Most of us are able to avoid accidents because we have the gifts of sight and hearing. If we step off the curb, only to see or hear a vehicle speeding in our direction that appears to have no intention of stopping, we have the ability to react and try to get out of the way.
However, for those who are bereft of sight or hearing, crossing the street can be a much more dangerous proposition. Once in a crosswalk, blind and deaf pedestrians have much less opportunity to maneuver out of harm's way should a negligent driver fail to stop.
It is for this reason that the state of Rhode Island has very specific laws regarding what motorists must do when approaching a pedestrian who displays signs of being sight or hearing impaired.
A driver must come to a complete halt when coming upon a pedestrian who is walking a service dog or carrying a white cane. Motorists are required to make this stop whenever the pedestrian is in the vehicle's path or approaching the street. A dog that is a seeing-eye or hearing-ear signal guide is recognizable by a yellow harness. The canes are typically white and may have a red tip. Walking sticks that are colored white or have a white or red tip may also denote sight impairment and stand as signals for motorists to come to a complete stop.
Of course drivers should act to avoid striking any pedestrian, but they must be especially cognizant when sharing the road with those who lack the facilities to see or hear an automobile coming. If you or someone you love is hearing or sight impaired and was injured by a negligent driver, you most likely are facing medical expenses for care and recovery.
A Rhode Island pedestrian accident attorney could help you explore your options and represent your interests as you pursue compensation.