The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has waived the federal hearing standard for 40 deaf or hard-of-hearing people who want to get commercial driver licenses, the agency said Friday.
In a Federal Register notice, FMCSA said granting the exemptions “will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions.” The drivers must apply for exemptions again in two years if they want to keep driving.
The National Association of the Deaf petitioned for some of the exemptions last year and then added others in February 2012. Friday’s announcement is the first time the hearing standard has been waived, NAD said.
“The hearing standard is the kind of institutionalized discrimination based on stereotyped assumptions, rather than on data or facts, that the NAD has fought to change for many years,” said Howard Rosenblum, NAD’s chief executive officer.