1/10/13: Visor Cards Help Deaf Drivers Deal With Law Enforcement

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:10pm

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Available From Office for the Disabled; Cards Assist Drivers in Communicating When Stopped

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Executive Director of the Office for the Disabled Frank Cammarata are pleased to announce the availability of visor cards for usage by drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing. The cards are meant to be kept in a car’s visor in the event that the driver is pulled over by law enforcement, then placed in the vehicle’s window to be seen by an officer approaching the vehicle.

“Having a visor card gives a deaf or hard of hearing driver the chance to communicate their disability to law enforcement at the outset of their interaction, and will cut down on misunderstandings throughout the process,” said Poloncarz. “This is a valuable communication tool that all drivers with hearing disabilities should have in their vehicles, and I encourage all such drivers to obtain one.”

Developed with input from law enforcement and Deaf Adult Services, Inc., each visor card clearly states that the driver of the vehicle is deaf or hard of hearing, indicates the communication method used by the driver (American Sign Language, Pen/Paper/Texting, Lipreading, Verbal communication), and gives information on how law enforcement officials can be better understood by the driver (eliminating background noise, speaking slowly and clearly, using a normal tone of voice, not covering mouth with hand or paper, not shining flashlight in driver’s eyes). The flip side of each card offers tips for drivers on proper card usage and how to behave if pulled over.

“This was a great opportunity to work collaboratively with an important community service provider and make a positive contribution by creating more awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing community,” said Cammarata.

Steve Lovi, Executive Director of Deaf Adult Services, added “DAS fully supports Erie County’s efforts towards the preservation of civil rights by increasing public safety communication access opportunities between drivers and law enforcement with this visor card.”

To obtain a free visor card, contact the Erie County Office for the Disabled at 858-6215, or contact Deaf Adult Services at 833-1637 or 335-9170 (relay/videophone).

For more information on the Erie County Office for the Disabled, visit http://www2.erie.gov/ecod/