Six individuals with hearing impairment became the first batch in Shanghai to pass the physical examination prior to driver training on Wednesday, which means they may obtain driver's licenses in three months, according to the Shanghai Disabled Persons' Federation.
The physical examination took place at a local hospital. After undergoing tests regarding visual acuity, hearing, color discrimination and limb activity, six individuals were assessed as qualified to proceed to driving training.
A worker with the Shanghai Disabled Persons' Federation surnamed Zhu said it was a result of years of work reflecting disabled persons' needs to relevant government departments and communicating with police and traffic authorities.
A document from the Ministry of Public Security allowed people with hearing impairment to apply for licenses to drive small-sized cars if they can meet a certain hearing standard with hearing aids.
But individuals with hearing disability said that the lack of physical examination sites and driving schools catering to their needs has been a long-term problem.
Data from the Shanghai Association for the Deaf showed that there are more than 80,000 certified residents with hearing impairment in the city, and hundreds of them have an urgent desire to drive.
Wu Fei, who began suffering from neurogenic deafness at seven months old due to medication, was one of those who passed the physical examination.
Wu, a teacher at a special education program at the Shanghai Institute of Technology, said her driving dream could finally come true after many years.
Wu used to work at the university's downtown Xuhui campus, but was relocated to the suburban Fengxian campus in 2017.
She spent more than two hours commuting every day. As it is difficult for Wu to get a driver's license, her father, who is nearly 70, sometimes drives her home from work.
"I'm pleased that we now have access to obtaining driver's licenses, which will certainly make life easier. It showed that the city guaranteed people of special groups the equal right to participate in social life and share its development achievements," she said.
Jiading District Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital was the only medical institution that offered individuals with hearing impairment the physical examination prior to driver training.
The hospital opened a new testing room for such individuals to undergo hearing tests.
Jin Weiguo, vice-chairman of the hospital, said that individuals can make a reservation for the physical exam through the hospital's WeChat account, and volunteers mastering sign language will help them through the physical exam on site.
Shanghai Anting Driving School was designated as the first and only training base for drivers with hearing disability in the city.
Two coaches who are fluent in sign language will be available for the learner.