Feds Grant First Exemption for Deaf Commercial Truck Drivers

The video for this lesson contains time sensitive information. Developments in the project discussed in the video which occurred after the release date are not covered in the video or this curriculum. See “Follow-Up Assignments” below for a way of addressing this fact in your lesson plan.

Lesson title

Feds Grant First Exemption for Deaf Commercial Truck Drivers

Video title, link and release date

Feds Grant First Exemption for Deaf Commercial Truck Drivers, June 12, 2013

Video Length

Two minutes, Thirty-six seconds

Grade level

High school


  • On February 1st, the U.S. Department of Transportation made history by granting commercial driving licences to 40 drivers who were deaf or hard of hearing.
  • This means that these drivers are now exempt from hearing standards that kept similar applicants from receiving applicants for decades.
  • The new exemptions are long overdue — a 2008 study showed that drivers with hearing impairments posed no greater danger on the road than those without.
  • The National Association of the Deaf was a major proponent of the new exemptions, claiming that the old DOT guidelines were based on outdated, unfounded stereotypes.

Review Questions

1. When did the National Association of the Deaf file a group of exemption applications?


2. What are some of the new exempted application guidelines?


3. What is the National Association of the Deaf pushing for next?


Freewriting “Journal” Prompt

What about this report do you have questions about?

Why do you think it has taken so long for these changes to be made despite the scientific evidence supporting them?

What do you want to know more about?

Will is the editor for the Galaxy Awareness and History pages as well as one of our pollsters. He is a sophomore at Seattle University majoring in philosophy. His home is La Crosse Wisconsin.

3 responses to “Feds Grant First Exemption for Deaf Commercial Truck Drivers

  1. I have fought for a long time to drive semi trucks. Everyone kept saying I cannot drive due to my hearing lost. Recently, DOT and FMCSA granted exemption to allow qualified deaf drivers but it came in too late due to my health and age, a good 40 years is wasted. I urge DOT and FMCSA to eliminate any rules that were based on myths (related to hearing lost)

  2. A visitor posted a comment that included a question related to this post about how to address a particular disability rights related issue he was experiencing. Disability Rights Galaxy is a news and commentary blog and we do not respond to questions posed by visitors. If you live in a U.S. state or territory and have a disability rights related question, one good source of information may be the protection and advocacy entity within your state. Here’s a link to a list of the P&A entities in each state and territory.

    1. I have been teaching the deaf to drive semi truck for 3 years. I have seen the deaf are safer drivers than hearing people. Dot and fmcsa need to get rid of the hearing requirements. Let the deaf work and treat them fair that’s all anyone wants.

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