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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Can an Amputee Have a CDL?


I receive hundreds of emails from people all across the United States asking questions concerning CDL requirements and assistance with general help topics. It may take me a few days to answer, but I always write back. I enjoy the correspondence with other drivers and especially, the “newbies.” I recently received an email from a gentleman who asked me a question that I have never been asked before in 29 years of trucking. He was an (arm) amputee, and was having trouble with his home state issuing him a CDL. He asked for my help.

I knew what the Regulations had to say about it, but I searched on the internet and was surprised at some of the things I found. One article was written by an employer stating his amazement that an (arm) amputee would even apply for his open truck driving job. I left a comment on his site…I had to!  I would like everyone to know that an amputee, arm or leg, CAN DRIVE a semi tractor-trailer!

People just do not understand the Regulations when it comes to driving a commercial motor vehicle. Can an amputee have a CDL? YES! Can an amputee drive a semi rig? YES! Those whom I call “the foolish ones,” will point out Regulation 391.41(b), which basically states that a person cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle if they have a “loss of a foot, a leg, a hand, or an arm.” BUT, they always seem to miss the next line: except if they have “been granted a skill performance evaluation certificate pursuant to 391.49.”

 Within this section is the key for those with this physical condition: §391.49 Alternative physical qualification standards for the loss or impairment of limbs. All one needs is a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate. This certificate shows that the person seeking a CDL can operate the commercial motor vehicle safely, and that the amputee condition does not interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle.

Several months ago I sat down at a T/A Truck Stop for dinner, and the driver next to me had ONE ARM! He had been driving that way for 16 years! So for all of you people like the above employer: understand about the subject before you write about it! And, for all you who are wondering if an amputee can have a CDL: the answer is a clear and resounding, YES!

 For the complete rules, regulations and explanation for this type of situation, read Regulation 391.49 and if you are an amputee and want to drive the big rigs . . . THEN GO FOR IT!  I’ll ride with you any day, before I ride with the above-mentioned employer!

Good Luck, and KEEP ON ‘TRUCKIN’

About the Author: Aubrey Allen Smith is an expert in motor carrier transportation and an advocate for truck driving safety. Author of the original “Truth About Trucking,” he fights for the rights of truckers by exposing the scams within the trucking industry. Please visit http://www.truthabouttrucking today, if you are considering a truck driving career.

© 2007 – 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 34 year veteran ( started at an early age in family moving business) of the trucking industry, many of those years spent over the road. He has been an owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and has owned and operated a moving company, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. One thing though that most will say is that the reason and motivation behind the author, Allen Smith, is the fact he is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. As you read many of the blog posts you’ll discover that he is opinionated and speaks openly about the ongoing issues of the trucking industry. He supports other fellow advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who are in need of honesty, guidance and direction. The list of supporters and like minded people grows daily and their ability to network together and share their thoughts and ideas for the betterment of others within trucking, has allowed the forward movement of... "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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7 Responses to Can an Amputee Have a CDL?. - Post a Comment

  1. Robert Short

    When I was in school in Tampa a guy had only one leg. The other wooden. He finally passed but they tested him a lot harder & special tougher conditions That was the state doing that.. Don’t know if he got a job. He had also done prison due to having brandishing a gun defending himself.

  2. admin

    Hi Robert,

    Yes, they will usually have to go through stricter testing, since the the Reg’s. state that they must be qualifed to operate safely….thanks for the post.

  3. joe stevens

    I am a left hand amputee. I go for my spe on 12-5-11. I can’t wait to prove every1 wrong. Any one can do anything if they put their mind to it no matter the condition!!!!!!!

    • Michael

      I am a right arm amputee that wants to drive trucks. Everyone tries to discourage me and not wanting to help. I dont know where to start. Could u help.Ive been told so much…i need a automatic truck for school, people doesnt really hire amputees, etc.

    • Rodney

      I am a current cdl driver but having trouble finding a dr in Texas or elsewhere who will do the spe. Any advice

  4. teresa

    How long does it take to get an s.p.e. certificate? The application packet hardly makes sense.

  5. kevin sullivan

    i have had my cdl for 10 years aad went to a doctor for a cdl phyical and this doctor failed me because have onlly two fingers on my hand that happened 35 years ago and that never happend before with any doctor, what do i do

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