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American Council of the Blind Releases Updated Pedestrian Safety Handbook

October 17, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Coinciding with an annual nationwide event, White Cane Safety Day, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) today released an updated edition of its Pedestrian Safety Handbook, a publication which informs people who are blind and visually impaired, their families, and others about contemporary approaches to assuring safe paths of travel for blind pedestrians and effective ways to advocate for accommodations like accessible pedestrian signals, tactile warnings at the edges of curb ramps, and mechanisms for routing travelers safely through problematic intersections.

According to ACB’s president, Mitch Pomerantz, the organization published its first Pedestrian Safety Handbook in 1999. “Since then,” he says, “there have been several revisions and updates which have informed readers, orientation and mobility specialists, traffic engineers and others about changes in the regulations which implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the guidelines which traffic engineers rely upon to design or renovate roadways, intersections, traffic circles and other paths of travel which motor vehicles and pedestrians must share.”

“The last time we updated our Pedestrian Safety Handbook, quiet cars were still driving through the imaginations of vehicle designers,” Pomerantz continued. “Now, they are just one more reality that can compromise the safety of a blind person stepping off a curb in front of a car that he or she cannot hear coming. Our role as advocates becomes more complex in ways we might never have even imagined. We are pleased that our Pedestrian Safety Handbook is a living document that will be able to keep up with the changes that govern all our lives and safety. The document, which is located at http://www.acb.org/node/625, will inform people who are blind and visually impaired everywhere, as well as the orientation and mobility field, and the traffic engineers who need to take our safety into consideration as they maximize traffic flow and contemplate new efficiencies and equipment.”

The updated handbook includes specific regulations which people who are blind can call upon to advocate for changes at intersections and along their paths of travel that will provide audible and tactile information about situations which sighted pedestrians can evaluate visually, such as when a traffic light changes color, a walk sign is illuminated, or where turning arrows might cause traffic to speed in front of an otherwise unsuspecting blind or visually impaired pedestrian.

“The Federal Highway Administration has made some significant regulatory changes since we last published a Pedestrian Safety Handbook,” said Debbie Grubb, chairperson of ACB’s Environmental Access Committee. “It is important for us to have the most up-to-date information about regulations when we approach our communities to advocate for the changes that can keep us safe. This handbook, which is being published online, will provide the most current information available anywhere.”

In addition to chapters that deal with specific pedestrian safety issues and current regulations, there are case studies that describe how blind and visually impaired people have successfully advocated for change and safety across the country, and templates for writing letters and citing regulations that can work.

About the American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit http://www.acb.org; write to American Council of the Blind, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201; phone (202) 467-5081; or fax (703) 465-5085.

Contact: Eric Bridges
Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
American Council of the Blind
Phone: (202) 467-5081
e-mail: ebridges@acb.org

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SOURCE American Council of the Blind


Source: PR Newswire