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Indiana senator files bill to alert drivers, police on what to do in traffic stops

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’ve ever gotten pulled over by police, think back to the last time: Did you know what to do?

A state senator wants to make sure Hoosiers know the proper procedures in a traffic stop. Lonnie Randolph says he has seen examples of what can happen after getting pulled over by law enforcement.

“The immediate thought is it’s routine, but what happens is it gets out of hand,” said the Democrat from East Chicago. “Somebody gets injured, hurt and, in some cases, killed. A lot of times, the majority of it more recently has been affecting African Americans.”

Randolph wanted to figure out the proper things to do for the driver and the officer during a traffic stop. So, he filed Senate Bill 15, which would require the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to include some details in driver’s manuals:

  • A description of law enforcement procedures during a traffic stop, such as treating drivers with dignity and respect.
  • The actions a motorist should take during a traffic stop, such as placing your hands in clear view and stopping in well-lit areas when possible.

According to online records, the bill was assigned Jan. 4 to the Homeland Security and Transportation Committee, and Randolph hopes it gets a hearing in the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly in the coming days.

Randolph said he has talked with BMV leaders about making a law.

“This way, if a subsequent commissioner becomes in charge of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Indiana, they won’t have the ability to change the wording and the standards that’s set in the driving manual. Right now, it’s not in statute. A new commissioner could come in and change the whole driving manual,” Randolph said.

An Indianapolis resident, Leonard Williamson, said, “I think it’s perfect. Laws change a lot.”

There’s already wording on what to do if you’re pulled over by a police officer in Indiana’s driver’s manual on Page 61. News 8 wanted to know if people even knew the information was in the manual. News 8 showed the manual to Brittani Gentry, a Hoosier driver who wasn’t aware of the guidance.

“It’s really informative. It shows me all sorts of things that I should’ve known already,” Gentry said.

Andrew Kaplan told News 8 he likes the idea of the legislation cementing the wording. “I definitely like that. I think more transparency of what’s expected of police officers as well will help build the trust of individuals.”