Two Texas senators introduced proposed bills they hope will change how people learn how to interact with police, but one of those bills was designed specifically for teens.
Senator Royce West introduced a bill that he hopes would require the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to change the way Texas Driver Handbooks are written. It encourages DPS to include instructions on how to deal with police stops in the handbook and it also pushes for training materials for all cadets who want to become a Texas Peace Officer.
Sgt. Patrick Swanton, with the Waco Police Department, said it is important for teens to know how to conduct themselves if ever they get stopped by police.
"It's part of the driving experience you need to learn," Swanton said. "We would rather you learn prior to being pulled over, than to try to learn while you're being stopped."
Tonya Dansby is the owner and director of the Central Texas Driving School and she said she's dedicated to making sure her students are prepared for a traffic stop, before they hit the road.
"It's crucial that they learn how to interact with police...I want my students to be comfortable in their interactions with pole, and for the police to be comfortable with my students," Dansby said. "We have some great kids go through here and we don't ever want them to get into a situation that could be a negative situation."
Monique Candelaria is one of Dansby's students and she said being in a driver's education course that taught her police-stop protocol has her prepared.
"It's been very beneficial to he information and the knowledge if that does ever happen," Candelaria said. "It's made me more aware -- it's still nerve-wrecking thinking of getting pulled over if I did -- but at least I would know kind of like, the steps and what I would have to do."
Here's a list of things Swanton and Dansby said drivers should keep in mind when dealing with a traffic stop:
- Be polite
- Have your driver's license and insurance handy
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel at 10-and-2
- Follow police instructions
- Don't reach under the seat, into a console, underneath or behind yourself
- Turn on the interior light at night so that the officer who stopped you can see you
- Don't get out of the car unless you're told to
- If outside of the car, hold onto the side of your pants to avoid making any sudden movements
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