New Florida Law To Identify Hearing-Impaired Drivers


A new Florida law will give drivers the choice to identify themselves as hearing-impaired when registering a car or renewing a driver’s license. The hope is to ease tensions during encounters with law enforcement.

Starting Monday, police will be able to identify hearing-impaired drivers just by looking at their license plate through this voluntary program.

Two years ago, a hard-of-hearing driver was fatally shot in North Carolina, unaware of the siren of a trooper trying to pull him over.

This case inspired Tallahassee police lieutenant Robert Di-Gonzalez to work with lawmakers on a system for hearing impairment to be noted on licenses and to show up on tag checks.

Di-Gonzalez’s son was born with 40 percent hearing loss.

“Being the parents of a child that’s hearing impaired — that’s a big concern for us especially when he was learning how to drive,” Di-Gonzalez said.

The new law is the first of its kind in the country. Some states have tried hearing-impaired identification cards, but having a tag registry allows for officers to find out before confronting a driver face-to-face.

Ben Tobias, Gainesville Police Department spokesperson, has had experience dealing with people who are deaf or hearing-impaired.

“Personally, when I was working the road many years ago, I came into contact with somebody, and we had to go just a pen and paper,” Tobias said. “That was the only way that we could communicate because I am not fluent in American Sign Language.”

Tobias said he is touched by the story.

“To know that his son is a catalyst for this law is just truly heartwarming for me.”

About Christina Schuler

Christina is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

Check Also

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe V. Wade. Here’s what that means for Florida

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe V. Wade. The decision removes the federal right …