Release Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Association of Guide Dog Users Comments on Silent Hybrid Cars

Somerset, Massachusetts (October 25, 2007): The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), a division of the National Federation of the Blind, commented today on the purchase of hybrid cars by guide dog schools in order to train their guide dog teams. 

Priscilla Ferris, president of NAGDU, said: “We support the efforts of guide dog schools to train guide dog teams to be aware of silent hybrid vehicles.  At the same time, we must emphasize that the blind guide dog user is the leader of the guide dog team; the dog is trained to respond to the commands of the blind handler.  The judgment of a dog, however intelligent and well trained, cannot be substituted for the judgment of a human being; both guide dog users and guide dog schools recognize this basic principle.  We believe, therefore, that the only solution to the problems these vehicles pose for blind pedestrians, including guide dog users, is for the vehicles to emit a minimum level of sound that the pedestrian can hear.  If these cars remain silent, the inevitable result will be that both blind pedestrians and guide dogs are run over and killed.”