TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES – Dan Parker is a blind motor racing driver who won the Guinness World Records title for “Fastest Speed for a Blindfolded Car” on Thursday, March 31, 2022.
Parker set the record of 211,043 miles per hour on the Spaceport America runway in his custom Corvette – which includes an innovative audio guidance system specially designed for his needs.
Parker was blinded by a racing accident ten years earlier on the same date in 2012, and he also graduated from the Louisiana Center for the Blind just seven years ago – on, you guessed it, the same date.
The record attempt was made as part of the National Federation of the Blind’s Accelerating Blind Driver Challenge – an initiative that aims to draw attention to the importance of breaking down barriers to mobility and demonstrate the incredible achievements of blind people.
The effort built on the inaugural Blind Driver Challenge event which took place on January 29, 2011, when Mark Riccobono, now president of the National Federation of the Blind, independently operated a modified Ford Escape hybrid on the course Daytona International Speedway road. Riccobono navigated the turns of the course and steered the car around dynamic obstacles by following haptic prompts generated by data from the vehicle’s GPS, cameras and LIDAR sensors.
“Our demonstration of the Daytona Blind Driver Challenge changed perceptions of blindness in society, including the perceptions we had of ourselves as blind people,” Riccobono said.
Riccobono noted that he further demonstrated to the world that Parker’s talents and the expertise of those who are blind are some of the critical developments needed for non-visual vehicle interfaces.
Parker is also a member of the NFB.
“Dan Parker has now raised the expectations of blind people even higher by independently driving a vehicle faster than any blind person has done before, proving that the combination of accessible technology and our own ability enables blind people to operate motor vehicles safely, even at high speeds,” Riccobono said.
The National Federation of the Blind is headquartered in Baltimore and proudly advocates for the rights of blind people of all ages. They also provide information and support for families with blind children and those with other visual disabilities.
“With the help of my Federation family, my exceptional pit crew and our partners at Cruise, I am proud to bring the Guinness World Records title for the fastest speed for a car driven blindfolded in America,” Parker said. “We have not only demonstrated that a blind person can drive a vehicle safely, but that we can do it at over two hundred miles an hour. We hope this success will inspire people who are blind and show the world the potential of modern technologies such as self-driving cars to help blind people break down barriers in everyday mobility and beyond. he added.
You can see Parker breaking his world record on the Facebook page, footage from their live stream on https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=707474403724740.
Cielo Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected].