Deaf driver's license bill passes NC House

Posted April 6

— House lawmakers voted Thursday to approve a new system to help law enforcement identify people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

House Bill 84 would, at an individual's request, add a designation to his or her driver's license that he or she is deaf or hearing-impaired. That designation would also be added to the registration information of any vehicle in that owner's name.

The identifier system would be completely voluntary. Deaf or hearing-impaired people would not be required to participate.

"This is to address concerns that many of us know about of people who've been injured, even killed, because someone did not realize they were hearing-impaired or actually deaf," explained sponsor Rep. Cynthia Ball, D-Wake, "so that the officer that stops that vehicle will have some advance information, perhaps, about the individual's impairment."

Ball was referring to the August 2016 incident in which Charlotte resident Daniel Harris was fatally shot by a state trooper in his own driveway after a short chase during which he failed to pull over as directed. He was approaching the officer despite the officer's warnings. An investigation found the officer committed no wrongdoing and followed standard procedures.

The measure also includes additional training to help law enforcement personnel recognize deafness or hearing impairment when no indicator is available.

The measure passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate.


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  • Michael Bryant Apr 10, 2017
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    A person does not need to hear to be a safe driver. There is a reason that emergency vehicles have flashing lights in addition to sirens. I hear fine, but most of the time when I hear sirens I can never tell what direction it is coming from. A person who cannot hear would most likely be more alert visually then a person who can hear, thus taking away the need for audible warnings.

  • Tom Marthers Apr 10, 2017
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    Why are we issuing Drivers License to someone who is Deaf in the first place??? If they are completely deaf, they should not be issued a drivers license. They can't hear a horn beep, if they do something unsafe on the roadways, they can't hear Fire Trucks, Police Sirens so they can get out of the way. I am not discriminating, but I think hearing sirens, horns, etc... while driving is a common sense kind of thing.

  • Jeff Freuler Apr 7, 2017
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    Sorry but she is off base if she is trying to tie the shooting in Charlotte with the criminal being deaf. Despite his hearing condition He knew exactly what he was doing