SEOUL, Apr. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) announced on Wednesday that it is discrimination to refuse to rent a car to a hearing-impaired individual, and recommended that car rental companies establish measures to prevent a recurrence of this type of situation.
Furthermore, it advised the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation and city and provincial governments to strengthen guidance and supervision.
According to the commission, a hearing-impaired man filed a complaint with the NHRCK in June of last year, saying he was prohibited from renting a car by a company in South Chungcheong Province because he was deaf.
However, the rental company argued that there was a risk of an accident as it could not accurately check the level of hearing loss, such as whether the individual would be able to hear warning and engine start-up sounds.
The NHRCK considered the claim that a person with hearing impairment cannot rent a vehicle is discrimination without reasonable cause and rather the company could install an additional convex mirror.
Furthermore, the NHRCK claimed that there is no objective evidence to suggest that hearing-impaired people have a higher rate of traffic accidents compared to non-disabled people.
Even if the hearing impaired cannot hear the engine’s starting sound, the status of the vehicle can be fully recognized through warning lights on the instrument panel or the vibration of the vehicle.
Thus, the NHRCK declared that the refusal to rent a vehicle to a hearing impaired individual should be considered a violation of the law on discrimination against the disabled.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)