How can the Federal Laws descriminate against Disabled Truckers?

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by bandit24, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. bandit24

    bandit24 Light Load Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Near Charlottesville, VA
    I have had a taste of OTR driving and am looking to become a full time driver. PROBLEM: I only have 1 working arm. Have driven a Freightliner FL112 w/ Eaton 10 speed autoshift(licensed as an RV, no CDL Required) with 48' gooseneck for 2 1/2 years.

    USDOT will issue a waiver, but I must find a company that will also approve the waiver. That issue kinda locks me into remaining with a company just because they are willing to accept the liability portion.

    To me, this is our Federal Govt discriminating against anyone that has certain disabilities(loss of use of 1hand, loss of use of 1leg). With more of the trucks now having Autoshift trannies and Power steering, I do not see how these regulations can still be in effect.

    I'm learning that it's going to be very difficult to even find a decent company willing to hire me because of most peoples pre-conceived idea that it would require 2 hands to drive a tractor trailer. I've talked to SNI, USExpress, Millis(MTI), with little consideration.

    In my FL112, I had a buddy wire me a Headset / Mic for the CB, with a button on the floor to key the mic. It was awesome, never had to take my hand off the steering wheel to talk on the CB.

    What ya'all think? Would you as drivers see any issues with a One Armed Driver? I understand that most of my loads would need to be drop / hook but I could unload some as I can operate pallet jacks and a forklift. I'm not looking to be a flatbed driver since it would be almost impossible to do the tarp deal.
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  3. BobC

    BobC Medium Load Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    Cincinnati, slOhio
    I don't recall too many times that I absolutely needed 2 hands to drive the truck. Given this, I know there are actions of the job that pretty much dictate having both hands. I won't bother to list my ideas because it's still possible, but more difficult, to perform most of these lacking the other hand.

    I think, depending on the particular job, there should be a place for you in driving a truck either locally or OTR.

    Your future might also require the involvement of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This somewhat requires employers to not discriminate against you if there's a "reasonable" means to accommodate your needs.

    I have a feeling that you'll be needing the services of a lawyer to get you in the door. You might also inquire of the Social Security Admin to provide you with the services of an occupational specialist. I believe these people are available in the yellow pages as well.

    Occupational specialists help determine if a SS applicant is disabled to the point of not being able to perform certain jobs or if there's a job out there for a particular disability.

    Just be sure that this is what you want to do & be ready to bear the consequences of your actions if something does happen that could have been prevented.

    As an additional response; I don't see it as the government discriminating against you. If anyone will be discriminating, it's the insurance companies of the respective carriers. It's not the governments position or power to force you down the respective employers throats.

    They can only present that you are in sufficient physical &/or mental shape to handle the job given some "reasonable" adaptations or modifications to whatever equipment is used in the course of the job.
  4. Ronnocomot

    Ronnocomot Road Train Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Then blind people should be able to drive too.
  5. leannamarie

    leannamarie "California Girl"

    That's not even the same thing. This man is presenting his case of why he is qualified to drive a truck, DOT is willing to give him a waiver, and he already drives a specially equipped non-commerical truck. If you think that there are reasons why he needs two arms, that is what he is asking for. A blind person driving is just idiotic.
  6. wallbanger

    wallbanger "Enemy of showers everywhere"

    How can you say that? His situation is very different from a blind person driving; if you have nothing constructive to add, then please keep your mouth shut.

    I think Bob hit all the points on the head, I know I have read stories (in the trucking mags) about disabled drivers (one was missing a leg) and all of them had to get some legal help involved. The only difference is that those drivers were experienced when they had their disabling accidents. But realistically, your lack of an arm shouldn't hold you back, esp since a lot of the drivers nowadays seem to suffer from lack of a brain.

    So good luck!
  7. bandit24

    bandit24 Light Load Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Near Charlottesville, VA
    Thanks Leannamarie, Wallbanger, Bobc!! Your imput is much appreciated.

    I didn't mean to sound harsh to the Govt, but their requirements dictate that both the physician and the company I work for must co-sign the waiver. My issue was that this would LOCK me into beholding to the company. Wonder what if I wanted to be an O/O. Guess I, the owner of the company could sign it. Bet that would go over great.
  8. Pur48Ted

    Pur48Ted Road Train Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Personally, I have nothing against a disabled driver, I have met a couple of drivers that were paraplegics. They had their trucks modified with a "crane" to lift them and their chairs in and out of their trucks. I have heard of a few with prosthetic arms/hands as well. They got the necessary "waivers".
    That being said, I DO NOT think that it is safe for a driver to operate a large vehicle unless he has the full use of both arms/hands, especially in case of an emergency, such as a steer tire blow-out or icy roads. But that is only my opinion.

    It seems that if you are able to get a waiver, it isn't the Federal Government that is discriminating against you, and I don't think the Companies are either. It might simply be a matter of Insurance Companies. THEY are the ones that create the rules, after-all.
  9. knighted

    knighted Bobtail Member

    Jul 28, 2007
    This is possible. I have a few handicaps I have to overcome. Biggest is PTSD, I have to show and then convince the doc's that I am going to flip out while driving. Not easily demonstrated in a three minute interview at a company.

    I have also seen one armed drivers, one legged drivers. Personally I have nerve damage in my left arm which limits its strength and range of motion. I'm right handed however and only need my right arm to shift.

    Here is what I see as your options:
    Find a few companies your are interested in driving for. Call the headquarters (not the recruiters) and give them your situation and what you are looking at doing (OTR, Regional, local). Get in touch with the safety department if possible. Ask them flat out if it would be a waste of time even applying. If not then what paperwork do need to get and bring to show you are capable of doing the work. No sense in showing up and having to jump all over the place trying to gather paper at the last minute.

    Second option is getting your own authority and insurance. Going O/O. More expensive and more of a pain but it removes liability from the company to you. Investigate this before doing it, please.

    I recommend the first option until it is exhausted.
  10. bandit24

    bandit24 Light Load Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Near Charlottesville, VA
    Thats the best info yet. I needed the options. This was beginning to look impossible.
  11. dancnoone

    dancnoone "Village Idiot"

    May 6, 2007
    I think you need to re-read his original post. The DOT has not given him one. And they most certianlly are NOT willing to give him one. He has not met their requirements, or he would have one in possesion right now.

    If he has one, he does not need to make ANY company aware of his handi-cap prior to employment. He need only show up at orientation and be sent home. Then he has a lawsuit.

    The DOT provides guidelines for this based on what the FED tells them. Just like they (the Fed & state) provide guidelines for Police Officers.

    Even a quadraplegic can fire a gun. But, will he be able to make it through the Police Academy? And why would I support wasting my tax dollars to test that idea? Since he obviously will not be able to drive the car, run a mile, draw his weapon, fire, and reload in a set amount of time. This is not descrimination, it is a fact of life.
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