White Cane Law
American Council of the Blind (ACB) Posts Document
Detailing White Cane Laws Throughout U.S.
The ACB’s National Office has posted a much anticipated document that details the White Cane Laws for each of the 50 states and District of Columbia. White Cane Laws refer to laws that support pedestrians who are blind being able to fully access streets and public ways. These laws state that drivers should use every precaution possible when approaching a pedestrian carrying a white or metallic cane, or using a guide dog, both of which suggest the pedestrian is completely or partially blind. This resource from ACB outlines each state’s laws, regulations, penalties, and text from the state’s drivers’ manual. The state’s website, or state employees, was used to gather this information. Access the White Cane Laws for States at: http://www.acb.org/whitecane.
Here is the New York State Law:
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1153. Provisions relating to blind or visually impaired persons:
(a) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article every driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection or crosswalk shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing or attempting to cross the roadway when such pedestrian is accompanied by a guide dog or using a cane which is metallic or white in color or white with a red tip.
(b) No person, unless blind or visually impaired, shall use on any street or highway a cane which is metallic or white in color or white with a red tip.
(c) This section shall not be construed as making obligatory the employment of the use of a guide dog or of a cane or walking stick of any kind by a person blind or visually impaired.
Per e-mail from Bradley Allen, Assistant Counsel, Office of Counsel to the Governor, violations of Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) Section 1153 are classified as a traffic infraction. He confirmed that the penalty is as follows.
Pursuant to VTL Section 1800(b)(1), the penalties for a traffic infraction are a fine of $0 to $150 and up to 15 days in jail.
From the Driver’s Manual:
A special right-of-way law allows blind pedestrians to cross the road with a guide dog or a white or metallic cane. You must always give them the right-of-way when they are trying to cross at a marked or unmarked crosswalk even if the traffic signals or other right-of-way rules are not in their favor.
(Source: Adapted and corrected from http://www.auroraofcny.org/home/?p=2434)