Is a Deaf Driver Communication Visor Card the way to go?

One of our very own Interpreters, Rhonda Tingler, is currently researching, for one of her own classes, a policy proposal for alternative or additional identification for deaf or hard of hearing individuals to aid them in communication with, as well as insure the hearing impaired individual’s rights, when pulled over by law enforcement.

Visor Card Rochester area

Deaf Driver Communication Visor Card being used in the Rochester area.

One of the proposals for which Rhonda is researching is the voluntary issuing of Visor cards. The purpose of the Visor Card is to assist in the comunication between police officers and a hearing impaired individual during interactions at traffic stops or violations. The card also assists the deaf or hard of hearing driver in understanding the desired actions of the police officer during the traffic stop to reduce misunderstanding and confusion.

As has been adopted in other states (Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the Rochester area in New Yor state, for example), the front side of the Deaf Driver Communication Vosor Card alerts the police officerf to the fact that the driver is either deaf or hard of hearing. to one side of the card are usually listed the methods for which the hearing impaired individual can communicate, and to the other side of the card are methods for which the police officer may help in communication with the deaf driver. Here, the driver can then indicate which of each of the methods would best aid them in this interaction with law enforcement.

Also on the card are small picture icons with which the officer can use to indicate to the driver the possible reason for the stop, the actions for which the officer would like the driver to perform, or assist the officer in requesting the needed information of drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance.

On the back of the card are suggestions for what the driver should do when pulled over, such as roll down the window and place their hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer. There is also a section for tips for using the visor card which should further facilitate the successful completion of the traffic stop.

Each state, working in conjunction with their Department for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing, has the right to construct the card as best suits the needs and laws of that state.

Rhonda is asking students if they would like to see the adoption of a similar Visor Card for our local area or for the state of Florida. Examples of the visor card can be seen at www.cityofrochester.gov for the Visor Card being used in the Rochester area, and at www.dmv.de.gov for the card being used in Delaware.

Feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions, questions, and suggestions in the comments section of this post.

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5 comments so far

  1. Ezequiel Penalo on

    HELLO..I AM DEAFS TRUHT, THIS LIKE THAT HOW GET FOR FRONT CARD DEAFS TO DRIVE ! BUT IS DO NEED GET FREE OR BUY WHICH . I WANT TO JUST AND U THINK ABOUT CARE KIND ? WHAT !!!

    • DSS of GCCC on

      Ummm….I think I understand what you are asking, so lets give this a try.

      Each State gets to decide if they will sponsor the use of a Visor Card for its Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents. You will have to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if your state participates in this or a similar program. The few states who have adopted a Visor Card program supply its Deaf and Hard of Hearing drivers with a Visor Card free of charge and it is given to you when you get or renew your license or can be obtained from your local Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council or other such similar programs.

      If your state does not have its own Visor Card — as many states have yet to adopt this program — then you may want to begin pioneering for your state to do so beginning with your local community. Speak with your local Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or other such similar advocacy group and with them begin the process of writing letters to your local and state congress-person to implement a Visor Card program.

      I hope this answers your question ^_^

  2. VINEESH .I.V on

    I DEAF

  3. Nina Flaminio on

    I love the idea of the visor card. My father was recently pulled over by a police office for a moving violation. When the officer realized that my father was hearing impaired she took away his driver’s license and told him that he would have to undergo a re-evaluation of his license because he does not hear well.

    The officer was shouting at him because she thought that this would help him to hear better. Unfortunately this just made the situation worse. We are waiting to hear from the DMV for Palm Beach County, but I really wonder if they can re-evaluate my dad’s license because he is hearing impaired. If he had had a Visor Card this whole scenario might have been avoided!

    My father is an active senior who plays tennis, goes to the gym, takes literature classes and has an active social life with friends and family. He is also happily married. My mother does not drive and even the thought of having his driver’s license taken away is very frightening for her and all of us.

    • DSS of GCSC on

      I’m so sorry that this has happened to your father. Unfortunately, its not the first time that I have heard of similar situations. The visor card is a great idea, and while a few states have adopted the idea, or something similar, it has yet to become widespread. But, change comes with action. With easy and affordable printing options available online, such as VistaPrint.com, you could easily create a business card that contains all the information that the visor card contains and even more; you could add information that is important or specific to your father’s hearing impairment. Carry a few of these cards on your person or in your wallet and when a situation like this occurs, your father can simply hand over his license and this business card version of a personal visor card along with it. Along with helping your father personally, slowly but surely this card will gain exposure. It’s these small steps that lead into larger movements. Who knows! Your father could lead the way to visor cards being adopted in Florida!


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