By Brent Lofy
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Driving and the Deaf
"Can the deaf drive?" It is a question wondered by
many people, including myself. I decided to write about driving and the
deaf, because I have always wondered what happens when there are loud
sirens from an emergency vehicle and deaf people are not able to hear
it. I remember a time when I was driving and the car in front of me had
three people signing to each other. The driver was also signing. I
became kind of scared because the driver kept watching the passengers
sign. When I was younger, I thought the deaf community did not drive
because I thought that if a person is not able to hear an emergency
vehicle, then how are they supposed to move out of its' way. After
researching, I thought more about my topic and realized many things.
Hearing people have many concerns with deaf people driving. Some of the
concerns, pointed out by Felicity Bleckly in "Can a Deaf Person Drive"
- Talking with their hands, when they should be on the wheel.
- Trying to lip read a passenger while driving.
- Not being able to hear emergency vehicles coming.
- Not being able to call for help if their car breaks down.
- Not being able to talk to an officer if they are pulled over.
- Not being able to hear warnings their car is giving them.
In many places deaf people are allowed to drive. But for at least 26
countries, deaf citizens are not allowed to have a license ("Living With
Deafness"). Also in many of the states, deaf drivers are required to
have a special license to be able to identify themselves as deaf. It is
ridiculous that people are scared to let the deaf community drive,
because if a person actually thinks about it, deaf drivers may be the
better drivers on the road.
An excellent statement that really got me thinking was said in "Many
People Think Deaf People Should Not Drive" by Fookem and Bug. The line
stated that "driving is an almost completely visual activity for anyone.
How many drivers watch the road with their ears?" The statement is
totally true. Many hearing people are not even listening to the
surroundings when driving in the first place. Many hearing drivers are
talking on the phone, blasting their music, or talking to their
passenger/s. If someone doubts deaf drivers, they need to think about
how deaf people have "excellent use of peripheral vision and lack of
reliance on hearing" ("Frequently Asked Questions"). Most deaf drivers
are much more aware of their surroundings than hearing drivers who are
distracted by all of the things are around them. That is why I agree
that most deaf drivers are the better drivers on the road.
After researching more about the deaf and driving, I realize why there
are deaf drivers. I read many blogs of people asking if deaf people can
drive and the deaf community answering back with great answers. By
researching and writing this blog, I have come to realize why deaf
drivers may be the better drivers on the road. Knowing that there are
deaf drivers makes me feel MUCH safer than knowing little old ladies are
on the road driving. Haha.
Bleckly, Felicity, ed. "Can A Deaf Person Drive?" Bella Online. 22 Nov.
Fookem, and Bug, eds. "Many People Think Deaf People Should Not Drive."
Fookem and Bug. 6 May 2007. 22 Nov. 2008 .
"Frequently Asked Questions." WA Deaf Society Inc. 22 Nov. 2008 .
"Living With Deafness." Deaf Culture. PBS. 22 Nov. 2008 .
Also see: "Deaf Drivers"