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Here's a special-order Pennsylvania "vanity plate" (apparently for Deaf pride).
Some hearing drivers will think it's required
by law. Or that it means, "Folks, I'm driving
a car even though I'm deaf, so wish me luck and stay clear of me".
Here's a bumper sticker we saw in an automotive magazine. If not a joke, it will get the same reactions as the plate above.
At red light stops, some other drivers will turn to stare at the deaf
driver, to see what a real live deaf person looks like ----- as most hearing people never knowingly saw one (and that's not a joke either).
Here are some more to scare other drivers with.
The third one means well, but some will read it as: "Driver is deaf,
and more likely than most to cause and be injured in an accident".
Meet the Wakaba stickers..............
.If you are deaf driver in Japan (very restricted for
deaf people), you must show this big (5" diameter ) "Wakaba" sticker on front and back of your car, announcing your deafness. (Two deaf ears form a butterfly).
Why? To announce your supposed limits as a driver. It advises others not to depend on their horns, and to be smart and stay clear of you. Ask your deaf friend in Tokyo about this.
Other stickers are required there for the elderly, beginners, and those with a non-deaf disability. If you're deaf, lame, beginner, and 70 or older
----you're stuck with eight stickers, four in front and same four in back.
Wow !!, you'll scare other drivers and have the whole road to yourself.
From the left:
For physical disability (other than deaf).
For those 70 and older.
For those driving less than a year.
In Japan, a deaf citizen could not drive until 1975, and then only with a
hearing aid and special rear-view mirror. The aid requirement was dropped in 2006. That's when profoundly deaf people were first allowed to drive in Japan. (Welcome Japan, to the 21st Century !! Now get rid of all those stickers.)
"PLEASE WATCH OUT" !!
The large state of Telangana in southern
India (33 million people) is more up-front than Japan in warning others of a deaf driver. Deaf drivers must show this
6" X 5" screaming-red sticker in back,
and a smaller one in front. (Smaller ones
are required for motorcycles).
Ask your deaf friend in Hyderabad about this.
CONFUSED AUTHOR DEPT.
Safe Driving Handbook (Grosset)
Page 28: "It has been proven that ....handicapped drivers do better on the road than the average driver".
Page 29: "A person who is almost completely deaf is quite handicapped
as a driver".
THAT "SOMETHING IS FISHY" LOOK
Almost all deaf drivers have been asked , "Where (or how)
did you get a driver's license?" That often comes with a something-is-fishy look, or a suspicious smirk. Or a knowing wink, as if strings were pulled ----like you paid
off a MVB clerk. Or your uncle, the municipal big shot, pulled some strings. It's not uncommon to get hit with
this even from the most intelligent of people.
You say it's been legal for almost a century, and the inquirer politely accepts the fact. But quite a few do
with subtle expressions of confusion and disbelief.
Then comes the standard question about the ambulance or fire engine. You say, " I see it before you hear it". T
he response would often be "Huh?", or a polite ( but unconvinced ) "Oh !"
Our Deaf New Jersey friend has a standard reply:
"I got my driver's license where I got my pilot's license". If that doesn't shut them up (it usually does), his "Pilot's License" does, which he shows if asked. His son, a commercial artist, created a phony from an expired New Jersey
pest exterminator's license. (States don't issue pilots' licenses, which rarely occurs to a questioner). Our friend carries a photo of a Piper Malibu PA-46 to show, if asked what craft he flies.
We have no polls to point to, but we believe many Americans are unaware that Deaf people are allowed to drive -----and quite a few would disapprove if made aware.
Something Else is Fishy
Everybody (and their uncles) know that these strange Deaf people must require specialized training, testing, restrictions, signal devices, etc. -----to safely drive, or
dive at all.
Here are all those we've heard of. (The absurd first three were dreamed up by the frightened State of Maryland in the 1920s).
A hearing adult must always be next to the deaf driver
60-day probationary period for new deaf drivers.
Deaf drivers may not cross state lines
Deaf drivers may not have any additional disability
Specialized training and testing
Assigned-risk insurance (regardless of age)
Dashboard light to indicate horns and sirens
Hearing aid (especially that)
Exceptional need to drive
Cycloramic or multi-faced interior mirror
Curfews (i.e., driving limited to daytime)
Specially marked plate and license
"Is it safe to let these strange people drive", asked the wary State of California? So they ordered a study in 1964. (Yes, over 50 years ago, but
please don’t go away. That study is still referred to today).
It “proved” that California's deaf males, are almost twice as likely
(actually 1.8 X) to have an accident than their hearing males. There !!
Just as we all imagined !! They can't hear horns and sirens, you know.
