“Check this guy out!” Josh VanBeek said in a Facebook video post. After that, it took less than one full week for his uncle, Chris Blass to become an internet inspiration. The video shows Blass’s uncanny ability to shift gears like a trucking pro – with his two prosthetic arms. Clearly, Chris as encompassed a no nonsense, no excuses attitude.
CDLLife spoke with his nephew Josh who told us that Chris is one of the most hard working people he knows. He has been trucking for decades. He works tirelessly on his farm, tends to his several cows, and greats his neighbors as he cruises down the highway on his motorcycle.
Within one week, this video has gotten over 5 million views, 86,000 shares and over 2,100 comments.
The majority of the comments are both inspiring and encouraging. People from all over the world have managed to lift him up for his determination and grit.
“What a legend!”
“Amazing, such respect for this man”
And they are even tagging their friends with impaired limbs saying, “See! You can do it, too!”
Sure there are also quite a few people who are unaware of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations. They chime in with comments that he shouldn’t be allowed to drive, that he is unfit, that it’s not safe, and so on. This trucker has two prosthetic arms, how could he possibly operate a big rig safely? Does he even have his CDL? Well if you find yourself being one of those people, let us just clear it up for you.
The FMCSA has a very complicated process for allowing limb impaired truckers to get approved for their CDL. It’s a certification called the Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE).
According to the FMCSA, “The SPE certification allows drivers with missing or impaired limbs to drive CMVs across state lines if they have been fitted with (and are wearing) the right prosthetic device, and the driver can demonstrate the ability to drive the truck safely by completing on-and off-road activities.”
As can be seen in the video, the prosthetic that Chris is wearing is called a Body Powered or “cable operated” limb. These particular prosthesis work by attaching a harness and cable around the opposite shoulder of the damaged or missing arm. In his case, he has two body powered limbs that allow him to grip, and shift, and steer and tend to his farm, and raise his cattle, and be awesome.
In short, Chris is a no nonsense truck driver. He has taken the hand (or hook) that life has dealt him – and he is making the most of his life. He has inspired, empowered, and motivated millions of people across the globe. Be like Chris. Don’t make excuses. If you (or someone you know) have a similar disability, and you want to get your CDL – just know that there are options for you. You can do it, too.