DETROIT, MICHIGAN — A new communication tool has been released by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) that aims to improve communication between law enforcement and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The new tool, which has received support by the state’s major law enforcement organizations, is a card that is designed to be placed on a car’s visor or some other easily accessible location. On one side of the card, it notifies law enforcement that the person is either deaf or hard of hearing and offers tips for ease of communication, such as “I cannot lip-read everything you say” and “Get my attention first”. Icons allow individuals to point to “Interpreter”, Texting”, “Assistive Listening Device”, etc. If an interpreter is required, a website for the Online Interpreter Directory is found on the front of the card.
The opposite side of the card allows the officer to point to various images, such as driver’s license, insurance card, etc, to indicate what the officer needs to see. Additionally, the card shows icons of possible violations committed, such as speeding.
If the individual needs assistance, there is a help section on the card that shows icons such as hospital or flat tire, which they can point to.
Cards Available Now
The new card is available to Michigan residents from the MDCR’s Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, and is also available for download from the department’s website to print or save to a smartphone.
“There are various interactive properties to the card, but the main thing is to avoid uncertainty on both ends. … If (an officer) should verbally give the driver some instruction and that driver doesn’t follow it … because they can’t hear it, that could be a very difficult interaction.” —Vicki Levengood, MDCR Communications Director
Want a card for yourself or a loved one? You can download the card here, or you can request one via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “Visor Card” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body of the email. You can contact the MDCR directly to request a card at (313) 437-7035.
*Featured image courtesy autoblog