For Some Visually Impaired Pedestrians, Distracted Drivers Remain A Worry

'I Walk Defensively,' Says One Attendee Of White Cane Safety Day In Milwaukee

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

All states now basically require drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians carrying white canes or using guide dogs.

However, for some of the approximately 200 visually impaired people and their supporters who gathered in Milwaukee Thursday to celebrate White Cane Safety Day, distracted drivers remain a concern.

Milwaukee high school student Carlos Garcia, who is blind, was among those at the event, which was first established by the federal government 51 years ago. He said he believes the law usually works.

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“There have been accidents, of course, but I’ve never had anything happen, and people recognize the white cane, which is great,” said Garcia.

An older visually impaired person, Bill Meeker, said the White Cane Law has helped him travel more independently. But Meeker said he is worried that some drivers are now too distracted to see him and his cane.

“I’m cautious,” he said. “I walk defensively. I pay very close attention to what motor vehicles are doing around me.”

Wisconsin drivers found violating the white cane law can be fined up to $200 for a first offense.