Deaf People Can Legally Drive Just Like You

Marissa Graff

Staff Reporter

I thought I would throw out an interesting fact about Deaf culture or ASL: Deaf people can drive just like anyone else.

Believe it or not, being able to hear is not a requirement to drive. If you really think about it, why would a person need to hear in order to be a good driver? Some answers may be to hear an ambulance, a cop siren, another car honking at you or someone else, etc. Actually, ambulances and police cars have lights that will alert any drivers. A Deaf driver would probably not be able to hear a car honking at them; however, when do people actually use their horns in a productive manner? Usually people honk when they are upset, in which case the Deaf driver doesn’t need to be able to hear it in order to be an effective driver.

On another note, Deaf drivers do not have the distraction of music or all the sirens that Hearing people have to listen to. Music is a great distracter to hearing people. They get involved in the music, maybe start dancing in the driver’s seat, and the next thing you know an accident has happened.

Additionally, deaf drivers are able to sign and drive at the same time, just like Hearing people are able to talk and drive at the same time. Deaf drivers are used to signing while driving. The signs change from being two-handed to one-handed and that way one hand can remain on the steering wheel. This is safer than you might imagine. Just as a Hearing person may look away from the road to see the person speaking, so would a Deaf person momentarily look away to see the person signing. Many drivers use only one hand on the steering wheel at any given time. For Deaf drivers the non-driving hand is just being used to communicate.

Remember to email me any questions or comments and I will respond to them in this article. This is a non-judgmental and educational environment, so ask away! I look forward to reading your questions! Marissa,

1 Comment on "Deaf People Can Legally Drive Just Like You"

  1. Huh. I never knew that, I thought it was illegal. Is this a recent change? I could have sworn when I was a little kid (20+ years ago) that you had to pass a hearing test to be a driver. But maybe I just assumed or misunderstood something.

    Thank you for explaining this, I really had no idea.

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