NASHVILLE, Tenn. –A landmark piece of legislation, The Deaf Driver Safety Law, now allows deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers to register their hearing status voluntarily in a statewide database. The information is visible only to law enforcement officers and is intended to make interactions during traffic stops safer and more effective.
Creating and supporting the legislation were Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, multiple communities, State Rep. William Lamberth, Sen. Ferrell Haile and local law enforcement.
The Tennessee Department of Revenue has been working to put the registration mechanisms into place across the state and has announced that the system is now active. The law was ratified unanimously by the Tennessee General Assembly and enacted on July 1, 2018.
Deaf and hearing-impaired drivers in all 95 Tennessee counties can now easily register for inclusion in the database by visiting bridgesfordeafandhh.org/resources and clicking on the “Deaf Driver Safety” button. This links to the application through the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
Drivers may also register through the TN Department of Revenue website at tn.gov/revenue/title-and-registration.html.
For more information about the Deaf Driver Safety Law and for more instruction for completing the registration paperwork, visit bridgesfordeafandhh.org/resources to access an informative video highlighting the process. Deaf or hard of hearing drivers may also call (615) 248-8828 for assistance 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. They also may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Following our Criminal Justice Summit and our Town Hall on Law Enforcement, our deaf and hard of hearing community and law enforcement created the idea for this database,” said Nancy Denning-Martin, President & CEO. “We are grateful for the overwhelming support of our community, law enforcement, and our state legislators. When we communicate and work together, we create a safer and more just and inclusive community for all of us.”
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is the only comprehensive agency supporting the more than 207,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing in Middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama.
Bridges offers a variety of services to the community, including interpreting services,youth education and services, and adult education and outreach, which includes a completely accessible fitness program and empowerment case management services.