CHAPTER 222

FORMERLY HOUSE BILL NO. 285

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENTS NO. 2 AND 3

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO PERSONS TOTALLY OR PARTIALLY BLIND.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the members elected to each House concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Title 16 of the Delaware Code, by the addition thereto of a new PART IX, which shall read as follows:

PART IX. DISABLED AND PARTIALLY DISABLED PERSONS

CHAPTER 95. DELAWARE WHITE CANE LAW

§ 9501. Public policy

It is the policy of this State to encourage and enable the blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled to participate fully in the social and economic life of this State and to engage in remunerative employment.

§ 9502. Rights and liabilities

(a) The blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled have the same right as do able-bodied persons to the full and free use of streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

(b) The blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places to which the general public is

invited; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by judicial decision or by the Delaware Code.

(c) Every totally or partially blind person shall have the right to be accompanied by a guide dog, especially trained for the purpose, in any of the places listed within this Section without being required to pay an extra charge for the guide dog; provided that he shall be liable for any damages done to the premises or facilities by such dog. A guide dog may be excluded from any of the places enumerated in this section if the admission of such dog would create the clear danger of a disturbance or physical harm to other persons in such place.

§ 9503. Rules of the road

The driver of a vehicle approaching a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominately white or metallic in color (with or without a red tip) or using a guide dog shall take all necessary precautions to avoid injury to such blind pedestrian, and any driver who fails to take such precautions shall be liable in damages for any injury caused to such pedestrian; provided that a totally or partially blind pedestrian not carrying such a cane or using a guide dog in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances listed in Section 9502, shall have all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons, and the failure of a totally or partially blind pedestrian to carry such a cane or to use such a dog in any such places, accommodations or conveyances shall not be conclusively held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.

§ 9504. Enjoyment of public facilities

Any person or persons, firm or corporation, or the agent of any person or persons, firm or corporation who denies or interferes with the admittance to or enjoyment of the public facilities enumerated in Section 9502 or otherwise interferes with the rights of a totally or partially blind or otherwise disabled person as specified under Section 9502 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

§ 9505. White Cane Safety Day

Assembly by resolution, may take public notice of October 15 as White Cane Safety Day so that the public may continue to be aware of the significance of the white cane and be able to recognize the presence of disabled persons on the streets and sidewalks of the State.

§ 9506. Employment opportunities

It is the policy of this State that the blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled shall be employed by all employers, including this State, political subdivisions of this State, the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as are able-bodied persons, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved.

§ 9507. Housing accommodations

(a) Blind persons, visually handicapped persons, and other physically disabled persons shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease or compensation in this State, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

(b) 'Housing Accommodations' shall mean any real property, or portion thereof, which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings, but shall not include any accommodations not included within paragraph (a) or any single family residence the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish for compensation not more than one room therein.

(c) Nothing in this Section shall require any person renting, leasing, or providing for compensation real property to modify his property in any way or provide a higher degree of care for a blind person or a visually handicapped person.

(d) Every totally or partially blind person who has a guide dog, or who obtains a guide dog, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this Section,

and he shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such guide dog but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by such a guide dog.

§ 9508. Violations

Any person who violates any provision of this Act shall, upon conviction for such offense in a Justice of the Peace Court, be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for every such violation.

Approved July 5, 1971.