MS Bill Would Allow Vision-Impaired Truck Drivers

MS Bill Would Allow Vision-Impaired Truck Drivers

Lawmakers in Mississippi are showing support for legislation that would allow people with vision problems to drive 18-wheelers. House Bill 441 would let truckers with only one good eye get their commercial driver's licenses.
DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Do you need two eyes on the road at all times? In Mississippi, many lawmakers support legislation to give people with vision problems the right to drive 18-wheelers

House Bill 441 would let truckers with only one good eye get their commercial driver's licenses.

"I'd rather know a guy can see out of both eyes and can see both lanes. I don't want my truck on his blindside," says trucker Don Fletcher. He frequently gets his eyes examined for work.

"I have to qualify with glasses and everything else to be able to drive."

He’s not convinced those who can’t pass in both eyes should be able to get their licenses.

"I've got a brother that only has one eye. I wouldn't want him behind the wheel of one. He has a hard time driving a car."

"Look at all accidents you have out there now. What's going to happen down the road?"

"I was trained how to drive and haul gasoline by a guy with only one eye," says Rich Hillis. "He could park that truck better than I could."

"We don't have a rear view mirror. All we have are side view mirrors. If you can't see out of one side then how are you going to know if someone's coming up beside you? You're going to run someone over," Fletcher tells abc24.com.

The law comes with a few caveats. Drivers would have to get a yearly eye exam. The sight in their good eye must be 20/40 or better.

"As long as the person is capable -- he doesn't have a lot of peripheral -- but as long as you react, I don't see a problem with that. I don't," Hillis says.

Fletcher disagrees. "The legislature needs to think about that. Do they want to be in that lane? The lane that man can't see in?"

The bill would only cover truckers driving within Mississippi so they could not leave the state.

It passed the House this week with 111 yes votes to five no votes; it’s now under consideration in the Senate.

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