October 22, 2002
Thank you for the opportunity to make comment about the ATS & the other warning
devices for the blind. I have been blind most of my life and have not needed the
assistance of audio traffic signals.
In my opinion, such devices could be confusing and dangerous. Most of us have
had some training in how to read traffic patterns, and how to cross streets
I believe there are two other factors that need consideration. The first one is
that of "perception". By utilizing these auditory and other warning devices for
the blind, I believe this sends a message to the sighted community that the
blind are incompetent. We are unable to cross streets safely without external
assistance. Then from there the perception is that the blind are unable to care
for themselves as it concerns basic living skills. Then next questions are, "If
the blind can't cross streets, how can they be employed?" I see this as the
beginning of a variation of a bad joke. "How did the blind man cross the road?"
Let's don't go there.
Secondly, what about the cost? Aren't we supposed to be practicing budgetary
restraint? Aren't we supposed to ensure our tax dollars aren't spent for
non-essential programs? Can't this money be spent for programs that will help
the blind achieve greater independence without degradation?
The problems that face us as blind citizens are not architectural, but rather
societal attitudes. These attitudinal barriers are more serious. I'm afraid that
if this proposal is implemented that the attitudenal barriers will only be
I urge the Access Board not to implement the rules for these systems.