Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Something Different

Now this was a very unusual traffic stop: I pull the guy over for having a suspended driver's license. I approach the car, and he hands me his license and a business card for an American Sign Language interpreter, while hand-signalling to me that he's deaf. I actually had to telephone the ASL interpreter, who drove out to the scene. She and the driver sat in the back seat of my squad car, and we had a conversation about why I pulled him over and what was going to happen. When it was all done, the interpreter went on her way, and I gave the driver a citation and a ride home. In all honesty, it was pretty interesting. But the next time I see that guy driving, I'm going the other way.


Anonymous said...

I bet your boss gets a bill from the interpretor. At times this is done as a scam to pad the bill for an interpretor who then gives kickbacks to the patient. And if you don't play along, hello ADA suit.

Anonymous said...

He's not hand signalling, he's signing. The first isn't a language, the second is what you'd use when you'd say "he's speaking English."

If he didn't give you that card, your office would have had to dig up a certified interpreter and get them to your office while you waited to have a conversation. You'd get billed as well, like for any interpreting service.

I am eternally thankful this service is available because I can't hear for shit and it's legally dangerous for me to agree to anything without full understanding. I am lucky enough to have good written English skills but not every Deaf person does.

As complicated as you found it, it could have been so much worse time wise and frustration wise. He was also doing it to make it easier for everyone, not just himself. So many cops don't bother to take the time (as you did) and make assumptions about Deaf drivers, that many of us are super cautious about being pulled over. Given how many cops have killed Deaf people because they didn't realize that they were Deaf, it's a very valid way of responding. I always have it in the back of my mind when I'm driving.