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N.C. Driver Education Law Went into Effect January 1, 2018

It’s important to know how to respond if you see blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and a police officer is signaling that you are being pulled over. Being stopped by the police can be extremely stressful, particularly if you are a young driver and have never been ticketed before.

Based on a law that took effect in 2018, the education of novice drivers in North Carolina will now include information about what to expect if you are stopped by police and the appropriate way to interact with law enforcement officers.

North Carolina lawmakers directed that students who are taking drivers education courses receive instruction about law enforcement procedures during a traffic stop and the appropriate steps that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers.

The aim is to educate young motorists about behavior that police may view as threatening or suspicious, such as keeping your hands in your pockets or reaching under the seat, and to keep everyone safe.

What to Do If You See Blue Lights Flashing in Your Rearview Mirror

If you are stopped, you should:

  • Stay calm
  • Find a safe place to pull off the road such as a nearby parking lot or along the right side of the road as far away from the active traffic lanes as you can get. You should not stop in an active lane of traffic.
  • Put your car in park and turn off the radio, disc player or other electronic devices that may make it harder to communicate with the officer.
  • Stay in your vehicle unless told by the office to get out of your vehicle.
  • Roll down the window to make it easier to communicate.
  • Keep your hands in plain view on the steering wheel, and tell your passengers to keep their hands visible as well.
  • Inform the officer if you need to reach into the glove compartment to get your registration or insurance card If the officer asks to see your registration.
  • Inform the officer if you have a concealed weapon in the vehicle.

The goal is to prevent routine traffic stops from turning into confrontations and to keep everyone safe.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will develop the traffic stop driver education instructional information in consultation with representatives of the N.C Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s Association and the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.

The information about what to do during traffic stops will be added to an updated version of the state’s driver license handbook to be published later this year.

For additional information, check out the Raleigh Police Department video about how to act during a traffic stop.

The new law also calls for at least six hours of education about drunk driving and the risk of driving while impaired by alcohol. North Carolina recorded more than 11,000 alcohol-related crashes in 2016, including 8189 injuries and 415 traffic deaths. All alcohol-related crashes are preventable accidents caused by a driver’s poor decision to drink and drive.

Contact North Carolina Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver in Raleigh, Durham or elsewhere in the Triangle, you may have questions about how to proceed. If the accident was caused by a drunk driver, that driver should be held accountable for the harm he or she caused. You may be unable to work and experiencing financial stress. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a crash, you need a compassionate Raleigh attorney who cares about your recovery and your future. The legal team at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., offers a free consultation to review your legal options and discuss whether you have a valid car accident claim.

About the Author

Joseph R. Baznik
Attorney Joseph Baznik is an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks P.A. who specializes in workers' compensation and personal injury. Joseph speak fluent both English and Spanish. He is licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

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