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History Through Deaf Eyes – The Right to Drive

In the 1920s, as the number of cars on the road increased, state legislatures began to enact motor vehicle laws. At least four states refused to grant driver’s licenses to deaf people, and more were considering such laws.

The National Association of the Deaf formed an Automobile Bureau to compile statistics on deaf drivers and track discriminatory legislation. The association set up state committees to repeal bans on deaf drivers.

As the safe driving records of deaf people gradually became known, states abandoned the practice of linking two separate abilities: hearing and driving.

driving instructor and deaf driver>
<em>Gallaudet University Archives</em>

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Like most public schools, residential schools for deaf students offered courses in drivers education. North Dakota School for the Deaf