Hearing requirement comments now being accepted

December 16, 2019

Mark Schremmer


The FMCSA is now accepting comments regarding the National Association of the Deaf’s petition to rescind the requirement for interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers to be able to hear.

In response to the group’s petition, FMCSA issued a request for public comments, which published in the Federal Register on Monday, Dec. 16. Comments, which can be made here, will be accepted until Feb. 14.

As part of its petition, the National Association of the Deaf said the origins of the hearing requirement “dates to a time of misguided stereotypes about the abilities and inabilities of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals,” and that the rules should be changed.

The current hearing standard was adopted in 1970 and revised in 1971 to allow drivers who were wearing a hearing aid. In 2012, the National Association of the Deaf requested an exemption on behalf of 45 deaf drivers. FMCSA granted exemptions to 40 of the 45 applicants. Since that time, FMCSA has granted more than 450 exemptions to individuals who do not meet the hearing standard.

FMCSA is asking the public to provide information on whether a regulatory change would have an impact on safety and if it would significantly increase the number of individuals seeking employment as interstate truck drivers.