|Posted:||October 11, 2019 03:51 PM|
|From:||Representative Thomas P. Murt|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Driver's License to Identify Communication Disorder|
|One of a police officer’s most difficult responsibilities is making a traffic stop. This is true as there is no such thing as a ‘routine’ traffic stop. Every traffic stop presents an unknown dynamic as a police officer does not know whom they are stopping - until identification is established by the officer. Questions, such as, 'will this be a standard traffic stop?', or 'will it present potentially serious outcomes?' - are presented to the officers on the scene.
Many people with high-functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome have a need and the ability to drive a motor vehicle. As part of their individual diagnosis, many have communication disabilities that might make them appear to be unwilling to communicate or cooperate with a police officer. It is critical for a police officer making a traffic stop of such drivers, to know something about the individual on approach, so they can handle the situation appropriately.
In the future, I will be introducing legislation to support the voluntary addition of a “C” - Communication Impediment specification designation on their PA Drivers license or PA Identification Card. This is to officially designate and recognize this condition and to better prepare a Commonwealth law enforcement officer in these circumstances. The addition of this designation is 100% voluntary and can be described as a safety feature for both the driver or card holder, and the law enforcement officer involved.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this effort to better prepare our law enforcement officers and improving the treatment of our individuals with communication challenges.