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After giving what may have been the first distracted driving presentation to deaf students in the country, I came away with a better understanding of the deaf and their community and respect and admiration for the students.

distracted driving awarenessI had some misconceptions about the deaf and driving and learned that in some ways deaf drivers may be more attentive than hearing drivers. Studies have shown deaf drivers have better peripheral vision, scan more completely and detect some hazards better than hearing drivers. The students had the same concerns and distractions as hearing students but also admitted signing while driving and turning to see the faces and lips of passengers. But those in attendance at the presentation on November 14th in St Augustine, Florida also were very much interested in finding ways to be safer and more engaged drivers.

A large part of the presentation was devoted to learning effective ways to speak up when driven by distracted drivers.

distracted driving awarenessSign language interpreters were present throughout the presentation and were incredible. The students knew what I was saying, and I understood fully what the students were communicating. The students role played and practiced passenger intervention skills. The presentation was as interactive as any I have ever given. I was struck with the sincere interest of students and their compassion. After the presentation, many students came up to me wanting to share and express their condolences for my daughter Casey’s death.

Students and staff were so effusive in their thanks, and I thought how blessed I was to have had the opportunity to meet them, to have shared the morning with them and to have learned about their very special community — and all as a part of remembering Casey in a very special way.

A video clip of the presentation can be found here:

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