Calderon Bill Creating Voluntary Deaf or Hard of Hearing Notification Program within Department of Motor Vehicles Approved by Assembly Transportation Committee

Monday, April 1, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill 259, a measure introduced by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D–Whittier) which would create a Voluntary Deaf or Hard of Hearing Notification Program that would notify law enforcement that a driver may be deaf or hard of hearing, was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee today.  

“The program would provide helpful and timely information to law enforcement and greater reassurance to the deaf or hard of hearing community,” stated Majority Leader Calderon.  “The more information officers have before approaching a vehicle, the better they can protect and serve as intended.”

According to the American Community Survey data from 2013-17, there are an estimated 11.8 million people who are considered “functionally deaf” in the United States - roughly 3.6% of the U.S. population. In California alone, there are roughly 1.2 million people (about 3% of the state’s population) who fall under that classification. The deaf or hard of hearing community makes up a sizable proportion of the population, yet little has been done to ensure that law enforcement is given the information necessary to ensure a more successful interaction with this community.

AB 259 directs the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a Voluntary Deaf or Hard of Hearing Notification Program.  The program would allow a person registering a vehicle or renewing their registration to voluntarily indicate that a driver of the vehicle may be deaf or hard of hearing.  This would create a notification in the vehicle’s record which would be provided when a peace officer accesses the vehicle’s registration – more commonly known as running the vehicle’s plates. 

In order to protect the privacy and security of participants of this program, the bill explicitly prohibits the DMV from indicating a driver’s deaf or hard of hearing designation on the driver’s license, certificate of ownership, registration card, or license plate. The designation will only appear once an officer runs the vehicle’s license plates during a traffic stop.

AB 259 is supported by the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Disability Rights California, and Los Angeles Police Protective League.

Contact: Lerna Shirinian (562) 692-5858