AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tasha Lemke says it’s not so hard communicating with her passengers.

She’s deaf and she’s driven for Uber over the last year and a half. She said living in Austin makes driver and rider communication easier.

“I don’t feel like there are really any barriers,” she said.

Austin has a rather large deaf community. She said more deaf people drive for Uber than people probably realize.

She says there may at times be some initial awkwardness when a rider enters her car and realizes she’s deaf, but things usually go smoothly.

“Sometimes they’ll get quiet, sometimes they’ll even pass out and I think, ‘man, makes my life easier,'” she said.

Now, communication will be even easier. Uber has released a new function on its app to help riders communicate through sign language with deaf drivers. It teaches the riders how to sign simple words, like how to say hello and introduce themselves.

“I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s great for the Austin community,” Lemke said. “There are so many deaf people living here in Austin and it’s nice for other people to learn sign language because everybody benefits.”

Uber did not specify how many deaf drivers are in Austin, but said there are “thousands” of deaf drivers nationwide.

Uber introduced a sign language learning part of its app so riders can communicate with deaf drivers (Uber Photo)