White Cane Law

28-7-1.   Short title.

This act [28-7-1 to 28-7-7 NMSA 1978] may be cited as the “White Cane Law”.

 
28-7-2.   Policy.

It is the policy of this state to encourage and enable persons who are blind, visually impaired or who have another physical disability to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in remunerative employment.

 
28-7-3.   Equal right to use public facilities.

  1. Persons who are blind, visually impaired or who have another physical disability have the same right as others to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities and other public places.
  2. Persons who are blind, visually impaired or who have another physical disability 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 any other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
  3. Every totally or partially blind person shall have the right to be accompanied by a guide dog, specially trained for the purpose, in any of the places listed in this section without being required to pay an extra charge for the guide dog; provided that the person shall be liable for any damage done to the property or facilities by the dog.
  4. The attorney general, district attorney or any person with a disability may file an action in the judicial district when a building has been built or altered and the work has not been accomplished in accordance with the current uniform building code, other applicable publications and established handicapped standards. The building official shall notify those applying for a permit that they shall comply with established standards. Any interested person may appeal the granting or denial of a waiver to the district court where the building is located. If the court finds that the building owner was required to comply with handicap access standards of the uniform building code and has failed to comply with such standards within a reasonable period of time, then the party filing action shall recover the court costs, attorney fees and appropriate injunctive relief to remedy the violation.

 
28-7-4.   Driver to take precautions approaching blind; liability for damage

The driver of a vehicle approaching a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominantly 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 blind or partially blind pedestrian not carrying such a cane or using a guide dog in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances listed herein, shall have all the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons, and the failure of a totally blind pedestrian to carry such a cane or to use a guide dog in any such places, accommodations or conveyances shall not be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.

 
28-7-5.   Interference with rights of blind; penalty.

A person, firm or corporation or the agent of a person, firm or corporation who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of the public facilities enumerated in Section 28-7-3 NMSA 1978 or otherwise interferes with the rights of a blind or visually impaired person or a person who has a physical disability enumerated in the White Cane Law [28-7-1 to 28-7-7 NMSA 1978] is guilty of a misdemeanor.

 
28-7-6.   Annual proclamation of white cane safety day by governor.

Each year, the governor shall take suitable public notice of October 15 as white cane safety day. The governor shall issue a proclamation in which the governor:

  1. comments upon the significance of the white cane;
  2. calls upon the citizens of the state to observe the provisions of the White Cane Law [28-7-1 to 28-7-7 NMSA 1978] and to take precautions necessary to the safety of persons with a disability;
  3. reminds the citizens of the state of the policies with respect to persons with a disability declared in the White Cane Law and urges the citizens to cooperate in giving effect to them; and
  4. emphasizes the need of the citizens to be aware of the presence of persons with a disability in the community and to keep streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, places of public accommodation, amusement and resort and other places to which the public is invited safe and functional and to offer assistance to persons with a disability upon appropriate occasions.

 
28-7-7.    Policy of state on employment of persons with a disability.

It is the policy of this state that a person who is blind, visually impaired or who has another physical disability shall be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the state, the public schools and all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as others, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved.

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