Disabled Persons and Transportation Jobs – The Possibilities | disABLED Person, Inc.
Can Disabled Persons Qualify For Transportation Jobs?
If your disability doesn't keep you from being able to drive, a transportation job can be the perfect employment for disabled persons that would like to earn a little extra money or to help make ends meet. Even vehicles that aren't outfitted for a disabled driver can undergo a few quick modifications to meet the needs of a special-needs driver, qualifying both driver and vehicle in sharing roads and highways with other drivers.
Whether you're interested in getting behind the wheel for work or you're an experienced disabled driver yourself, transportation jobs for disabled people can represent an opportunity to enter the work force and achieve more autonomy in life. But before you run out and apply for a transportation job, here's what you should know.
Disabled Driving Laws
To protect the rights of disabled persons, there are several federal laws in place that allow disabled people to drive a car on public roads. While there are various physical and other disabilities that may influence your capabilities while driving, the law stipulates that a driving disability is defined by the loss of use of at least one limb, in addition to requiring modifications or adjustments to effectively operate a vehicle.
Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled persons against discrimination in the workplace. This means that regardless of your disability, the DMV can't preclude you from obtaining a driver's license if you're able to engage in safe driving.
If you don't already have a license, you'll have to notify your state of your disability to obtain a restricted license, which will have provisions for impaired vision, hearing or mobility. With the right mobility equipment installed, you'll be able to obtain a license as long as you can satisfy the requirements.
Driver and Vehicle Requirements
For disabled persons that are interested in transportation jobs, the first requirement is to have a valid state driver's license. If you don't have a license yet, seek out a local driving center where you can practice and learn the skills you'll need on the road. A disabled driver must be at least 16 years of age and must pass a written and road test under the watchful eye of a disabled driving instructor.
That said, driving on the road also requires a capable vehicle that can meet the needs of a disabled driver. Modifications vary across makes and models, as well as the unique needs of the driver, but vehicles should have an automatic transmission and easy shifting via button-less control. As for the rest of the vehicle, power steering, power locks, power seats and power windows are preferable versus manual options that may be hard to manipulate out on the road.
Some drivers may require a lift to get into and out of the vehicle, in addition to hand grips or a transfer board to help expedite the process. For drivers that are unable to manipulate the pedals under their feet, special hand controls will need to be installed to enable full functionality. For those that require steering assistance, keep in mind that some tools, such as steering spinner knobs, are outlawed in some states while they continue to be allowed in others.
What About Parking?
While commercial vehicles don't always abide by regular parking laws, disabled parking permits may give an advantage to drivers and vehicles that have obtained a doctor's note. These parking permits are highly affordable and permit a driver and their vehicle to park conveniently right in front of buildings and in easily accessible spots on the street.