The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted the first exemption to rules for interstate commercial drivers when it comes to hearing standards.
Forty individuals received permission to operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce effective last Friday. It’s good for two years and may be renewed.
The request was made of the agency last May, with comments taken until the end of July. FMCSA received 570 responses.
Several of the applicants had previous experience driving interstate and became unable to pass the required hearing test, while others had been involved in intrastate commerce, were bus drivers, had driven smaller commercial vehicles or were looking to become first-time truckers.
In announcing its decisions, the FMCSA said “granting exemptions for these CMV (commercial motor vehicle) drivers will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions.
Current FMCSA standards for hearing were adopted more than 40 years ago.
The applicants received assistance from the National Association of the Deaf. The association cited and FMCSA Medical Review Board study from 2008 that examined the relationship between hearing loss and crash risk exclusively among CMV drivers, as well as evidence from studies of the private bus driver license holder population, saying these studies do not support the contention that individuals with hearing impairment are at an increased risk for crash.
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