Safe and Sound campaign – Karl Denning
Karl Denning, 45, was left in fear of leaving the house after being hit twice by the same quiet electric vehicle near his home in Dudley. Karl, who lost his sight in an industrial accident in 2009, applied for a guide dog shortly after the second terrifying experience.
The incidents took place before Karl was partnered with his guide dog, Quasi. He relied on a long cane, and was walking the familiar 1-mile route to his parents’ house. He says: “There’s a section with a road crossing towards the housing estate and I prepared myself to cross. Every time is a step of faith for me – it’s quite frightening not knowing what’s there.”
He continues: “I listened carefully and weighed up whether it was safe. But just as I took that ‘step of faith’ I heard the screech of tyres on the tarmac, but there was no engine noise. The next thing I know I’m on my back on the bonnet of a car. I was absolutely terrified and had no idea what had happened.”
Karl adds: “The driver was also shaken and was really apologetic, but I can’t help but think she can’t have been concentrating. The car had switched to electric as she’d slowed down for the corner which meant there was no engine sound to warn me it was coming.” Thankfully, Karl escaped with just a few bruises.
Unbelievably, just a month later Karl had the exact same experience – the same crossing, same driver, same car. It was after this second accident that Karl felt too vulnerable to rely on his hearing alone and he applied for a guide dog.
He says “I also heard that the driver sold the car after that, because it wasn’t worth the stress and it wasn’t saving as much money.”
Karl supports the Guide Dogs Safe and Sound campaign as he believes these accidents wouldn’t have happened if he’d been able to hear the car coming.