Arizona driver’s manual now includes information for staying safe during traffic stop

PHOENIX – A new driver’s license manual now includes a safety section detailing best practices for drivers who get pulled over by law enforcement.

Arizona Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, who worked with officials from several state agencies to add the language to the manual, saying he wanted to prevent deadly interactions between police and motorists.

Police shootings, including of Philando Castile at a traffic stop in Minnesota last year, have sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, protests and controversy about police relationships with African Americans.

“I want to make sure that we prevent any types of shootings at traffic stops before they even occur,” said Bolding. “We need to make sure that in Arizona, a state that has a number of guns out on the street, a number of guns that are riding in vehicles of individuals, that we’re having some sort of education.”

It cautions drivers to alert an officer if they have a gun in their vehicle, to keep their hands on the steering wheel, where the officer can see them, and to avoid reaching around inside the vehicle without permission.

The Arizona Driver License Manual now advises drivers how to interact with law enforcement during a traffic stop. (Nathan Rupert via Creative Commons)

The legislator collaborated with officials from the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies.

Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead also expressed support for the revision.

“If we can teach youth what to do when they’re stopped and impact the next generation, maybe most of these miscommunications become something of the past,” Milstead said.

Bolding said he’s happy about the changes to the literature but leaders in Arizona and across the country have to improve traffic stop safety in other ways.

“It’s important that drivers recognize what to expect when they’re stopped,” he said. “But it’s even more important that drivers recognize and understand their rights.”