SAN FRANCISCO—Reports say that a case initially reported as a kidnapping turned out to be a misunderstanding.
According to reports, a woman reported an attempted kidnapping after she jumped from a car during a trip with ride-sharing service Lyft on October 29. Unaware that her driver was in fact deaf, the 28-year old woman panicked when he went in the opposite direction of her neighborhood, unresponsive to her telling him to stop. She then exited the vehicle at a stoplight, breaking her ankle as she fled.
Officer Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department noted that the incident was “merely a misunderstanding.”
Discussing the aforementioned incident, Reddit user cdxv remarks, “If I am getting in a car with someone who is a professional driver, I really want them to have all their senses. Being able to hear the traffic around you (at least when I’ve driven in the city) has actually been really important, especially in cases where there is an emergency vehicle rapidly approaching and I can’t see their lights (yet).”
Research behind deaf drivers suggests that they are in fact as good as, in some cases better than, drivers with no hearing impairment. According to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, a brain that is hard of hearing will be more sensitive to touch and vision. A person born deaf would therefore have more acute peripheral vision and greater motion control, coordination, and response time.
Another Reddit user further indicated how the situation was an unfortunate misunderstanding: “I’ve taken a few Lyfts with deaf drivers and they’ve always made it clear upon entering that they are deaf (using a computer that speaks or a note). Wondering if and why that didn’t happen.”