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  1. #1


    Dana Bullock

    In fall 1995, Dana Bullock became reportedly the first person with quadriplegia to obtain a Class A commercial driver's license (CDL). Behind the wheel of a custom-designed 53-foot rig with remote-control wheelchair lifts, she was ready to drive across the country to promote the Americans 'With Disabilities Act (ADA). Bullock, who grew up in the Portland, Ore., area, was injured in San Diego while she was in the U.S. Navy. Soon after she sustained C5-6 quadriplegia, she decided she wanted to be independent. She participated in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and tried sports such as water skiing and scuba diving. She became certified to referee boxing matches and attended community college in Portland. But she always dreamed of driving a big truck. After she married her husband, Rick, the couple began working on their rig. They sold their houses to finance the venture. The rig allowed the Bullocks to take advantage of accessible living on the road. Ricon lifts and auto doors in each section allow Dana to enter and exit. The Freightliner tractor has a backless six-way transfer seat between the driver and passenger seats, which are air-ride. Hand controls with a push-button automatic transmission allow Dana to operate the truck.

    When at the wheel of her 53-foot tractor-trailer rig, Dana Bullock turned more then a few heads.

    The Champion Race trailer has a Ricon lift with automatic doors leading into the back half. An interior lift accesses the second-floor living area, which includes a full kitchen with gas stove, a roll-in shower, and all the comforts of home. The rig is registered as an RV.

    Dana was licensed to drive cars but faced new challenges when obtaining her CD especially in backing up the rig. To be able to cross state lines, she received a waiver through the Public Utilities Commission. When driving with the trailer, a passenger had to help her hook up.

    "[My husband and I] both have Class A CDLs," Dana explains. Federal regulations require that the operator of any vehicle rated at more than 26,000 lbs or having air brakes must obtain a commercial driver's license. "However, most big-rig RVs in this category -- and there are many -- do not comply with this regulation," she says.

    As they traveled around the country, the Bullocks kept their eyes open for a place where they would settle. They decided on Odem, Tex., near San Antonio. The big rig is now for sale.

    "I only wanted to travel long enough to find a wheelchair friendly area to live in," Dana says. "Texas as a whole is far ahead of many other states for accessibility and programs. San Antonio is wonderful. This is where we're building our home." She says that building contractors in San Antonio are to speed on ADA and veteran issues. "The new VA SCI clinic is beautiful," she adds. Although the Bullocks are putting down roots, Dana still on the trail of independence. She looks forward to taking advantage of all the activities her new area offer.
    *************Has anyone else ever heard of a person that was able to operate a semi again? I am the owner of a small trucking company and would love to be able to get back behind the wheel again!!!

  2. #2


    I do remember seeing an ad for I believe a wheelchair van lift manufacturer (I think it was Braun) and they showed a picture of a Paraplegic Truck driver sitting in his chair in front of his rig, with the lift in the down position. You may want to check with Braun for more information on this. Curtis

    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

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