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.