Finally! I'm Able To Get A Class A CDL With Monocular Vision.

Topic 33824 | Page 1

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Maggs's Comment
member avatar

Howdy all, After many years of research, jumping through hoops, and wasting time waiting to hear back from government agencies, I am finally scheduled to start CDL training here in Columbia, MO at a community college (200 hours, they are in the FMCSA registry).

Quick back-story: I have limited, uncorrectable vision in my left eye from a childhood accident (piece of glass pierced my pupil, leaving a tear-drop/cat's-eye appearance!) It's like having blurry, peripheral vision only, if I close my right eye, if that helps describe it. This kept me from passing the Marine Corps MEPS when I was a kid during Desert Shield (Would have been nice to know before I spent 15 months with my depot recruiter while earning college credits! I promised if I got shot in my right eye I would keep fighting, they didn't buy it.) Kept me from a law enforcement career for the same reason. I was able to work as a Corrections Officer for awhile, but I was grey in the tooth :) when I did that....not for me!

I went through the steps of data collection so I could get a vision waiver back in 2015, but after six months of me asking "Do you need anything else from me?" at the FMCSA, they came back at the 11th hour and said they needed more information and I would have to re-submit; fugitaboutit!

So with the changes that happened to the rules in February 2022, I am finally able (I have it in hand!) to get the waiver and schedule with a medical examiner.

After a lifetime (I'm 52) of on-and-off again trying, I can finally do what I want-ish. I drove a rollback for awhile (12-hour days, customer-facing issues, etc) and enjoyed the responsibility.

I said all that to say this: THANK YOU! Without this site, Brett, and everyone who has cared enough to reply to questions (whether I asked them or someone else) my path would have been less informed, not as humorous, and certainly missed, knowing what I know now.

post-script: I've always taken on the hardest challenge when it's an option; wanted to excel at tasks that nobody even wanted to start. I would love your input on a couple things because I'm not going to assume your answers over the years on these forums have remained steadfast, although they probably have.

I'm interested in driving tanker. The technicalities of the position excite me (simmer down). My TWIC is in the mail (I try to be prepared as possible going into any situation) and will get my haz-mat started once I have my permit in hand. If that's not a possibility for the inexperienced, or because of my location, then car-hauling or livestock appears interesting (I know I wouldn't be the favorite guy at the truck stop!)

We're empty nesters. The better-half is secure in her position and thinks she's ok with my being away (a little TOO ok now that I'm thinking about it!) OTR is certainly on the table. I know it's hard for anyone to tell anyone else what they should/should not do without intimate knowledge of the person, but I respect your experience and suggestions.

Know of any companies that will be hiring in the 65203 area code the beginning of April 2024?

Stay safe. May God bless. Don McGee (Maggs)

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.

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

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Maggs, Congratulations - I know this feels good!

I just wanted to clarify a few things just in case your comments may be confusing to anyone. There is no longer a vision "waiver." The old system used a waiver, and it often limited the driver to intrastate driving. The new rules use an "Alternate Vision Standard."

Under this system a driver, or potential driver, takes the alternate vision paperwork to their eye doctor and gets them to fill out the questions as required. Then the filled form is taken to the medical examiner. The form overrides the standard vision exam, but the driver must test properly with their good eye and must have a specified amount of peripheral vision with that same eye.

I've been driving OTR for two years now under this new system. It was a real blessing for me.

I wish you all the best Maggs! I hope to see you out here someday.

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.

Intrastate:

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

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Congrats on sticking with it. Alot of folks would have given up.

I pulled tankers many years. I enjoyed it, but you seriously need to get at least 1 yr of driving under your belt. Tankers are a different breed.

Most tanker companies, reputable ones anyway will require at least 1 yr before they will even accept your application. Prime is just up the road from you as well as several other companies in the Springfield/Straffod area.

Where a terminal or main office isn’t important if your OTR , the amount of freight a company has in your area is ehat is important.

Hopefully the industry turns around sooner than later, it has been a real mess the past couple of years.

Best wishes and please keep us posted on your progress!!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

BK's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations and my great admiration and respect for what you have accomplished despite your vision problem. Maybe we should call you Old School Jr. lol.

Dm:

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.
Maggs's Comment
member avatar

Maggs, Congratulations - I know this feels good!

I just wanted to clarify a few things just in case your comments may be confusing to anyone. There is no longer a vision "waiver." The old system used a waiver, and it often limited the driver to intrastate driving. The new rules use an "Alternate Vision Standard."

Under this system a driver, or potential driver, takes the alternate vision paperwork to their eye doctor and gets them to fill out the questions as required. Then the filled form is taken to the medical examiner. The form overrides the standard vision exam, but the driver must test properly with their good eye and must have a specified amount of peripheral vision with that same eye.

I've been driving OTR for two years now under this new system. It was a real blessing for me.

I wish you all the best Maggs! I hope to see you out here someday.

Thanks Old School. I hear ya. Especially with the current freight situation, I’m keeping my options open. But you’re right and I knew it, tanker doesn’t come with training wheels. I’ve got my eyes on Schneider because they have different freight moving lanes; everything but flatbed I believe. I was thinking of going van/reefer for a year or more then see about sliding into tanker with them. This is another reason I want to have all endorsements (except bus/passenger, not my taste). Just to make myself marketable. thank-you.gif

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.

Intrastate:

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Maggs's Comment
member avatar

Congrats on sticking with it. Alot of folks would have given up.

I pulled tankers many years. I enjoyed it, but you seriously need to get at least 1 yr of driving under your belt. Tankers are a different breed.

Most tanker companies, reputable ones anyway will require at least 1 yr before they will even accept your application. Prime is just up the road from you as well as several other companies in the Springfield/Straffod area.

Where a terminal or main office isn’t important if your OTR , the amount of freight a company has in your area is ehat is important.

Hopefully the industry turns around sooner than later, it has been a real mess the past couple of years.

Best wishes and please keep us posted on your progress!!

Thanks PJ!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Maggs's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations and my great admiration and respect for what you have accomplished despite your vision problem. Maybe we should call you Old School Jr. lol.

dancing-banana.gif Yea! …wait…

Dm:

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.
Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Hi Maggs. I don't know if every state sets their rules on this or if it's federal and they're all the same, but at least in Illinois I had to have my CDL Class A before I could test for the HazMat endorsement, and prior to that you need to go through the TSA Threat Assessment. So not sure if you'd have the same process in Missouri or if they let you get HM on your CLP. 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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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