Hearing Impaired to Hold Drivers’ Licences


The Government is moving to institute the necessary legislation to allow persons with hearing impairment to acquire drivers’ licences.
State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore says the Ministry of Transport and Works has indicated that the necessary steps are being taken to this end.
He also announced that 25 Island Traffic Authority (ITA) inspectors are to be trained in the use of sign language, which should enable them to successfully test applicants with hearing impairment, or total deafness, who are applying for licences.
Speaking in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (July 2), Mr. Gallimore said Jamaica is currently one of 26 countries, which do not issue drivers licence to persons who are deaf. He pointed out that while visitors to Jamaica who hold a licence, and Jamaicans with hearing impairment who acquired their licences overseas, were able to drive in Jamaica, individuals based here were not afforded this opportunity.
Mr. Gallimore advised the Lower House that during a recent meeting with representatives of the community of deaf individuals, questions were raised about the possibility of their being able to acquire licences. He said that while not being able to give a commitment then, he advised that the administration would pursue the matter with a view to resolving it in the shortest possible time.
“I am pleased to say that the Ministry of Transport and Works has indicated that all the necessary steps are being put in place to allow us to change the statistics. There will no longer be 26 countries in the world that don’t allow the deaf to drive, there are going to be 25 in a short period,” the State Minister informed.
Mr. Gallimore also advised that the Transport and Works Ministry had invited and received a submission from the Justice Training Institute (JTI) for the training of 25 Island Traffic Authority Inspectors in usage of sign language at a cost of some $1.16 million.
The State Minister said the Ministry of Transport and Works has advised that the budget for the undertaking is in place and that the exercise has commenced. “This is to enable these officers to successfully test applicants with hearing impairment or total deafness. They will have two levels of training, basic signing and advanced signing,” he explained, adding that when the training is completed, the officers will be equipped to man the depots islandwide.
Additionally, the Ministry of Transport and Works, is also expected to undertake an education campaign to update the public on the legislative changes, Mr. Gallimore informed.

JIS Social