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FMCSA exemptions allow some partial blind truckers to drive

Everyone is likely aware that there are general guidelines that all drivers on the road must follow. Where commercial trucks are concerned, the rules are even stricter. These regulations, designed to keep both truck drivers as well as others on the roads safe, pertain not only to the way in which the truck must be handled but the condition the drivers can be in as well. There are certain things a driver must be able to do to be safe while driving a vehicle. Most would likely agree that being able to see well is one of those things and unsurprisingly there are federal visions requirements in place. These requirements make it so that drivers who do not see well cannot operate commercial motor vehicles

Readers may be surprised to learn however that despite this rule, some drivers are receiving exemptions to driver commercial vehicles despite only being able to see out of one eye. These exemptions are provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In the last several months more that 100 drivers of trucks have received exemptions. Some deaf drivers have also received exemptions from the FMCSA. Before receiving such an exemption the drivers are reportedly put through a thorough screening.

Disability advocates believe the exemptions are appropriate and reference a study which revealed that these drivers are actually 20 percent less likely to be involved in accidents. Those on the other end of the spectrum claim that in issuing the exemptions the FMCSA is putting all drivers on the road at risk.

There is likely more to come on this topic. In the meantime however, when a truck accident is the result of the actions of a truck driver, regardless of how well he or she can see, that individuals as well as the company he or she drivers for could find that they are facing a civil lawsuit.

Source: The Hill, "Truck licenses for the partially blind concern safety advocates," Tim Devaney, Oct. 5, 2014

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