SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A local organization is celebrating a day that focuses on an essential tool that helps those with vision impairments lead independent lives.

The Louisiana Association for the Blind is celebrating White Cane Awareness Day on Sun., Oct. 15. White canes were invented by James Biggs in 1921 after he lost his vision in an accident. He painted his walking stick white to make himself more visible, and the white cane movement spread across the world.

White Cane Day
White cane day image: KTAL files.

A white can is an extension of a person’s hands and arms. White canes allow those with visual impairment to avoid obstacles, find their footing on cracked or uneven surfaces, and live independent lives.

If you’re driving a car and someone with a white cane is crossing the road, be sure to stop because they have the right of way. It’s best to step aside and give them room if you meet them on the sidewalk. Others should not shout warnings or attempt to steer them around obstacles.

One of the best ways to help those with visual impairments is to know your state’s white cane laws. For Louisiana’s white can laws, click here. For white cane laws in Texas, click here.

Since 1927, the Louisiana Association for the Blind has been helping people with visual impairments establish independent lives. LAB also provides jobs for those with visual impairment.

Click here for more information about the Louisiana Association for the Blind.