Starting July 1, 2016, all deaf residents of Florida will be able to get the international symbol for “deaf” on their driver licenses.
The Florida Senate passed the bill CS/HB 487 “Persons Who Are Deaf” with the identical bill SB 740. Both proposed the use of the international deaf symbol for driver licenses to assist law enforcement with the identification of deaf people in the state of Florida. SB 740 is for the registration in the database for the identification of deaf individuals and HB 487 is for the international symbol.
With the deaf symbol, police who pull you over will be able to see clearly that you are deaf and make the necessary communication accommodations needed. Your name will be in the database of deaf drivers in the state, so when police look you up, it will be on your file.
This symbol also means that police cannot arrest or question you without an interpreter. However, they can bypass this in the case of an emergency. The purpose of the symbol is to speed up the communication process. Family members are prohibited from acting as interpreters except in the case of an extreme emergency.
To apply for the symbol on the license, you must bring proof of your hearing loss and complete a form at a DMV office and pay the $2 fee. If you are not due for a license renewal, you will have to pay $2 for a new license with the symbol. If you are due for a renewal, the usual $25 fee applies.
*Law enforcement agencies are also required by law to have at least one officer on-call who knows ASL or is contracted with qualified interpreters.
*Florida state law currently states that anyone who is deaf is required to have a left-side mirror to see the rear on the left side or wear a hearing aid.