CDL-A Vision Questions

Topic 30854 | Page 1

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Wile E.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm seriously considering getting back into truck driving. It's been a long time since I drove, so I would be starting from scratch. My big concern is the vision requirements. I have an issue in one eye (lower hemisphere loss of vision) that makes reading with that eye extremely difficult. Due to the nature of the damage, I have a full field of vision in the upper hemisphere, and still have good depth perception. I've had this since 2004, and it has remained stable.

Questions:

1 - Under current DOT vision requirements, could I qualify for a waiver?

2 - I'm aware that there is a proposed change to the FMCSA vision requirements that may make it easier for those with issues to qualify. Does anyone know if or when those new standards will take effect?

Thanks for your input!

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

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Wile, how do you do when reading a Snellen eye chart? The current requirement is that you must be able to read the 20/40 line on a standard Snellen eye chart. You have to be able to do that with both eyes, and with each individual eye.

Under current DOT vision requirements, could I qualify for a waiver?

Yes, but you would be limited to intrastate driving within the state of your residency. There is a waiver for OTR , but currently you have to have three years experience driving intrastate with a waiver before you can qualify for it.

I'm aware that there is a proposed change to the FMCSA vision requirements that may make it easier for those with issues to qualify. Does anyone know if or when those new standards will take effect?

I have been following this. Nobody knows when this will take effect. This is American bureaucracy at work. Their wheels turn slowly. I am confident this will get done. They have recently finished up the time for public comment on the proposed changes, so it will be looked into again at their next meeting on these matters. These type regulations are not handled by legislators but it is all done through the Federal Register by un-elected officials appointed for this purpose.

Almost every time they meet about this they put the ball in someone else's court. It is typical bureaucratic gamesmanship to try and avoid any responsibility for their decisions. Once the FMCSA decides something they send it over to the Medical Review Board to get their opinions. Then the Medical Review Board will send their recommendations back to the FMCSA or to the public for more comments on the proposed changes. They play this back and forth game until they get such a convoluted ruling that nobody knows who added what and then they adopt it knowing they can blame the other party if it all back fires on them.

OTR:

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.

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

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wile E.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School, thanks for the reply.

First, it's good to read that your situation is improving. Hoping you fully recover.

As for me reading a 20/40 line on the Snellen chart, it's iffy at best. Best I can describe what I see is this: if you're reading a line of text roughly the size of the 20/40 line on the chart, there is a fuzzy, slightly wavy line horizontally through the center of the line of text. Because it's fuzzy, the upper half of the letters (which is what I see) is difficult to make out. Below the fuzzy line is nothing (blindness). Moving up the chart, the bigger letters are easier to see. That's how my optometrist sets the correction in that eye, by the clarity with which I can see the larger letters. I have the full field of vision in the upper half. This week, I found a chart online that is designed for 10 feet, and I've been looking at that. Sometimes I can make out the 20/32 line on that chart, sometimes the 20/40 line is too fuzzy to read.

I may try to take the physical. If I can't pass the reading test, I'll have to wait and see if the new rules go into effect soon. If I can pass the test, I would still make any driving school and/or prospective employer fully aware.

Again, thanks for the help!

John

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Wile/John,

What can be done to improve your vision? Please explain to those of us who know nothing about your condition what treatments are available. Is surgery an option? How does your condition affect your road vision? I'm just curious to know more about your condition.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

0211963001633096412.jpg

0988303001633096449.jpg

Top photo gives you an idea of my left eye. Bottom photo is normal right eye. Focal point is the tree circled in red. The condition is Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. The damage is caused by a temporary interruption to the blood supply to the optic nerve. It was caused by a mini stroke (TIA) in 2004, which I think was caused by an OTC cold medication I was using at the time, which interestingly was pulled from the market not too long after my TIA. But I can't prove it. There is no surgical repair.

Looking at a line of text, that jagged line, which is considerably fuzzier than my pic shows, allows me to see a few letters, the top half of some of the letters, and almost obscures some letters. Thus, the smaller the letters, the harder to see. There's a dip on the left side, and I can easily see objects in my left rear view mirror using only my left eye. Field of vision is full in the areas I see. The vision in the bad eye is a clear as the pictures suggest in that upper portion. My contacts/glasses correction is the same in both eyes. Depth perception is good. The condition is stable, and has been the whole time.

Wile E.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School,

I found this online regarding the proposed FMCSA change. You've probably already seen it, but just in case here's a link:

Medical board supports vision policy changes

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.
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