23 Jun Drivers’ Education Now Includes Traffic Stop Etiquette
According to a new bill recently passed by the Louisiana State House, drivers’ education courses will now be required to include lessons on the proper traffic stop etiquette when being pulled over by a police officer. The bill, introduced by Senator Ryan Gatti, focuses mainly on adding “appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer” to the required content for new young drivers.
Gatti notes that while police officers are regularly trained in handling traffic stops, there is rarely any attention given to a driver’s behavior. From personal experience in being pulled over, he remarks “I’m an experienced driver, and I was nervous, so you can imagine how a young driver feels.” In the long run, he believes that this instruction can help ease the tension between drivers and officers before inciting a potentially violent encounter.
For his part, Gatti has received considerable support from his fellow administrators as well as local officers. Sgt. James Anderson, Louisiana State Police Troop D spokesman, also spoke positively of the bill, noting its focus on safety and communication between officer and driver. Following the bill’s passing, Gatti also hopes to create a video tutorial that explains traffic stop etiquette to more seasoned drivers to avoid additional taxpayer dollars. In the meantime, he and other supporters of the bill emphasize clear and straightforward instructions when being pulled over by an officer: keep hands visible at all times, follow the officer’s direction, and tell the officer if you’re reaching for proof of your insurance in a glove box or console.
The bill proposal recently passed both the House and the Senate with no opposition and is expected to be signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. If in effect, the bill would then become law on January 1, 2018. However, according to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, 30-hour drivers’ education courses have already begun to make conduct changes following the bill’s premise.