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New Illinois ID cards aim to help drivers with disabilities
Mar 18

Editors Note Adds full quote from card in 3rd paragraph.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) _ New identification cards in Illinois aim to ease interactions between police and people with disabilities.

The ``Person with a Disability Wallet Card'' is available free from any secretary of state's driver services facility, The Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/2mBk62Q ) reported. The cards are given to applicants 16 and older who have been diagnosed with an intellectual, developmental or mental disability, such as autism, epilepsy, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

``My medical condition may impair my ability to communicate with others, especially with strangers or in stressful situations,'' reads the introduction the identification card.

It goes on to tell authorities, ``Please do not interpret my behavior as refusal to cooperate.''

``This should be a great tool,'' Aurora police Lt. Mike Abbs said. ``The more information we have on people's abilities and disabilities when we first encounter them, the better we can serve them.''

The card was introduced this year as part of a state law sponsored by Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego and Democratic Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora.

``This card will serve as a tool to foster communication between the public and our first responders,'' Kifowit said. ``Hopefully it will de-escalate any stressful situation, it will help first responders do their jobs, and in essence it will keep our loved ones safe.''

The state has printed 100,000 Person with a Disability Wallet Cards, but Kifowit said officials don't know how many cards have been handed out since becoming available Jan. 2.


Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2017