Mo. looking to educate drivers on how to interact with police

To avoid violent and sometimes deadly encounters between drivers and the police, the Missouri legislature is proposing bills that would help educate both motorists and the police on proper conduct.

The state of Illinois recently passed a bill that sets out a set of rules of engagement for drivers and the police to follow. A similar bill in Virginia is set to be passed.  There are also a few states considering doing the same: Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

The idea is to make traffic stops and police interactions more transparent by educating both sides on how to behave. The so called “Rules of the Road” adopted in Illinois this February is a model for other states when it comes to the details of proper and safe driver behavior that can help reduce the stress during a police encounter.

In Missouri, leaders want to include the information as part of the driver’s examination, and even have suggested making a video that would have to be watched. 

The Illinois guidelines suggest the following:

If your driver’s license or insurance card are in the glove box or under the seat, wait until the officer arrives and inform him or her about it and ask permission to retrieve them.

Be sure to keep both hands on the steering wheel in plain view and leave them there until you are instructed otherwise.

Never exit the vehicle unless you are asked to do so.  Getting out of your vehicle gives the impression that you are being aggressive and could be a potential threat to the officer.

Other suggestions are to always be polite and cooperative and avoid arguing the officer.  You can always fight your case in court if you feel your rights have been violated. 

If you are concerned that the officer may be a fake officer, roll down the window a little and tell the officer and state that you would like to go to a public place to conduct the stop.  Most officers will allow this unless they have a reasonable suspicion that you could be intoxicated or impaired in some way.

Finally, when stopped, turn off the engine, so the officer knows you will not try to take off and potentially hit him.  Then turn on the internal lights and open the window partway before the officer gets to your window.  And, of course again, keep your hands on the wheel.

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