Looking To Get My CDL-A, And Need Info Regarding Vision Exemption Program...

Topic 26151 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
spinfreak's Comment
member avatar

I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.....

Back in the late 90’s, I was going to acquire my A license in NJ. Passed all written tests (all endorsements, etc), but when it came to vision, I didn’t meet the requirements. My right eye is 20/15, which is better than 20/20, but my left eye has a major astigmatisms, and is crap. Combined vision is 20/15, but at the time, they judged each eye independently, So I didn’t quality for Interstate driving, but could have gotten my Intrastate license, but passed.

Fast forward to recently, and I found out that there’s a possible vision expedition, but hadn’t looked into it at the time. Now, I’ve been looking into it, My vision is better than the exemption requirements, but it seems to me that the exemption is for drivers that already have their CDL , but their vision has deteriorated. I’m trying to get a definitive answer.

I’ve chatted online with the main FMCSA office in DC, and they referred me to their phone number. I’ve called countless times over the past couple weeks, and cannot get a hold of a love person. I’ve left numerous voicemails, and have not yet gotten a call back.

Today, I reached out to the local FMCSA office here in Florida (I relocated to FL from NJ 17 years ago), and they said I would need to talk to the national office. So I’m kind of at a dead end. I can’t talk to anyone at the national office, and the local office says to talk to national. Wtf?

Does anyone have any personal experience with the vision exemption program, or might know of who I can contact?

If the exemption is only for existing CDL holders, is there any other way/program that I would be able to acquire my Interstate CDL? As I mentioned, my combined vision is better than the vision exemption requirements, so I’d imagine that the here should be a way for me to get it.

If I cannot quality for the exemption as of now, And there is no other method for me to get my Interstate license initially, then I’d assume the only other way I’d be able to get it is to get my Intrastate license, get the experience on the road, and then try to go through the exemption to get my Interstate license somewhere down the road?

Sorry for the long post, but it’s as short as I could get it, while also explaining my current understanding of things. Lol. Thanks for any and all help/info

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Why not just go get an eye exam and glasses to fix it....

I thought I had great eyes, I can see way down the road etc, just need me some $1 store readers for reading lol Proof that computer screens for 25 years, and mig welding took its toll on my eyes

Well,at DOT I couldn't read line 5 on the chart......$115 at eye Dr's, I got the cheapest ugliest glasses in 2 hours , just to pass exam (now to carry em along and have it on my new license oh well) Found out my vision was 20/40 hmmmm Then read line 9 on the chart hahahaha

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.

Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Why not just go get an eye exam and glasses to fix it....

I thought I had great eyes, I can see way down the road etc, just need me some $1 store readers for reading lol Proof that computer screens for 25 years, and mig welding took its toll on my eyes

Well,at DOT I couldn't read line 5 on the chart......$115 at eye Dr's, I got the cheapest ugliest glasses in 2 hours , just to pass exam (now to carry em along and have it on my new license oh well) Found out my vision was 20/40 hmmmm Then read line 9 on the chart hahahaha

It sounds to me like he has something a little worse than what pair of glasses would fix. I wear hard contact lenses to correct my vision for DOT. No pair of glasses would be strong enough. As he stated above. My left eye is 20/30...my right eye is 20/200. I couldn’t read line 1 on the DOT chart. Corrected both eyes read 20/30.

To the OP...you may need to spend a little at an ophthalmologist. They look in, around, behind your eye and give you a full list of options. I too thought I was done...until I found the specialist. Good luck.

Oh...btw...these are specialist. My doctor takes my medical insurance AND NOT any sort of vision plan.

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.

spinfreak's Comment
member avatar

Why not just go get an eye exam and glasses to fix it....

I thought I had great eyes, I can see way down the road etc, just need me some $1 store readers for reading lol Proof that computer screens for 25 years, and mig welding took its toll on my eyes

Well,at DOT I couldn't read line 5 on the chart......$115 at eye Dr's, I got the cheapest ugliest glasses in 2 hours , just to pass exam (now to carry em along and have it on my new license oh well) Found out my vision was 20/40 hmmmm Then read line 9 on the chart hahahaha

I wish it were that simple. Lenses won’t help, nor would LASIK. My left eye has been this way since birth, and the only reasoning for me to wear glasses would be to protect anything from every damaging my right eye because if something were to happen to that eye, I’m screwed. But I like living dangerously, so don’t wear them. Lol.

My right eye is 20/15. My combined vision is 20/15 (my right eye is predominant, so my left eye doesn’t affect my combined vision). But my left eye on its own is 20/2000 😂

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.

spinfreak's Comment
member avatar

Isn’t there anybody on here that has had real world experience with the vision exemption program? There’s gotta be....

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Isn’t there anybody on here that has had real world experience with the vision exemption program? There’s gotta be....

I've never heard of anyone getting a vision exemption. I know in recent years they've given out quite a few hearing exemptions, but I think vision exemptions are going to be a really tough sell. With reasonably good vision in only one eye, I'm not sure how you could have good depth perception. I can only imagine how much it must also limit your overall field of vision or peripheral vision.

spinfreak's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Isn’t there anybody on here that has had real world experience with the vision exemption program? There’s gotta be....

double-quotes-end.png

I've never heard of anyone getting a vision exemption. I know in recent years they've given out quite a few hearing exemptions, but I think vision exemptions are going to be a really tough sell. With reasonably good vision in only one eye, I'm not sure how you could have good depth perception. I can only imagine how much it must also limit your overall field of vision or peripheral vision.

They actually have an entire department at FMCSA for diabetes and vision exemptions. It’s just impossible to get anyone on the darn phone. I’m not sure when they started the program, but as far as I’m aware, it didn’t exist when I first attempted to get my CDL back around the late 90’s or so. While doing reading on it, there’s been exemptions for people that have completely lost vision in one eye.

That being said, my overall/combined vision isn’t affected at all by the “disability” in my left eye. As mentioned, my combined vision is 20/15, which is better than “perfect” (20/20). No problems with depth perception or anything g else is the sort.

My only “concern” with the program is that the paperwork makes it appear that the program is for existing CDL holders that become impaired (it doesn’t specifically say so, but the way it’s worded makes one assume so). If my vision is better than the requirements of the program, I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t qualify, regardless of holding a CDL or not. But it’s seeming like I have a better chance of hitting the lottery than being able to get someone on the phone to find out the specifics

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Get in contact with Dr. John McElligutt at Dr. John’s Medical Solutions. He’ll have an honest answer and all the facts for you. Go to his website and post your question there, or call the office number. He’s been The Truckers Doctor for more than 30 years and truly wants to help those that drive.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
spinfreak's Comment
member avatar

Get in contact with Dr. John McElligutt at Dr. John’s Medical Solutions. He’ll have an honest answer and all the facts for you. Go to his website and post your question there, or call the office number. He’s been The Truckers Doctor for more than 30 years and truly wants to help those that drive.

Thanks for the info. I’ll get in touch with him 👍

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More