A new bill filed by state Rep. Loranne Ausley, a Tallahassee Democrat, may go a long way toward helping law enforcement handle traffic stops involving the hearing impaired.
HB 135 would allow drivers to voluntarily indicate hearing impairment on their vehicle tag applications.
That information would be included in the Florida Crime Information Center and the Driver and Vehicle Information Database, making law enforcement aware before interacting with a driver who can’t hear them.
“One of my constituents, a TPD officer, brought this situation to my attention out of concern for his hearing impaired son,” Ausley noted Wednesday.
“Eliminating potential confusion during a traffic stop helps protect both the officer and the driver. This is about providing law enforcement officers the tools they need to protect all Floridians safely,” Ausley added.
Since last August, there have been at least two incidents nationally of officers killing hearing-impaired drivers.
The New York Daily News reported in 2016 that a deaf man in North Carolina was killed after a speeding violation; his attempts to use sign language to communicate with officers were for naught.
US News reported in September that a deaf man holding a metal pipe was killed by officers in his front yard in Oklahoma.
St. Petersburg Democrat Daryl Rouson will carry the Senate companion bill, SB 290,