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@NCCapitol

Advice on how to handle traffic stops could be added to driver's ed

Posted January 31

— A proposal in the General Assembly would add information on how to act during traffic stops to driver's education in North Carolina.

House Bill 21 calls for the Division of Motor Vehicles to include information in its driver's handbook describing law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and what drivers should do, including appropriate interactions with officers.

"A lot of people, especially young people, have no idea what the proper procedure is during a traffic stop," said Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond. "It’s amazing to me that there’s nothing in the driver’s handbook about what to expect."

Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, said there are many misconceptions about traffic stops, and many parents don't teach their children what to do if they're pulled over. A former police chief, Faircloth said standardizing the response across the state should help both law enforcement and drivers and could save lives.

"(Parents) don't think to say, 'Now, if you're challenged by an officer to stop with blue lights, here's what you do.' It's because they don't think their child's going to get into trouble," he said. "(We want) to just have people, by remembering what they're told during their driver training – these are the steps you should take, do what the officer says and everything will probably work out much better."

Law enforcement agencies would be involved in writing the new instructions.

The bill has 36 co-sponsors, including Rep. Rose Gill, D-Wake, who said educating young drivers could fight perceptions that traffic stops are dangerous.

"We want them to know how to react to a certain situation and that they don’t always have to act as if they are going to be in danger," Gill said.

She said she also would like the measure to include additional training for law enforcement officers.

"We have to increase training for law enforcement agencies so they will know how to approach individuals so that they get a positive response," she said.

Faircloth said how officers conduct stops and what they expect from drivers can vary widely. One of the goals of the bill is to bring law enforcement agencies together to agree on some basic protocols that drivers should follow statewide, such as whether they should remain in their vehicles or get out.

"(Getting out) would have been perfectly all right in some places in North Carolina. In other places, the officer takes that as threatening. So, that's what we're trying to do – standardize things," he said.

8 Comments

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  • Rudy Bizzell Jun 15, 6:46 a.m.
    user avatar

    AGAIN SEE IF THEY POST THIS TIME. They also need to be told what rights they have when stopped they can get your driver license, insurance, registration. They cannot search your car unless you give permission ( unless smell of alcohol ,pot) if you have a way to video do it. It is not against the law they cant make you stop or seize your video device or take and erase content on it

  • Chiqi Torres Feb 5, 7:24 p.m.
    user avatar

    People need to know their rights when stopped for no reason at all. Laws relating to traffic stops, and individual's rights, should definitely be required learning.

  • Michael Bawden Jan 31, 9:22 p.m.
    user avatar

    When taking driver ed in the 70's in Orange County Mr Jaynes spent a lot of time on how to conduct yourself at a traffic stop. Police and SHP are THE authorities on the road and respect their commands. I am shocked that this is not part of the ciurticulum.

  • Jeffrey Derry Jan 31, 9:03 p.m.
    user avatar

    more government as parent making up for the absence of the father in the home

  • John Archer Jan 31, 8:12 p.m.
    user avatar

    How about they actually teach the kids to drive. Those classes are a joke.

  • Tal Lugen Jan 31, 8:06 p.m.
    user avatar

    The only thing that needs to be known is to be respectful. If people are finding themselves lost at how to deal with a traffic stop, it's because they're unsure of how to show respect for other people. Respect isn't deserved just because of a uniform. Rather, common courtesy and respect should be your modus operandi. Am I really supposed to believe that people aren't teaching their children how to behave? Am I supposed to believe that people will default to conflict-inducing behavior unless they're taught specifically to behave in a different manner around officers?

  • Craig Elliott Jan 31, 7:23 p.m.
    user avatar

    Good idea,

  • Vince DiSena Jan 31, 5:03 p.m.
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    Simple, do as the officer instructs. Don't be ignorant.