David L. Hilliker
|October 24, 2002|
I am writing this letter as a parent of a 20-yr-old college student who is blind and has expressed to me a major concern about having to live with audible traffic signals as they would distract from her abilities to safely navigate traffic intersections. I feel compelled to write concerning the mandatory installation of audible traffic signals in communities.
Between high school and college, she had to take time off of her academic schedule/goals in order to seek out the skills required to succeed in the sighted world on her own (and at great expense to the taxpayers of our state) in order to be trained to travel independently and get around a college campus. In what I, as well as our daughter, think is the best training center for the blind in our country, she learned to not only travel in the community on her on, but to travel to any other community anywhere....with skills that work at ALL intersections ...from the tiniest town to the biggest, most-congested city in the world. No audible traffic signal can compromise the skills she learned at this center. They work....they're safe, and she continues to use those skills on a daily basis with a very busy class schedule now that she's in college. What I truly worry about is that by installing these types of traffic signals, your masking the greater problem...which is getting blind people the training they need to have the skills to independently travel within (and out of) their communities. To mask that basic skill (with the substitution of a traffic signal) is to deny that, with training & skills, a blind person can be independent enough to cross alleys, intersections, and streets anywhere they wish to travel. Support that....not audible traffic signals.
My daughter, and myself along with her believe these signals are a very poor solution to the wrong problem, being improper training of the Blind in this country. The thought of these signals embarrass and offend her as a blind person, it further undermines the blind communities attempts to be integrated into society and accepted as equals. These are only SIGHTED PERSONS MISGUIDED SOLUTIONS to an improperly perceived problem.
Please rethink the idea of making this mandatory in all communities nation
David L. Hilliker
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