'You're responsible': Advocates call for safe driving awareness on White Cane Safety Day
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A local nonprofit and its supporters are working to end reckless driving on Milwaukee streets.
Beyond Vision is especially focused on keeping the visually impaired safe.
During a Friday morning news conference, Cory Ballard recounted his "close call" with an impatient driver about a year ago.
Ballard, who is vision impaired, said the person drove into the crosswalk and the car tapped against his guide dog as they walked to Ballard's job.
"Anyone traveling in our community, you also have a responsibility. You're responsible for my safety as well," explained Ballard, director of technology at Vision Forward Association.
The dog was okay, but it's reckless incidents like this advocates want to stop.
"Hitting your horn doesn't help somebody who can't see. All it is is a loud noise that's going to distract me, or if I'm using a dog guide it's going to distract my dog and scare the dog," he said.
White Cane Safety Day stresses the importance of the white cane used by some with vision loss.
In Wisconsin, drivers must stop at least 10 feet away from a pedestrian carrying a white cane or walking stick or using a service animal.
Since the start of the year, nearly 50 people have died in traffic accidents in the city.
Activists want harsher penalties.
State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said safety is a choice.
"It's a hard problem to solve because everybody has to make the individual choice, at every moment, to do what is right for someone else who does not have the ability to even know that you're there," Taylor said.
Violators of the White Cane state law may be fined, and could face conviction depending on the offense.