One of the most frustrating things about driving is getting pulled-over for a traffic violation. You were running late to a meeting and were travelling a little too fast. You needed to make it to the bank before it closed, so you passed that one slow car, but you didn’t notice that you were passing over double, solid-yellow lines. You weren’t paying attention when you arrived at a 4-way intersection and decided to indulge in the right-of-way… when it was not your turn. Seeing those red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror can bring an instant dark cloud over your day. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
What is a peace officer, anyway? A peace officer is any one that is elected, appointed, or employed to enforce law. Thusly, whenever you are stopped by a police officer you are stopped by a peace officer because they are one in the same. Other examples of peace officers include deputy sheriff, state trooper, or constables. Even state park rangers are considered peace officers because they have the right to enforce state law. We will now be taking a look at several informative, state-required presentations regarding peace officer and driver interactions.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation offers an informative presentation that is aimed on creating and maintaining safe interactions between law enforcement and citizens. While the presentation is also specifically aimed for the state of Texas, here are some helpful tips that are beneficial in any routine traffic stop:
- You MUST immediately stop when approached by an authorized emergency vehicle with its lights or sirens on. You can be arrested for failure to stop.
- When you are pulled over, park your vehicle to the right of the road and to the right main traffic lane
- Park on the right shoulder, if available,
- On a nearby well-lighted side street,
- Or parking lot,
- Away from high volume traffic, if shoulder unavailable.
- Make sure the vehicle is in “Park”
- Turn the engine off
- Turn your emergency hazard signals on
- Remain in the vehicle
- Lower your driver-side window
- Keep your hands in a visible location at all times — DO NOT reach, dig, or search for items or documents (like license and registration) before an officer has approached your vehicle and requested them
- Disclose if you are transporting ANY type of weapon
- Try to refrain from arguing the charge at the time of citation — you can always fight your ticket in court
- Signing a citation is not an admission of guilt
Police officers have their own list of conduct regarding how they should act during a traffic stop. They are always supposed to approach a routine stop with a certain level of courtesy and you should try to return that favor. If you have been recently cited by a peace officer, don’t fret. You may be eligible to take an online defensive driving course to dismiss your traffic infraction! We recommend www.cheapeasyfast.com for all of your driver improvement needs. Their course is approved for all courts in the state of California (they operate courses in other states too) and it is entirely free to try!