New Texas driver education course now available in American Sign Language

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A French driving instructor (L) talks to a student practising for the driving license in a car of an auto-ecole (driving-school) in le Mans, northwestern France, on December 16, 2016. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A driver education course delivered in American Sign Language is now available for Texans.

The course was developed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation as a requirement of Senate Bill 1051 which was approved by state lawmakers in 2017. It is “the first of its kind developed by a state agency in the United States,” the agency reported Wednesday.

“TDLR is proud to make this driving course available for deaf or hard of hearing students. Being able to receive this information in ASL will allow for these students to have the same opportunity as their fellow Texans when taking a driver education course,” TDLR executive director Brian Francis said. “And, once again, Texas leads the way in innovation.”

The course, which involves a pre-recorded video, includes a transcript and voiceovers in English “to ensure accessibility of the highest standards,” TDLR stated.

The course was developed to provide a way for adults and children who are deaf or hard of hearing to fully participate in the classroom elements of the driver education course. The agency indicated those drivers are not required to use it, however.

According to the agency, Texas ASL experts were involved in the course development, which meets all driver education and traffic safety standards. SB 1051 also requires it fall in line with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Driver education schools shall provide a plan indicating how it would use the modified course as a condition of obtaining or renewing a state-issued driver education school license.

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