Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Around the Blogosphere

Over the last week, I ran across several interesting stories on the Internet.

First, I never thought about what a hazard the new and very quiet electric cars could present to people who are blind. But apparently in the UK, someone has thought about it. Electric cars in the UK will be made to sound like noisy sports cars after concerns were raised that silent vehicles posed a danger to blind people and cyclists.

If folks have problems with that concept, perhaps we could turn the tables and put people who are blind behind the wheel of a car. That is exactly what the Colorado Center For The blind did!

And finally, since 18 month old Devin Sheppard is too young for driving school, his mother is worried that his blindness will create a major safety issue on the busy street on which they live. His mother, a woman from my home state of Virginia is trying to get drivers to slow down and be aware that her young son is blind. Her efforts included asking the transportation department to erect a sign indicating that a blind child lived on the street.

I have two signs on either end my road that state 'Deaf Child Area'. I asked to have it installed about 8 years ago, and had no problems from the transportation department in my area. But Devin's mother is finding that things have changed.

When Devin's mom contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation, a VDOT spokesperson said in 2007, at the recommendation of Virginia Board of People with Disabilities, they did away with specific signs for the blind or deaf, for example.

I sure would like to understand the reasoning behind that decision, and since the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities is housed in the office building right next to mine, I think I will pay them a visit.

How do other states handle this? Have you ever asked for a similar sign and either gotten it or been turned down?

Have you seen any interesting stories this week? If so, please share!


MB said...

We went through the deaf child sign thing too with VDOT. Here's there reasoning:

1. Nobody pays attention to them anyway.

2. If we give you one, everyone will want one.

SERIOUSLY. A woman with an autistic child requested one. They decided if they gave them to all autistic kids it would be prohibitively expensive, so they did away with ALL of them.

Anonymous said...

I live in PA, and after a bit of ignoring and shuffling of feet and everything, have gotten our town to put up a sign for my son who is visually impaired (among other things). It turns out that unfortunately the sign doesn't really help. Part of the problem is that A. people in our town really don't care, and B. they know that the police don't enforce the speed limit (or anything).

That excuse of "if we give a sign to one, then all autistic, blind, and deaf individuals would want one" is bs. Not every autistic child needs a caution sign. Generalizations should not be made that everyone with autism runs in front of cars. I don't think that parents would ask for a sign unless they think that they really need one. Also, some parents don't want others in the neighborhood knowing that their child is disabled (don't really know why). It is sad that the DOT thinks that money is so much more important than safety.