Trucking With A Disability: A Few Questions.

Topic 21053 | Page 1

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Ken L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey all,

Just getting into trucking. About 1/2 way through school and excited to get on the road and put in the miles. So, as the subject line states, I have a disability that requires me to wear leg braces, and use a cane. I am more than confident I can perform all the duties required to do the job, and so are my instructors.

There may be certain times I may need to “modify” the way I do physical tasks like tarping and load securement in order to complete things safely, but I always get the job done.

Do companies understand and work with these kinds of situations pretty well?

If so, which companies has anyone had experiences with? Good or bad.

Any thoughts or advice on this would be a great help.

Thanks in advance!

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Hi Ken, welcome to the forum.

While I don't know the specific answer to your question of whether some companies will work with a driver with disabilities, I'm concerned whether you know what you'll be up against in some situations.

By mentioning tarping and securing, you're obviously referring to flatbedding. Many times you'll be faced with pretty difficult, physically challenging conditions. The tarps alone are quite a struggle at times. Add to that the loads that you'll need to crawl up on to place straps/chains in just the right position. Then add some snow & Ice to the mix. Then the wind.

You may be able to modify your methods to offset your disabilities, but keep in mind that at times there will be a line of trucks waiting for you to get out of the way so that they can load/unload, tarp/untarp. Or there will be times that the forklift operator is under a tight schedule, trying to keep the line moving. There is often alot of pressure to move at max safe speed for the greater good of the whole. Not a deal-breaker, but a factor to consider.

Please understand, by no means am I saying that it can't be done. I've seen some flatbedders who absolutely amaze me at what they can do. I just wanted to add a little more for you to consider. Good luck!

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I would say your best bet is dry van. There is not much physical labor with that. You need to be able to duck under the trailer to make sure your king pin is securely locked. You will need to be able to crank the landing gear up and down and be able to climb in and out of the trailer to sweep it out or add straps or loadlocks to your load. You will also need to be able to raise and lower the hood and check and add fluids like oil, coolant and washer fluid. Try doing all of that every day in school to see what it's like.

As far as flatbed, it's more than tarping and strapping. Sometimes you have to climb onto the loads to get your tarp on and off. Tarps are bulky and heavy.

Refer has a little more work than dry van as you have the refer unit to fuel and mess with.

You will have much to learn when you first start out. Many fleets are switching to autoshift, so that would be easier for you. As long as you have your DOT med card and CDL A, I don't think you shoulf have to much trouble getting a job. Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Ken L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the thoughtful replies to my question and concerns. It is much appreciated.

I’m not considering flatbed as an option, more as an example as to what I’ve done and where I’m at in training so far.

I have family in the industry and have a pretty good idea of what the job entails and how much more there is to it than “driving”. Although I have all endorsements, and a passport, I’m pretty sure dry van may be my best bet to start with. Then possibly tanker division a few years down the road...?

I definitely appreciate the feedback and advice You both touched on a few points I hadn’t considered.

Thank you!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Team 1 Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Ken, I also wear leg braces due to bilateral drop foot. I was concerned at first because there are a lot more physical requirements than one might expect. I really would love to flatbed, but Felt it would be best to start with dry van. So far it's working out well. I've graduated school, gone through orientation and 6 weeks of over the road training. I'm just finishing my first week solo and heading home tomorrow for some much needed time with my bride. Glad she's totally on board with this adventure. Good luck to you.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
K.R.'s Comment
member avatar

As a note, I've had an excellent experience so far with Werner with their ability to accommodate as I've needed, and no one has blinked twice over the fact that I use a crutch to walk with. Talk to them, they have training programs in several areas of the country and it might work out for you?

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Steve S. C.'s Comment
member avatar

Tarping is by far the hardest physical part about flatbed. Talk to your company about getting a roll tarp or a covered wagon. I have heard rumors of Maverick letting physically disabled drivers use covered wagons and roll tarps. I am in one of Maverick's dedicated glass divisions now and almost never have anything other than a roll tarp trailer. I am in good shape for early 30s and I hated doing tarps in flat bed especially the huge lumber tarps. I would do refrigerated if I had leg issues personally. There is a big demand for it and Maverick almost pays the Temp control the same amount as flat bed. Plus you can sometimes get more miles doing temp control if you get drop and hook loads. I lost a lot of driving time tarping and waiting to load in flatbed.

Good luck finding what works for you.

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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