[Perform-talk] Florida article on quiet cars & accidents with blind people

Donna Hill penatwork at epix.net
Tue Nov 25 16:58:31 UTC 2008

Hi all,
This just appeared on the NFB of PA list, and I thought it might 
interest you.  Also, since the article says that no one keeps 
statistics, I'm wondering if anyone has had a close encounter with a car 
-- quiet or otherwise.
Channel 42 to air ad featuring blind people struck by vehicles By 

 Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

 Sunday, November 23, 2008

 BOYNTON BEACH - David Evans felt his walking stick being pulled out of 
his hand. When he put out his hands, he felt the front bumper of a car.

 "When I yelled and hit my fist on the trunk of her car, she finally 
stopped," said Evans, who is blind.

 It wasn't the first time he was hit by a car, and he's not alone. 
Though no one keeps statistics, advocates for the disabled say the blind 
are frequently
the victims of automobile accidents.

 It's a plight that Vision World Foundation wants to bring to the 
attention of drivers through a public service announcement featuring 
real accident victims,
including Evans.

 The 30-second spot, which is being produced by WXEL-TV Channel 42, was 
shot last week and will begin airing over the next few weeks.

 "There is an attitude here that people believe that if you have a green 
light it means go - even if there is someone in the crosswalk," said 
Barry Snyder,
a personal injury lawyer who has represented disabled clients hit by 
drivers. "And if you are in the middle of the road, you're fair game."

 Ren'ee Rentmeester, who created a television cooking show for blind 
people produced by Vision World Foundation, said she didn't have to go 
far to find
blind people who have been hit by cars. Some, like Evans, have been hit 
several times.

 Until a few years ago, the Florida Outreach Center for the Blind held 
white cane safety days at local intersections to publicize how the blind 
rely on
drivers when crossing intersections. One year, about 40 blind people 
were taking part in the event when a truck blew through a red light. 
They stopped
the event for safety reasons.

 "They don't stop and make sure anyone is coming," said Allen Preston, 
who was also featured in the announcement.

 Preston uses a guide dog, which he credits for minimizing his brushes 
with aggressive drivers.

 "If I'm at a busy intersection, people who wouldn't normally stop for a 
pedestrian see the dog, and they slow down."

 Besides aggressive drivers, advocates say that many accidents are 
caused by people making right turns at stop signs or at stop lights. The 
drivers often
look to the left for traffic but neglect to check if anyone is crossing 
from the right.

 The popularity of hybrid cars may be good for the environment, but 
because the cars are quiet, many blind people can't hear them and if 
drivers aren't
looking, accidents happen.

 Some advocates like Evans, who serves as the president of the Palm 
Beach Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, are pushing 
Congress to force
manufacturers to make quiet cars beep when they are backing up. In the 
meantime, they say their safety is in the hands of drivers.

 "We have to rely on drivers following the rules of the road," he said.

 Find this article at:



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Performing Arts Division of the National Federation of the Blind

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