ANNUAL WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY IS OCTOBER 15TH
The white cane is a tool of independence for many people who are blind or severely visually impaired. It affords people who are legally blind the opportunity to travel safely and efficiently in the community.
President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the first White Cane Safety Day in 1964, to raise awareness for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to exercise special care for blind people who carry a white cane. Each of the 6 Braille Institute Regional Centers in Southern California observe White Cane Safety Day.
WHITE CANE SAFETY TIPS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SIGHTED:
- Stop your car at least five feet from a crosswalk. Pedestrians who are blind may use the sound of your engine to locate crosswalk boundaries. If any part of your car is in the crosswalk, a blind person may misjudge the safe area.
- Don’t honk at individuals using a white cane. People who are blind have no idea why you are honking.
- If you feel a person who is blind or visually impaired may need help, it is okay to ask if they need assistance. Ask the person for permission before trying to assist unless it is an emergency. If the person asks you to help guide them, offer your arm. They will hold your arm, just above your elbow to follow your path.
THE WHITE CANE LAW:
A totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a predominantly white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog, shall have the right-of-way, and the driver of any vehicle approaching this pedestrian, who fails to yield the right-of-way, or to take all the reasonably necessary precautions to avoid injury to this blind pedestrian, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other applicable provision of law. (Vehicle Code #21963)