|For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Yielding for White Canes Promotes Safety of the Blind
CONCORD, N.H. – The N.H. Department of Safety strongly supports state laws aimed at promoting the safety of blind and visually handicapped people who use white canes and service dogs to walk independently.
State law requires drivers to yield to a pedestrian using a white cane or a white cane tipped with red, or a service dog.
“New Hampshire has incorporated information on stopping for blind pedestrians in driver education materials and questions on it in the written driver exam,” said Director Richard Bailey, Jr., of the Division of Motor Vehicles. “We want to ensure that all drivers understand their responsibility for helping to keep blind persons safe.”
He recommended that drivers stop at least 10 feet or one-half car length ahead when yielding to blind pedestrians.
The Department of Safety supported the passage of House Bill 211 in 2008 requiring information on white canes and service dogs in driver education material.
On White Cane and Dog Guide User’s Awareness Day, Oct. 15, Commissioner John J. Barthelmes received on behalf of the Department of Safety a Certificate of Appreciation from the N.H. Association for the Blind for the Department’s efforts to educate drivers about protecting blind pedestrians.
Commissioner Barthelmes also reminded drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles and also of some of the newer conventional vehicles that shut down the engine to save fuel when stopped in traffic that blind pedestrians are accustomed to depending on the noise of a vehicle’s engine to sense oncoming traffic. Drivers of these vehicles need to be particularly alert to the presence of blind persons.