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9th Circuit: UPS Can't Refuse to Consider Hearing-Impaired Drivers

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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:11 PM
Original message
9th Circuit: UPS Can't Refuse to Consider Hearing-Impaired Drivers
9th Circuit: UPS Can't Refuse to Consider Hearing-Impaired Drivers


At issue was UPS' policy mandating that its drivers pass a government hearing test, even though the test isn't required to operate many of the company's vehicles. UPS argued its exclusion policies were designed with safety in mind. But the court said that a blanket determination of safety can't be made on the basis of disability.
/snip/
That reasoning shifted the burden of proof to UPS, which had to prove the driving job mandated the strict government hearing test required by the company.

"UPS didn't show persuasively that hearing-impaired people were more likely to have accidents," Heller Ehrman partner Andrew Livingston said. "And the flip side, it didn't show that there was no way to determine whether or not hearing-impaired drivers present a heightened risk."

Comment
Test shouldn't be required for any of the vehicles period. The only exception would be if assistance is required through verbal directions from another person while outside the vehicle. But even then if the driver is using a hearing-aid it shouldn't matter.

I am severely hearing-impaired and operated a fork-truck at place of employment since 1993. Recently, the company in conjuction with our union was requiring anyone driving vehicles in the plant to start taking annual hearing-test. I was able to convince the company nurse, doctor and management to exempt me from taking that particular test. I argued that I have been hearing-impaired since birth, there has been no major change, and that I regularly get a real hearing-test at my audiologist when getting a new hearing-aid every 3 years. Besides I don't use my hearing-aid while working because it actually makes it more difficult to hear.
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beyurslf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Does one need to hear to drive?
I have a good friend who is legally deaf. I am pretyt sure he has a DL--at least I have seen him drive.
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carzen Donating Member (112 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. No, deafness does not bar you from getting a driver's license
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Show_Me _The_Truth Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. But it makes a great case in court with a plantiff's attorney
I can hear it now after a car plows into a UPS truck, "UPS was irresponsible in hiring a deaf driver b/c he could not hear my client's horn as he was speeding through the intersection..."

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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. UPS is going to say "So What"
UPS's Attorney is going to say, "So What", the horn is intended to warn people that the driver is in trouble, the Horn does NOT relieve the driver of his DUTY to avoid an Accident. Thus the fact that the Driver hit a UPS truck with a deaf driver will NOT relieve the driver of the car of FULL RESPONSIBILITY for the accident.

I also do NOT see a Judge or Jury finding that the failure to hear a horn makes UPS or the UPS Driver liable for the accident.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. There are some special requirements for deaf drivers in my state
They have to equip their cars with extra mirrors, for example.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. I did not see any special requirements for California at DMV site
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I think you are right
I thought they had to have passenger-side mirrors. I must have been mistaken.

FWIW I have a lazy eye, and always equip vehicles with passenger-side mirrors and extra large rear-view mirrors. The three-panel Wink mirror clips onto a standard one, so there is no drilling involved.

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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Those that know their limitations should make proper adaptations
Passenger-side mirrors I thought were standard for all vehicles. If not, 99% or more probably have them.

I've wanted to find different mirrors for my car but never could find anything near what I wanted. The ones that came with car do not adjust to location I want. Rear-view mirrors work fine for me. They apparently don't for about 40% of drivers. Those 40% or so always change back to right lane before they should. They don't know they should wait until they see passed vehicle in their rear-view mirror.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. They don't require hearing test at BMV
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Stargleamer Donating Member (636 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
5. I've always wondered how deaf drivers could be . . .
aware of ambulances and fire trucks coming. I guess they're more aware of the possibility of them being around, so drive with that awareness in mind.

Another point: The 9th Circuit often rules correctly, only to have Scalia, Thomas, (and now Alito) strike the decision down.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. wel I often can't hear ambulances or police cars either
with the windows up and the a/c fan and probably the radio on. Cars are so well-insulated for sound these days it's often hard to hear emergency vehicles.
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greeneyedboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Deaf people are also less distracted, so it balances out.
I know many Deaf people and they are all excellent drivers. And growing up communicating visually seems to help them develop AMAZING peripheral vision and spatial memory. Go into a windowless building, walk up a few flights of stairs, go down several curvy halls with a Deaf person, and they will know which direction you're facing w/o any problem.

Glad the 9th Circuit didn't buy UPS's argument.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. That is what eyes and mirrors are intended.
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Brian Stevens Donating Member (389 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
14. And as always it will be overturned
It seems every case that comes out of the 9th doesn't count and deemed unimportant. :mad:
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
15. i have a CDL. you have to have a certain level of hearing to drive a truck
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 09:49 PM by sam sarrha
you have to take a physical and carry you med card at all times.

if the DOT changes the rules.. no problem
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