Autistic Bus Drivers

By Jamal Jamison
Posted May 21, 2015

Is it possible or good idea for an autistic adult with a CDL to drive buses involving passengers of any kind for the county or Greyhound?

Response

Answered:  May 27, 2015 by Dr. Sidney Baker 

Wikipedia tells us A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required in the United States to operate any type of vehicle
 
  • weighing 26,001 pounds, or 10,001 pounds with any type of trailer towed

  • transports quantities of hazardous materials that require warning placards under Department of Transportation regulations

  • that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including driver) or

  • more than 8 passengers (including the driver), for compensation.

This includes, but is not limited to, tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.

  • Interstate drivers of vehicles over 10,001 pounds, but less than 26,001 pounds (not transporting hazmat) need a medical card and Driver Qualification File, but do not need a CDL

Autistic, as I am sure you and our readers agree, is a term that may be used to describe a whole spectrum of special skills and special needs. An autistic individual who passes the CDL requirements for certification should not, in my view, be barred from any job for which she is qualified. When that qualification is subject to standardized testing, as in the case of licensed commercial drivers - then I believe that the same common sense that might reject another driver should be exercised no matter what diagnostic label her or she may carry. Having known hundreds of children with a fascination for cars, trains, trucks and busses I can imagine that some of them would bring a special delight to a job that other "normal" people might find vexing, taxing, or boring. Such delight combined with keen skills of observation, timing, and coordination that we see in many of our children in the autism spectrum would make them especially reliable drivers.