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Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Traffic Stop Procedures
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Traffic Stop Procedures

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Printable Copy of Procedures

Proper & Safe Procedure When You Get Stopped by Law Enforcement
E-Z Way is including training for each of their Segment 1 students on the proper and safe procedure for citizens who are stopped by law enforcement. Getting pulled over by the police is never a pleasant experience, but there are a few things which can be practiced to make it a safer and less stressful event for both the person being stopped and the police officer. As a public service, we are including this information below for use by the general public. This outline is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

Put Yourself in the Officerís Shoes
The first thing that citizens need to know about traffic stops is how extremely dangerous they are for officers. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous and unpredictable aspects of law enforcement - second only to domestic disputes. Statistics back up this claim. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, traffic stops are one of the leading causes of police deaths. What makes traffic stops so hazardous?

First, thereís the danger that the pulled-over motorist poses to the officer. Sudden and violent attacks are common. Dozens of officers are killed each year by gun fire during traffic stops. The second threat police officers face while making stops is traffic. Officers getting hit by passing vehicles is, sadly, too common.

Knowing the dangers that traffic stops pose to officers should guide your actions whenever you see those flashing lights behind you. The advice that follows boils down to two key points:

  1. Pull over to a safe area.
  2. Always cooperate and donít do or say anything that will make the officer think youíre a threat.

What to Do When You Get Pulled Over by the Police (details of each item further below)

  1. Acknowledge the officer by turning on flashers.
  2. Pull over to a safe area.
  3. Identifying an unmarked police vehicle and/or the driver as law enforcement.
  4. Stay in the vehicle.
  5. Turn off engine, roll down window, and turn on your dome lights.
  6. Stay calm.
  7. Stay still and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Again - Stay in your vehicle.
  8. Greeting the officer.
  9. If you plan on fighting your ticket, keep answers short and donít directly admit wrongdoing.
  10. Comply with the officerís request to see a driverís license and proof of insurance.
  11. Move deliberately.
  12. If you or a passenger are carrying a gun, let the officer know immediately. **
  13. Return hands to the steering wheel.
  14. Always be civil.
  15. You donít have to consent to a search.
  16. Donít argue.
  17. Be cooperative.
  18. Sign the citation.
  19. Do not resist arrest.
  20. After the traffic stop, be safe when merging back into traffic.
  21. A driver is to be treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement officers.
  22. All traffic stops are documented.

Acknowledge the officer by turning on flashers. To let the officer know that youíve seen his lights and that you plan on pulling over, turn on your emergency flashers. It is recommended that you do this, especially if you think youíll need to drive a short distance before you can find a safe place to pull over. Stop at the closest safe location available. If you keep driving, it might heighten the officerís suspicion that criminal activity is afoot and also instantly make the office feel that the traffic stop could be dangerous. Keep in mind that the officerís police car has all kinds of lights and, to increase safety for everyone, the officer is trained to activate as many lights as possible to light up the car that they are pulling over and the area around the car.

Pull over to a safe area. Typically, you want to pull over to the right side of the road. When looking for a spot to pull over to, think "safety first" for both you and the officer. Look for an area with a wide shoulder so passing traffic isnít a hazard. If itís nighttime, look for place thatís well lighted if possible. That will help put the officer at ease. Parking lots and well-lit side streets are other safe places to pull over to.

Do not slam on the brakes or stop in the lane of traffic. Drivers should not stop their vehicle on bridges, curves, next to guardrails, concrete walls, medians, or any place where it would be difficult for other vehicles to pass. A vehicle should not be stopped too close to the solid white line, as the office or vehicle may get struck by oncoming traffic.

If you need to travel a short distance to pull over, do so at a slower pace than you normally drive. You donít want the officer to think youíre trying to make a getaway. Also, if you need to cross multiple lanes to pull over to the right-hand side of the road, do so safely.

Identifying an unmarked police vehicle and/or the driver as law enforcement. You should drive slowly and carefully below the speed limit and either (1) pull over at a well-lit, populated location, (2) drive carefully to the nearest police station and attempt to attract the attention of a uniformed officer, or (3) call 9-1-1. A driver should activate the vehicleís hazard lights as a helpful way to communicate intentions with the police officer. Again, only drive a short distance to a safe area.

Stay in the vehicle. If you get out of the car as soon as you stop, it may give the impression to the officer that youíre going to be aggressive or you have something to hide in the car. Just remain buckled in your seat.

Turn off engine, roll down window, and turn on your dome lights. As soon as you come to a stop, turn off your engine and roll down your window. If itís dark out, turn on your interior dome light so the officer can see whatís going on inside the vehicle as he approaches. Be prepared for the officer to approach from either the driver or passenger side of the vehicle.

Stay calm. Itís common to get nervous whenever you get pulled over. Take some deep breaths and relax. Unless youíve done something outright criminal (i.e. driving intoxicated, possessing illegal drugs, etc.) thereís nothing to be nervous about. The worst that can happen during a routine traffic stop is that youíll have to pay a fine, and your insurance will probably go up.

Stay still and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Keep your hands resting on the wheel and remain still as the officer approaches your vehicle. You donít want to give him or her any reason to believe youíre a threat. Keep hands on the steering wheel until the traffic stop is complete.

Again - Stay in your vehicle. Do not try to exit the vehicle unless asked to do so. Getting out of the vehicle can be perceived as aggressive behavior and a threat to the police officerís safety.

