It’s entirely possible for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to be just as safe behind the wheel as hearing drivers. Deaf individuals need to meet the same driver education requirements as everyone else, but there are some tools and programs out there to address their needs specifically.
Drivers Ed for the Deaf
If you’re unable to hear, a traditional drivers ed classroom may not be the best choice for you. Enrolling in an online drivers ed class, whether you’re a teen or adult, is a great way to make sure you’re getting all the important information in a visual format. Aceable drivers ed features a nice mix of text and multimedia, and all our videos and animations contain subtitles. If you would prefer to learn driver’s ed in person and have a larger budget, you have more options. Some schools for the deaf offer driver and safety education programs taught in American Sign Language by qualified driving instructors. Check with driving schools in your area to see how they accommodate your learning needs.
Driver License and Permit Tests
Most drivers will need to pass a written knowledge test and an in-car driving test in order to get a driver license. Hearing impaired permit and license applicants are allowed to bring a translator with them. You can also request a certified ASL interpreter for your test, and the state department must provide one to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Just remember to contact the driver services office several business days in advance to make sure the interpreter will be available when you want to come in for the test.
Hopefully, you’ll find that the driver licensing experience is quite simple for the hearing impaired. The differences for you as a deaf or hard of hearing driver will be minor. You may get license plates and/or a symbol on your driver license that identify you as hearing impaired. Some deaf drivers choose to use technology such as light-up panels that indicate noises outside the vehicle (like sirens and car horns), but these aren’t necessary. Good vision and focus are enough to make deaf drivers just as safe as hearing drivers.
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