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One-armed trucker struggles to get recertified after his doctor retires

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A one-armed trucker says that the retirement of his long-time physician has prevented him from getting the evaluation he needs to maintain his CDL and keep working.

Collyn Metzger of Wichita, Kansas was born without half of his left arm. He learned to drive trucks and machinery without it, and has had a farm permit since the age of 14. He currently works as a field diesel technician, where he operates work vehicles and commercial trucks. 

“Whenever a young kid would ask what happened to my arm, I would always say that’s the way God made me,” said Metzger to 12 News.

Now, after completing the Skills Performance Evaluation needed to maintain his CDL and legally drive without a prosthetic many times, Metzger says that he is struggling to find a doctor who will help him complete the evaluation after his long-time physician retired. He says that even doctors listed on the FMCSA website either refuse to work with him, or don’t even know what evaluation he is talking about. The SPE must be completed every 24 months. 

“[During a previous SPE] I had someone from the federal government come down and had to drive with me to make sure I could perform the necessary functions,” said Metzger. “After the driving test, he had commented that he does evaluations with people who drive trucks, and I shift gears and downshifted better than anybody he’s seen.”

His former doctor would perform the SPE and determine that he “functions well without need for prosthetic,” but the search for a new physician is proving difficult. He says he and his wife have called every doctor listed in his area by the FMCSA and haven’t had any luck. 

“They either don’t do them, they don’t know what they are or they won’t do them for myself, because I’m not their patient,” he said. 

The issue has even caused Metzger to question why he has to renew the evaluation so often. 

“I think a one-and-done thing would be appropriate, especially for people like me,” he said. 

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