The Arizona Department of Transportation has amended the state’s driver's license manual to included text instructing prospective motorists on traffic stops.
District 27 Rep. Reginald Bolding approached ADOT and DPS about eight months ago to get the text changed. Bolding says he wanted to make sure anyone could survive a traffic stop.
“In Arizona, we have very loose gun laws,” says Bolding. “There has not been any direction publicly to let individuals know what you should do if you're carrying your gun on you when you’re operating a vehicle.”
Bolding points to the police shooting last year in Minnesota. Philando Castile was shot and killed by an officer during a traffic stop last July. Castile told the officer he had a gun in his car. The officer says he believed Castile was reaching for it.
Criminal defense attorney, Benjamin Taylor, believes the updated manual is a good start to making the rules clear in a traffic stop, but he says the text could go further to inform motorists of their rights.
“Sometimes drivers let officers automatically search their vehicle without a warrant, without any probable cause,” says Taylor. “So that's a big mistake.”
Bolding agrees the new manual should have delved further into drivers’ rights, but says he’s pleased some text instructs drivers on what kind of recourse they have if they experience a troubling stop.
That text reads in part: “Should questions arise regarding the officer’s conduct during a traffic stop, drivers should contact the officer’s law enforcement agency or supervisor using the officer information located on the citation.”
“There is no silver bullet, no pun intended, that can solve officer-involved shootings in this country,” says Bolding. “I don’t imagine that this conversation will stop.”
The traffic stop portion begins on page 56.
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