Representatives of the Deaf Community, Alabama Law Enforcement Agencies (ALEA), Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and the Alabama Legislature gathered with Governor Kay Ivey for the official Signing of House Bill 292 on Tuesday in Montgomery.
House Bill 292, sponsored by Representative Ron Johnson and Senator Gerald Dial, creates a registry within ALEA that allows individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to provide documentation of deafness when they apply for or renew a driver’s license, non-driver identification card, vessel license or learner’s permit. ALEA is required to make this information available to all law enforcement personnel for use in their official duties.
When a law enforcement official stops a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, it can often be a confusing or dangerous situation due to communication issues. Providing this type of information to law enforcement officials will help eliminate potential confusion or confrontations and could even save lives.
The bill was written and passed with the leadership of Representative Johnson, Senator Dial, leaders in the Deaf Community and input from AIDB staff including Teresa Brooks. AIDB will continue to provide assistance in developing guidelines for implementation of the bill and communications training for law enforcement personnel.