The study compared two groups, hearing and profoundly deaf (male
and female). But a critical review
found the deaf males were mostly
lower socio-economic with high
mileage experience, and no formal driver training. That wasn't applied to the hearing group as a uniform variable.
We assume one variable was accident records. Who’s to blame?
Records are mostly “he said, she said”. Guess who is slicker with the cops at the accident scene, to point out the other driver's fault? Guess who is sharper on the phone with the insurance company in disclaiming fault? And guess who says "I blew my horn four times" (when s/he did nothing of the sort).
Other participant information came from fill-in forms distributed to people at Deaf clubs. How representative of deaf drivers are deaf club hanger-outs?
How dependable are scribbles on a fill-in form? Assuming the hearing group got the same forms, guess who filled them out more craftily.
So? What did California do to protect their precious male hearing drivers,
and justify the cost of their study? Nothing we know of. But, awwww, to look good they proudly distributed the results to all the other states. Over 50 years later, this study is still referred to, as there have been very few comparative studies. (It's known as the Coppin & Peck study).
California's big splash was planting it in the Federal Register. That was instrumental in having deaf CMV (commercial-licensed) drivers nationally banned from driving interstate (and kept out of UPS and similar trucks).
The study also "discovered" that deaf women have safer driving records than hearing males. What does gender have to do with deafness? All women drive more cautiously than men ----you could have learned that from your dad or your insurance company.
To us, all it "revealed" is that low socioeconomic, self-trained deaf male
drivers who drive a lot, are more accident-prone than classier, trained male hearing drivers who drive moderately. (Did that knock your socks off?). Very few similar studies have since been made, and none correlate the California study. One even disputes it. These links take you to the subject.
This one is convoluted enough to put you to sleep, but please read it.
And by the way..........
............. if you missed it on the previous page:
California has the dubious distinction of being the only American state mentioned in that famous book at left.
It was praised for its leading EugenIc efforts to deny life to people they wouldn't like. California inspired its Nazi
admirer to do likewise in Germany._______________________________________________
Deaf? Why Would You Need to Drive ?
In the lower part of the last Century, several states did
not allow deaf drivers. Some did, but many were apprehensive.
New York was one of them.
In New York.............
A deaf person's application for a driver's license needed approval from the Superintendent of the New York State School for the Deaf (in Rome, New York). He had nothing to do with cars and didn't know you from Adam.
Why him? Well, to the powers that were, his lofty title made him a sort of tender-of-the-flock to these strange people. He gave a sense of official government control to the matter, and someone to pulverize if deaf drivers became a threat (which "common sense" thought possible, if not certain.)
With this bigwig's nod, you needed a separate referral explaining your need to drive. For unusual you, there had to be a convincing "need" ( and tooling around town with your girlfriend wasn't one of them ). It had also to assert
that you were a mature, law-abiding citizen and all that, and would be capable of safely driving a vehicle. It was to come from a "somebody" such as a teacher, pastor, or employer (but not from you -----as a deaf person, you weren't considered much of a "somebody").
In Detroit ..........
In 1919 Detroit police revoked the license of every deaf driver they encountered. It was "justified" by an extant law that prohibited "defectives" from driving. Attorneys from the Ford Motor Company (at the request of the National Association of the Deaf) succeeded in reversing the revocations.
We don't know what Ford's motive was. Maybe just to sell more cars, or that they were partial to disabled people, as we mentioned elsewhere.
There were strong proposals then for a national ban on deaf drivers. Of
course, "common sense" says that a driver who cannot hear, is unsafe. However, there were no studies or adverse happenings to support such a belief.
You get this "common sense" term in almost all arguments against deaf drivers.
....... had an explanation for "common sense", or "truths" with nothing behind them. He said they are a "deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind prior to the age of eighteen. Every new concept has to battle this accretion of truths".
He said, "Common sense proves that the earth is flat"
There was an article in Yahoo! Answers listing 26 countries that ban deaf drivers. Here is one of the reader postings (note "common sense"):
"I would hope/assume [deaf people] are unable to drive in any country... for several safety reasons. They can't hear emergency vehicles ... they could cause a delay in the arrival [of those vehicles] to the scene and cause death or injury that could have been avoided otherwise. They can't hear horns from fellow drivers, and that could also cause issues, accidents, loss, and injury. It's common sense. But who knows what can happen when political correctness goes mad!"
You'll find the names of countries that ban deaf drivers in this link, though the information is from 2008:
Here's someone's opinion from the Reddit link below,
CMV: DEAF PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE. It's from just a few years back.
It begins with a grandiose definition of common sense as "a simple train of logical thought".
"It should be a simple train of logical thought. People are not allowed to wear earplugs or headphones while driving. The justification for this is that hearing is a