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Petitioning Georgia State House and 1 other

Demand expanded rights protecting blind and visually impaired citizens in Georgia

We the Officers and Members of the Athens Area Council of the Blind in Athens, GA, have a specific concern regarding the safety of blind and visually impaired individuals who are traveling the streets and sidewalks of our communities in Georgia. In the present language of Georgia traffic Code 40-6-94, concerning the “Right of way of blind pedestrian” it states: “The driver of every vehicle shall yield the right of way to any blind pedestrian who is carrying a walking cane or stick white in color or white tipped with red or who is accompanied by a guide dog.”

 

This becomes a public safety hazard for people with blindness who use our crosswalks. If a visually impaired pedestrian has the right of way and hits a car with his or her blind cane while crossing, then they would go to jail for property damage. However, if the driver hits the pedestrians, he or she would only get 3 POINTS on their driver's license!

 

This is unacceptable for those who have to use our roads and sidewalks because they could be victimized and sent to jail. There are other blind or visually impaired persons who, because of medical conditions or physical impairments, must be accompanied at all times by a human “sighted guide”. We have within our membership a person who is blind, who also has a brain injury that impairs her balance and mobility. She goes to all her daily activities out in the community with her sighted guide, but she does not have a white cane or guide dog to identify her as a blind or visually impaired person.

 

We ask that the wording of the Georgia traffic Code 40-6-94 be amended to include a person “wearing a red and white armband and being accompanied by a sighted guide”. See our suggested changes to the code below. “The driver of every vehicle shall yield the right of way to any blind pedestrian who is carrying a white cane tipped with red or who is accompanied by a guide dog or who is wearing a red and white armband and being accompanied by a sighted guide”.

 

In advance, we the Officers and Members of the Athens Area Council of the Blind say “Thank You” for your assistance and support of this petition in regard to our concerns about this issue!

 

Sincerely - Jerrie Toney, President Athens Council of the Blind Jamaica Miller, First Vice-President Athens Council of the Blind

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