know. There seems to be more than there should be, if you can pass the test, you can pass the test. Seems like they are trying to intimidate you. Get some range time somewhere, it sounds like that may help your confidence.