Being deaf and taxi driver or Uber, is this possible?

Business 16 November, 2016

sourds-uber-5056Do deaf people can qualify to be taxi drivers or chauffeurs Uber in Quebec?

Deaf people can not currently obtain the 4C class of license, required to taxi drivers and in the Uber pilot project in Quebec, as the Metro had reported a few weeks ago . A medical test analyzing their hearing for obtaining this permit disqualifies. The Corporation assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) states that drivers must be able to ensure rapid communication and be able to hear a whisper if an emergency occurs. Metro was asked if deaf people can contact emergency services and manage distress.

Metro met three Uber drivers can not drive on the application because of their deafness. Before the pilot project, Uber demanded from them that the class 5 license, that most individuals possess – including the deaf. For them, the obligation to obtain the 4C license is not realistic, and they argue that deaf people now own multiple ways to handle an emergency.

“The technology ensures accessibility to the deaf in any field, especially for taxi drivers commented Benoît Landry, one of fifty deaf drivers who were driving on the Uber platform until entry into force of the pilot. [The government] criteria established several years ago, when technology was not part of our lives. ”

To illustrate this, his colleague Louis Desbiens, also deaf driver, opened his cell phone in the local deaf community Centre of Greater Montreal (CCSMM) where Metro met. For nearly a year, deaf people have access to a service, which allows them to contact 911 via text message round the clock and which is offered by the major mobile phone companies.

“We registered for the service, and when you call 9-1-1 if they hear nothing on the line, there is a plant that re-contact us by text message. You can ask a police officer, firefighter, paramedic … “says M.Desbiens.

The driver was tested before Subway and could initiate a conversation by text message with the emergency services (see photo). A deadline has been found against because, for the good of the meeting, the interpreter continued the discussion in the room where we were.

A “video relay” service, which is offered since early September, also allows deaf people to contact 911 via video, and an interpreter is translating directly. The service is currently available from 9h to 21h, but could be offered over a longer period if the need arises, says drivers. “I’ve used 5 times, continues Benoît Landry. There was someone bloodied in the street, he was all alone. I dialed 911 and the ambulance came, so it works very well. ”

The drivers want the SAAQ considers these new options available to them and engages a conversation with them to assess the possibilities and see if they can qualify for the 4C license. “They took a decision and maintained without consulting us to consider what can be done, regret Gilles Read, director of CCSMM. We live every day with deafness, so accessibility services known, we find solutions to our everyday problems. ”

All argue that deaf people have developed not only a greater visual faculty helping to detect hazards on the road, but also to understand the expressions of people by gestures. “You can see when the person is not going well. Calling 9-1-1 immediately. We always spent our lives to adapt. It is as if the SAAQ think that we can not cope and we will just be an observer without doing anything, “says Patrick Lazure, too Uber driver until the entry into force of the pilot.

The drivers indicate that customers can always contact them with a pen and paper they make available to them or via their mobile phone. Drivers can read their message at a red light or is parked.

“It will soon be over radio distribution. The arrival of applications like Uber, Taxi or Teo Diamond lets deaf drivers to continue working. It’s time to work on possible solutions, “concluded Benoît Landry.

Regulations in other Canadian cities

Taxi drivers and Uber deaf can legally work in Toronto and Ottawa.

In Toronto, the municipal regulation specifies only that the driver has to speak English, but communication in English by text message is permitted. The police department of the City of Toronto confirms that deaf people can contact 911 via electronic devices for deaf people.

In Ottawa, there is nothing in the rules that prevents the deaf to be a taxi driver. However, taxi companies may impose their own demands on the drivers. Deaf drivers can access a specialized vehicle equipped with an emergency button, although this is not mandatory.