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Department of public safety assists drivers with communication challenges

DPS assisting drivers

AUSTIN- Texas is making history as the first state to assist drivers with autism. This was all started by a mother with an autistic son who was concerned about him being behind the wheel one day.

"Don't think of autism as a weight, think of it as a pair of wings." says Samuel Allen.

Starting Monday, 21-year-old Samuel Allen says he will feel safer and more secure on Texas roadways.

"Communication impediment with a peace officer, printed on the back of a driver's license to me feels like a safety net." he says.

Sam and his mom Jennifer have partnered with the Texas Department of Public Safety to enhance the training and education officers go through. This training will specifically target the communication with drivers who have autism, and how officers respond when pulling over a person with a disability.

"Because I have autism, I usually don't understand innuendos or sarcasm and large sudden noises, like blowing a whistle in my face can delay my response time, and if left unchecked like a position with a police officer, it can make a situation a lot worse." he says.

The Texas Department of Public Safety can add a line on the back of a driver's license indicating whether a driver has a communication impediment.

"In order for Texans with disabilities to fully participate in the economic and social life of our state, they need access to convenient transportation just as any other Texan would need." Says, Ron Lucy, Governor's committee on people with disabilities

A need that may not have been met without this strong driving force behind it.

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