Proposed Ohio law would require teens to learn to interact with law enforcement at traffic stops


When it comes to learning how to properly interact with law enforcement during a traffic stop, the Ohio Department of Public Safety provides driving instructors with a video and these few tips:

  • Pull over at the nearest intersection
  • Roll down the driver's side window
  • Keep hands in plain view
  • Present drivers license and registration and insurance
  • Be cooperative and polite
  • Do not argue with the officer
  • Obey officer's direction

But State Senator Sandra Williams believes the state isn't doing enough to educate young drivers, so she proposed additional education.

Under Senate Bill 16 introduced this week, the measure would require the State Board of Education to adopt a model curriculum on traffic stops and other police interactions that would be taught in grades 9-12. The Department of Public Safety also would be required to adapt aspects of the curriculum for use in driver education classes seeking drivers licenses or learners permits.

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Under the proposal, high school students would learn about their constitutional rights on issues like unlawful search and seizures, the rights of passengers in a car and the right to videotape law enforcement.

Williams says in her research provided by the Ohio Highway Patrol, 423 people were charged with obstruction of official business in 2018. From 2013-2017, 1,882 people were charged with the same crime.

"At times, these instances have led to unnecessary, deadly outcomes for both law enforcement and civilians. Many members of law enforcement believe that charges such as these can be avoided with increased public awareness on what to do when stopped by law enforcement," she said.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Misty Waller agrees.

"Our job is difficult. We are in a difficult position most of the time and I think the more people understand where we are coming from, the easier it is for them to understand what they need to do," she said

The bill also requires law enforcement to be refreshed on proper behavior when dealing with citizens.