Skill Performance Evaluation Certification Program (SPE) History
The purpose of the SPE Certification Program is to offer certain medically unqualified drivers, who are otherwise qualified (have met the other medical qualifications under Section 391.41 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), an opportunity to obtain an SPE certificate. The SPE certificate allows the SPE applicant to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVS) in interstate commerce. The SPE certification applicant is subject to Federal evaluation policies, practices, procedures and limitations as deemed consistent with public safety. A chronology of the history of the SPE certification program follows:
History of Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate Program
- SPE Certification Program, known as the Handicapped Driver Waiver Program, was created and administered by ICC.
- FMCSRs were amended to include provisions for limb amputees and impaired drivers to qualify to operate CMVs.
- U.S. DOT established.
- ICC transfers SPE Certification program administrative functions to DOT's Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety.
- Enactment of Rehabilitation Act.
- Prohibited discrimination based on physical handicap in any federal program.
- Mandated that DOT establish criteria for evaluating handicapped individuals.
- Strived to make every effort to assist handicapped individuals become employed.
- FHWA contracts with Krusen Research Center to develop evaluation criteria for use in SPE Certification Program.
- Krusen developed charts examining level of driver amputation, task performed and degree of difficulty driver would experience while performing task.
- Krusen study Rationale for the SPE program.
- FMCSRs were amended, establishing guidelines based on research in testing, selecting and documenting drivers capabilities to ensure that the driver would not present a safety risk.
- First SPE Certification Program class held in College Station, Texas.
- Second SPE Certification Program Class held in Orlando, Florida.
- FMCSRs were amended to allow drivers the option to apply for Unilateral SPE Certificate.
- For the first time since 1964, SPE Certificate recipients were allowed to transport hazardous materials and passengers.
- Motor Carrier Safety Act -- DOT given alternative regulatory authority.
- Ensure physical conditions of CMV operators adequate for safe operations.
- FMCSRs were amended to require upper-limb amputee/impaired drivers to wear appropriate prosthetic/orthotic devices, if necessary, to demonstrate power grasp prehension and precision prehension in each upper limb.
- TEA-21 Enacted.
- FMCSA's (formerly FHWA) waiver authority changed.
- Distinction between waiver/exemption.
- Waiver granted for up to 3 months
- Exemption renewable for 2-year period
- Section 391.49 amended.
- All references to "Handicapped Driver Waiver" removed.
- Replaced with SPE certificate.
- SPE certificate renewable for 2-year period.
- Section 391.49 title changed from "waiver of physical defects."
- New section entitled "Alternative physical qualification standards for the loss or impairment of limbs."