Newly Blind or Visually Impaired? Read These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Transportation to Work
by Shannon Carollo
You have come to the conclusion, though difficult to swallow, you’re a non-driver due to your blindness or significant visual impairment. One of many questions likely conjured up include, “How can I get to and from work reliably?” I’m assuming you’re here in search of answers.
First, there’s walking to work if you live close enough. If you haven’t started already, you should work with an Orientation and Mobility Specialist who is trained to teach you how to safely move about your environment. You’ll learn to use a white cane as a tool to detect obstacles in your path; you’ll learn to pay attention to landmarks you contact; and you’ll learn to cross streets by listening to the pattern of traffic. You’ll learn to put all of the information together and use your new tools to travel your route.
Second, there are individual drivers. You can hire an occasional taxi, you can employ a personal driver, or you can accompany another to work while providing compensation.
Third, there’s public transportation. Your Orientation and Mobility Specialist can teach you how to access the local bus system, subway, or tram. If public transportation is not accessible to you because there are no sidewalks or you have an additional disability, you can utilize paratransit services which provide door-to-door service where you would otherwise use public transportation. Obviously, you cannot take advantage of public transportation if it doesn’t exist in your town; for this reason I recommend moving to a covered area if accessing the community is important to you.
Read the following questions you may have regarding transportation to work. Each question is a link to its answer.
As always, ask a specific question in the comments section, on the message board, or in a Facebook message.
Re: Newly Blind or Visually Impaired? Read These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Transportation to WorkPosted by sueharper on 1/28/2016 at 9:44 AM
Does the workplace provide a driver if driving is part of the job?
Re: Newly Blind or Visually Impaired? Read These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Transportation to WorkPosted by Shannon Carollo (TVI, O&M) on 1/28/2016 at 12:03 PM
If driving is an essential function of the job (delivery driver for example), the individual who is blind would not meet the qualifications for the job. If driving is a marginal job function, a reasonable job accommodation should be agreed upon (occasional driver, you can take longer and use public transportation, another employee assumes responsibility for the driving, etc.) Of course (and I say this for those reading who are newly visually impaired), you must fully qualify for essential job functions and the accommodation must be reasonable. An employee wouldn't be required to pay a full time driver for a minimum wage employee.
From the Job Accommodation Network site: " employers must consider accommodations such as alternative methods of transportation for work-related travel when driving is not an essential function of the job. For example, an employer must consider alternative transportation for a social worker who cannot drive due to vertigo; the essential function is completing the home visits, not driving."
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