This brochure is designed to educate both citizens
and law enforcement about expectations during a traffic stop. Understanding
what is expected from both parties improves communication, helps to reduce anxieties,
and improves the public’s understanding about the need for traffic law enforcement.
Improved communication is also the first step in eliminating community-based
divisiveness and creating community-based partnerships. Building bridges to
the community should occur one traffic stop at a time.
things to remember:
To effectively address these
public health and safety issues, law enforcement agencies across the country enforce
traffic laws. Traffic law enforcement is a time proven method of:
- An average of three
in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some
point in their lives.
- The driving behaviors
associated with aggressive driving -- speeding, red light running, following
too closely, and others -- cause hundreds of crash-related deaths and thousands
of injuries each year.
- Lap/shoulder safety
belts, when used correctly, significantly reduce the risk of crash-related
fatalities and injuries.
- Traffic stops often
result in the identification of criminals who are suspected in other crimes.
However, in recent years, the
public has been made aware of incidents that have occurred between citizens and
law enforcement during traffic stops. Most of these incidents were positive and
did much to advance the public’s perception of law enforcement. Some incidents
were negative and disturbing, and created public mistrust.
- increasing pedestrian
safety, seat belt, child safety seat, and helmet use
- reducing the incidence
of impaired and aggressive driving
- increasing the apprehension
of dangerous criminals
you are a motorist, here are some ways to improve your traffic stop experience:
- Invoke the “Golden Rule”
and treat the officer the way you would like to be treated.
- Remember that you are
required to cooperate with all reasonable requests that law enforcement personnel
- If an officer signals
for you to stop, remain calm and pull over safely.
- Be prepared to produce
your driver’s licence and other documents, based on the laws in your jurisdiction.
- Remain in the vehicle
unless the officer tells you otherwise.
- Keep your hands visible.
- If you are stopped by
a non-uniformed officer in an unmarked vehicle, you can ask the officer for
- If you believe the reason
for the stop is vague or unclear, you can ask the officer for details.
- If you are uncomfortable
about stopping because an area is deserted or not well-lit, explain this to
the officer and ask if you can proceed to a more populated or better illuminated
- Procedural questions
and complaints about an officer’s treatment of you can be forwarded to the
- Don’t speed, drive aggressively,
or drive while you are impaired. Always wear your seat belt and correctly
buckle up any children who are riding with you. Yield to pedestrians when
they have the right-of-way. If you follow all traffic laws, you reduce your
chances that the police will stop you.
- Try to find the “positive”
in the traffic stop. Use the information you have received to make yourself
a better motorist.