RTA launches ‘Deaf Driver’ initiative
The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the ‘Deaf Driver’ initiative to sensitise road users to deaf drivers and alert motorists to vehicles driven by people with hearing disabilities.
“The objective of the ‘Deaf Driver’ initiative is to educate drivers on how to deal with hearing-impaired persons and alert them that the driver in front is deaf,” said Maitha bin Udai, CEO of RTA Traffic & Roads Agency.
“We are therefore compiling a brochure on how to deal with personnel suffering hearing loss. We are also designing a poster to be fixed to vehicles driven by individuals with hearing disability. Readers of this poster will be aware that the driver is deaf and will not respond to alarm sounds made by other motorists,” she said.
Maitha recollected the initiative launched by the Traffic & Roads Agency about hearing-impaired personnel two years ago in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education encompassing an educative bulletin written in Braille distributed to blind students who were integrated in schools.
It also included lectures in sign language for the deaf community members in addition to several visits by traffic awareness teams to autism centres and schools dedicated to children with special needs.
“The aim of the initiative is to educate the public that deaf drivers can drive vehicles like other motorists, but their focus on the road hinges on visual and kinetic perception rather than the sense of hearing. Therefore, dealing with deaf drivers on roads has to be through optical signs,” she said.
“Deaf drivers can’t hear horns by other vehicles or sirens of ambulance, police and civil defence vehicles. They also have difficulty in communicating with others as the hearing impaired person depends on lip movements and hand signs, hence it is important to communicate with deaf drivers through the body language coupled with hand movements,” said Maitha.
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