Can Deaf People Drive

The ideals of an inclusive society require that people with disabilities have the same chances for a prosperous life as everyone else. A car in America has long been a necessity for most families. It is simply impossible to imagine that hundreds of thousands of people with hearing problems would not have the opportunity to exploit it. However, before getting a license, deaf people must prove that they can drive safely and perfectly know all the rules of the road.

Are Deaf Drivers Dangerous on the Roads?

Unlike the United States, many countries still have a driving ban for the deaf. However, they do not have a wide range of intelligent devices with which drivers can decode speech or other signals into visual images or text. Advances in technology make it possible to use many of them to assist deaf drivers. For example, you can install a special device that will react to the environment and send appropriate visual alerts to the driver.

Opportunities of Driving for Deaf 

Numerous studies of traffic violation statistics have shown that deaf drivers do not have a higher risk of getting into a traffic accident than everyone else. Therefore, people with hearing impairments can drive cars for the following purposes:

  • Use of personal vehicles;
  • Driving delivery vans and other commercial vehicles.

Why Deaf People Can Be Better Drivers Than Others

Several important factors influence how deaf people perceive the world around them. Working together, they make deaf even better drivers!

Peripheral Vision

It is known that nature compensates for the lack of some abilities by strengthening others. For example, blind people have much better hearing than sighted people. Not being able to see the world, they are more guided by hearing. In the case of the deaf, the situation is exactly the opposite: their visual perception is more developed than in people who rely on both sight and hearing. The peripheral vision of the deaf is significantly better than that of ordinary people, which allows them to easily perceive and realize the situation that is happening from two sides.

Fewer Distractions

A common cause of road accidents is driver distraction by conversations or ambient noises such as radios. Also, drivers with normal hearing often talk on the phone while driving, which is also a provocative stimulus. In contrast, the deaf are fully concentrated on the road, which means that there will be fewer factors diverting their attention from the task at hand.

What Still Remains to Be Done

Even though deaf people are allowed to drive commercial vehicles, some restrictions still remain. They concern the work of bus drivers, for whom full hearing is still required. However, there are positions where a deaf driver would be a better option. For example, it could be school buses by which deaf children travel to school. Also, sightseeing buses for deaf tourists would be more comfortable if they were driven by a deaf person.

Practice shows that deaf drivers are not dangerous on the roads and are even safer than those who hear. By studying statistics, society and government institutions are increasingly convinced of the virtues of deaf people and learn to trust them.