|September 13, 2002|
As a working, tax-paying citizen who is blind, I am writing to express my support for the PROWAC report and the call for detectable warnings. I am a member of the traveling public and my personal sense of safety in enhanced by detectable warning strips and other alerts about hazardous traffic areas.
Some may argue that detectable warnings produce negative stereotypes about people who are blind or that such warnings are not necessary for well-trained cane travelers who pay attention. But people who are blind, like all human beings, can have their attention distracted from time to time.
Once I stepped off an elevator and started walking to the edge of a train platform. I had traveled this route dozens of times and knew the platform was about 10 paces to the right. But that day my attention was distracted by my thoughts and I forgot which side of the platform I was on. The other side is farther from the elevator and I was walking briskly as though I has several more steps to take. My cane encountered the detectable warning strip and I suddenly forgot my thoughts and immediately stopped. With the long strides I was taking I would have gone over the edge in another step or 2. I considered what I was doing, realized my lack of attentiveness and gave heart-felt thanks for that detectable warning strip.
Pedestrian safety should be the primary concern, not worries over the opinions others have about people who are blind. Detectable warnings are no different than the traffic signs that warn motorists about speed bumps, steep grades, railroad crossings or other highway hazards. Would anyone prudently argue that these signs are not needed because the motorist should be paying attention? Of course not!
I urge the Access Board to support detectable warnings and any other appropriate measures that enhance safety for the traveling public.
index previous comment next comment