|October 26, 2002|
II am writing to express my opposition to regulations requiring the implementation of audible or tactile signals at most major intersections in the country. As a member of the National Federation of the Blind, I believe that blind people, given the proper training and opportunity, can move about safely without having such signals to alert us to moving traffic or other objects that may pose a threat to our safety. These signals can create the very hazards they are intended to alleviate by distracting the blind pedestrian from hearing necessary sound cues in the environment. These signals can cause an unnecessary overdependence on artificial means of knowing when it is safe to cross streets rather than skill and common sense. Also, there is another factor here. It is the discriminatory practice of segregating one class of people from the rest of society. In Japan, as I understand it, there are such signals present for the blind. When a blind person tries to go into an area that does not have such signals, he/she is directed to an area where the signals exist. Consequently, blind people, although perhaps unintentionally, are forced to utilize only those areas that have the special signals. This is something that no blind person wants.
Please do not let this unwanted and unneeded kind of help into the lives of blind people. This can only do harm, not good.
Thank you for considering my comments.
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