Today, Thursday 15th October is “White Cane Safety Day.”
This day is commemorated each year to raise awareness among the general population and to promote the use of the white cane among the community of persons who are blind or low vision.
This year’s commemoration is of particular significance since, after years of advocacy, the Trinidad and Tobago Blind Welfare Association finally got Parliament to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to have the white cane legally recognized as a symbol of blindness and a mobility aid.
This means that persons using the white cane now have legal right of way at traffic lights, intersections, crosswalks pavements and pedestrian pathways. The challenge now is to have the law implemented and enforced.
The Association is using the occasion of white cane day 2020 to encourage all persons who are blind or low vision to use their white canes to increase their mobility and independence.
The Association also calls on government to ensure the following:-
• All traffic lights at major intersections are outfitted with audio signals for the benefit of persons who are blind or low vision.
• Tactile features are laid down at the approach to intersections and crosswalks with high pedestrian traffic to alert persons who are blind or low vision that they are approaching same.
• The pavements and pedestrian pathways in our cities, towns, villages and communities are cleared of illegal vending or any other obstacle that impedes persons who are blind or low vision from safely using them.
The Association will continue to work diligently to empower the lives of persons who are blind or low vision and build a more inclusive society as we strive towards “Vision 2030.”