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DOT approves road sign to protect children with Autism

Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 18:10:02-05

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — Michael and Maria Tennant nearly lost their son last July, after he ran into the street and was almost hit by a car.

Three year-old Luciano Tennant is on the Autism spectrum. After that terrifying incident, his parents fought to get a road sign up to protect him and other children like him.

"Any parent who has a...children on the spectrum knows that that's what those children do. They just they don't have any fear and they will run," said Luciano's mother.

The family applied for a sign, but was told it was not approved by the New York State Department of Transportation.

"We learned that the reason the municipalities were denying authorization to put up the sign is because in order for a sign to be permitted, it has to be in what's called "The Federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control," said Assemblywoman Monica Wallace.

It is a standard manual that lists the approved signs that any municipality can put up. The list has now been update because of the initiative of the Tennant family and others.

"We were successful in persuading the Department of Transportation to include this in their supplemental manual," said Assemblywoman Wallace.

"I truly think that people will be more cautious in driving down residential streets to look out for children. And not even children just with autism but children in general," said Maria Wallace.

Now that the sign is in the uniform manual, municipalities are allowed to put up these signs, and it's up to them if they wish to add any additional criteria.