NEW JERSEY – The Senate Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Linda Greenstein that would add a notation on vehicle registration certificate indicating the registrant is deaf.
The bill, (S-1740), would help eliminate possible confusion and tension when a deaf motorist is pulled over by police for a traffic violation.
“We don’t want the lack of communication to escalate tensions and possibly lead to a dangerous interaction,” Oroho (R-24) said. “If driver’s inability to follow instructions is misinterpreted, it could lead to an unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation. This bill would relieve stress for both the driver and the police.”
Under the legislation, applicants would be issued a special registration certificate with their preference of either the international symbol for deafness or a numerical code designating deafness.
“Ensuring law enforcement officers are aware that they have pulled over someone who is deaf is very important. This will enable effective communication while hopefully avoiding any potential misunderstandings,” Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex) said.
The bill, suggested to Oroho by members of the deaf community, is intended to compensate for gaps in training that fail to prepare police academy graduates for interactions with the deaf community.
“The addition of an icon signifying a hearing impairment will be obvious and helpful,” Oroho said.