Sen. Ryan Gatti, District 36, has pre-filed a senate bill that would make it law for driver’s education instructors to teach appropriate behavior when stopped by a law enforcement officer.
He said this provision in driver’s ed instruction is important because driver’s safety, especially young driver’s safety, is important for all.
“The average person will get pulled over only a few times in their driving career,” he said. “This training will help our young drivers.”
Senate Bill 17 would dictate that the Department of Public Safety and Corrections “shall provide instruction relative to trailer safety, to the economic effects of littering and to appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.”
It goes on to say oversight of these rules would be conducted by the House and Senate Committees on transportation, highways and public works, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
The bill is the brainchild of former NFL player and Haynesville native Demetric Evans, who called Gatti with the idea.
“After the Dallas shootings, he began to brainstorm about this issue and had the idea of adding a one to two hour component to the Louisiana Drivers Education classes focusing on driver courtesy during a traffic stop,” Gatti said. “We envision part of the course to be taught by an officer in person or online. Hopefully, we can make the traffic stop safer for all involved. We have asked for input from law enforcement and it has been positive thus far.
“I’ll be honest,” he continued. “As my friend was talking to me about the idea on the phone, I was driving, and you guessed it, I got pulled over.”
Gatti gave a few suggestions to integrate into the course:
Upon being pulled over, turn off music, get your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready for the officer before he approaches the window and asks for it.
Roll down your window prior to being asked by the officer.
Place your hands on the steering wheel in clear view of the officer: in a “9/3 o’clock” position.
Make eye contact with the officer when he or she is speaking to you and when speaking to him or her. (Do not look straight ahead or at a guest in the vehicle while being addressed or addressing the officer.)
“This is common sense legislation that will allow parents and law enforcement to breathe easier,” Gatti said.
“If we can remove anxiety from the traffic stop, then that is good for everyone.”