September 27, 2002
To Whom It May Concern:
I am blind, but I am also an American taxpayer! I am strongly opposed to your
June 17 proposed rules which would require that, to "help" the blind, our
government would require detectable warnings at every street corner or
accessible traffic signals at every traffic light.
What blind people need is high-quality training, not gadgets and gimmicks!
The enormous financial cost to the American taxpayer far outweighs any
supposed benefit to the blind. Trained blind people cross busy streets "just
as they are" every day, but an outraged American taxpayer won't be so eager to
hire them if this high cost is heaped upon them.
If people who are blind are properly trained to listen to traffic patterns and
how to correctly cross intersections, they will have the confidence to
navigate any area. There are training centers throughout the country whose
staff are dedicated to training blind persons to live independent, productive
lives, and one of the chief training areas of these centers is orientation and
mobility. Thankfully, I am a product of the Louisiana Center for the Blind,
whose staff provided high-quality training for me in the area of intersection
travel. As a result, I use alternative techniques to cross several types of
streets every day without traffic signals to guide me both in the town of
Ruston and abroad.