The Licensing Division partnered with the Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired (TTAHI) and the Caribbean Sign Language Centre for Learning (CSLCL), to create the Deaf Assisted Regulations Exam (DARE) program.

According to Qushiba La Fleur, president of the We Care Deaf Support Network, the programme is to help deaf persons get through the process successfully on the first attempt. In past years, deaf persons went to the Licensing Office without interpreters.

Many failed regulations a number of times, as the structure of the English language and that of sign language differ.

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“The programme allows deaf persons to be familiarised with and understand the questions in a manner they are accustomed to,” La Fluer said.

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Accomodation will also be made to have a group of deaf persons write the exam together.

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When asked about the public perception of deaf drivers, La Fluer stated, “Many would ask why they are allowed to drive, especially since they cannot hear horns and road sounds.

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However, deaf drivers are some of the safest drivers.” Also noting that, to her knowledge, there have not been any accident reports involving deaf drivers.

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She also explained, unlike hearing persons who may be distracted by their phone, deaf persons use their eyes and pay more attention to the road.

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TTAHI has been in communication with the Licensing Department located in Port-of-Spain about the training of sign language to some staff members.

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La Fluer could not state how soon this will occur, nor the number of staff members. She did, however, express her hope that the training will be given to persons across various de partments and offices across Trinidad and Tobago.

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Disabled persons seeking a drivers license have complained that the process is too tedious and not inclusive.

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Bhawani Persad, president of the Consortium of Disability Organisations, said “Times are slowly changing, but more must be done.” He believes that some licensing officials should be equipped with the necessary skills to better facilitate special need cases.

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“At least one car should be outfitted with the hand controls which can be used for testing purposes,” Persad said.

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This, he said, can better help manage the activities of the office as persons will know what day is open for them and at what location so they will be properly catered for.

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He also noted that it would also be a good investment for select driving schools, as there are “pockets of resistance” because some schools are reluctant to teach students due to their disability.

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