Feds greenlight truckers with impaired vision

Some truck drivers who are partially blind will be allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles, federal regulators said Thursday.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will exempt 14 truck drivers who suffer from poor vision, including some who are blind in one eye, from rules that would otherwise prohibit them from driving commercial vehicles.

"They are unable to meet the vision requirement in one eye for various reasons," the FMCSA wrote in the Federal Register. "The exemptions will enable these individuals to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce without meeting the prescribed vision requirement in one eye."

The FMCSA is also considering exemptions for another 35 truck drivers who also have impaired vision.

Most of these drivers can only see effectively through one eye and have serious problems with the other eye, including in some cases, a complete loss of vision, according to the FMCSA.

For many of these truck drivers, their poor vision is the result of childhood traumas, the agency said.

The exemptions come amidst heightened concern truck driver safety following a crash that nearly killed comedian Tracy Morgan earlier this year. 

But the FMCSA said these partially blind truck drivers have good enough vision in one of their eyes that they can safety operate a commercial vehicle.