Greeting the officer. When the officer approaches the window of the vehicle you are driving, you should say "Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, Officer. My name is (state your name) and the car is registered to my parents (state your parentsí names). I am very sorry if I did anything wrong." That way, the officer would immediately know with whom they are speaking and what the relationship is between the driver and the registered owner. The whole process will probably go a lot smoother if you share this information with the officer as soon as the officer approaches the vehicle.

If you plan on fighting your ticket, keep answers short and donít directly admit wrongdoing.  Everything you say to an officer is admissible in court, so if you plan on fighting your ticket, it is suggested not saying anything that indicates you are guilty. Officers will typically ask questions to get some sort of admission out of you when they first walk up to your window. For example, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Donít say, "I was speeding, sir." Simply say, "No" or, "I donít know."

Wait for the officer to ask for your documents. Donít try to expedite the process by getting your license and registration ready while the officer approaches your car. For all he knows you could be reaching for a gun or trying to hide some sort of incriminating evidence. Wait until he or she gets to the window and asks for your documents.

Comply with the officerís request to see a driverís license and proof of insurance. Operators are required to have a valid driverís license, registration, and proof of insurance in order to operate a vehicle.

Move deliberately. If these items are in the glove box, under the seat, or if the proof of insurance is stored for display on a cellphone, the driver should inform the police officer of that fact and then follow the officerís directions before retrieving the information. When you do reach to get your license and registration, do so deliberately. A quick reach into the glove compartment for your insurance paperwork looks the same as a quick reach into your glove compartment for a weapon. If your wallet is in a gym bag in your backseat, let the officer know before you turn around and rummage for it.

Quick Tip: Try to keep your glove compartment relatively organized, and your documents together, so that when you pull the box open, you donít have to frantically sort through papers to find your registration. It is suggested that the registration and insurance paperwork is clipped together in an envelope labeled "REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE" and placed in the glove box so the driver can find the documents quickly when requested by the police officer. The longer the officer has to wait outside the car for you to find the documents, the more they may become agitated and angry and would be less apt to issue a verbal warning.

If you or a passenger are carrying a gun, let the officer know. Some states have laws that require concealed carry owners to inform officers that theyíre carrying a gun anytime they get pulled over. These are called ďmust informĒ states. Michigan is a ďmust informĒ state. Officers are allowed to ask for and hold the weapon for the duration of the stop. (**See information at the end of this article for more detail on weapons)

Even if you get stopped in a state which is not a "must inform" state, as a courtesy to the officer, you might want to disclose the fact that youíre carrying. Nothing puts an officer on red alert like seeing a "print" of a gun through a motoristís clothes.

Return hands to the steering wheel. After youíve handed the officer your paperwork, return your hands to the steering wheel. It keeps them visible to the officer.

Be civil. Be polite and respectful in your communications with the officer. Immature behavior such as calling the officer names, threatening him, and being rude wonít get you anywhere. In fact, it could make things worse. If the officer is a man, refer to him as "officer" or "sir." If the officer happens to be a woman, refer to her as "officer" or "maíam." You are speaking to an officer of the law - show respect.

You donít have to consent to a search. In order to search your vehicle without your consent, an officer needs probable cause - maybe he smells something in the car or sees a bottle on your seat. If he doesnít have probable cause but wants to search your car anyway, heíll need your consent. If you do not consent, politely decline the search by saying, "Office, I do not consent to a search," loud enough so it gets on the police recorder. Thatís it.

Donít argue. The side of the road is not the place to argue a charge. If you want to contest the ticket, you can do so in court and in front of a judge.

Be cooperative. If a driver is suspected of drunk driving, refusal to submit to breath, urine, blood or performance tests can result in the loss of driving privileges.

Sign the citation. If the officer decides to issue a citation, heíll ask you to sign it. Sign it. Itís not an admission of guilt. It is just recognition that youíve received the citation and that you promise to either 1) pay the fine or 2) show up to court on the designated date. A signature on a citation in most jurisdictions is in lieu of you posting a cash bond. Posting a cash bond generally consists of a trip to the nearest jail or judge and may include a booking process and fingerprinting. It is always easier to sign the ticket.

Do not resist arrest. If taken into custody by law enforcement, DO NOT resist arrest.

After the traffic stop, be safe when merging back into traffic. Take your time to store your belongings before you re-enter traffic. If youíre upset, collect yourself before driving away. When youíre ready, turn on your signal and merge back into traffic.

A driver is to be treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement officers. If a driver believes that an officer has acted unfairly or unprofessionally during a traffic stop or other encounter, he/she should report the conduct as soon as possible to the officerís superiors. Officers are required to provide their full names and badge numbers upon request. Written complaints can be filed with the agencyís internal affairs division or civilian complaint board, or the Chief of Police.

All traffic stops are documented. Regardless of what action is taken, police officers are legally required to document all traffic stops, which includes obtaining the driverís name and address for data collection purposes. The entire contact with the police officer is recorded on audio and video. The video contact is directly in front of the police officerís car and the audio microphone is attached to the officerís uniform. What you and the officer do and say will be recorded and is admissible in a court of law.

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

* NOTE: Effective date: September 27, 2018. This information focuses on traffic stops for minor traffic violations. It also assumes that youíre not doing anything criminal. This lesson is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

** MICHIGAN HANDGUN LAWS: Complete law is available at www.michigan.gov

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

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Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan
Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

Driver Education the E-Z Way - E-Z Way Driver Training

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Phone:  (517) 788-6855
Email: 
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Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan

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Driver Education the E-Z Way - Jackson & Kalamazoo Michigan