Two weeks ago, a new law in Kentucky was signed that would allow deaf people to voluntarily show that they are deaf in the vehicle registration system — so if police pull them over or look them up, they’ll see a clear alert on the system database (probably on the police laptop) that they are deaf.
To be clear, it is an electronic record on the system’s database — it is not a “deaf sticker” on a license plate or a “Deaf status” printed on the drivers license. The “deaf designation” appears to be confidential and only available to be seen by police or KY officials.
A key person to push this bill through legislation is a Deaf man, Robert D’Angelo. He worked closely with the KY Sec. of State Allison Lundergan to develop the bill. The KY Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was also involved with the lobbying effort.
I reached out to Robert for comment — I asked him why this bill was important. He said often when police encounter a Deaf motorist, they don’t know that the motorist is deaf and confusion could happen. With the new law, police can know the driver is deaf and will be prepared and anticipate the communication needs of the motorist.
He said the process to pass this bill is lengthy and that it takes time and patience, but that it is a movement in the right direction for many Deaf/HoH in the commonwealth of KY. He encourages other Deaf people to become politically active and interact with representatives, Senators, write letters to them and make them aware of issues that are important to them and the Deaf community.
Congratulations to everybody to pushed this law — which will help Deaf people be prepared when interacting with police.
Kentucky.gov Summary: http://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=SOS&prId=114
SB 189 Bill: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB189/orig_bill.pdf
Pictures Credited to Robert D’Angelo (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/robert.dangelo.982