New law to help Texas drivers with communication challenges

Updated: Aug. 29, 2019 at 4:13 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - For some of us getting pulled over can be a bit scary especially if it’s our first time.

“I’ve been pulled over,” said Brandy Poage, a member of the Arc of Wichita Co. “I was in a hurry to get across town to work and on Seymour highway, its 50 and I didn’t know.”

Poage said her interaction with the police officer that day was not smooth. She believes if her friend, who’s deaf, was the one pulled over it wouldn’t have ended well.

"If somebody is deaf they need to warn them so they won't sneak upon them," said Poage. "If they sneak up on them he might freak out or have a seizure."

That is why she and the Executive Director for the Arc of Wichita County, Addison Roberts support the ‘Samuel Allen Law’.

“I think it will be better for the police force, just to have a better understanding of who they’re about to approach in a vehicle,” said Roberts. “Everyone is different and some disabilities aren’t necessarily visible.”

The new law gives a person challenged with communication, the option to disclose their disability when registering their vehicle through the DMV.

Communication Impediment will be privately placed in the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System. Therefore, if the driver gets pulled over the officer will know of their disabilities before they approach the vehicle.

"Not only will it be easier to communicate, by knowing there might be a disability, but it will also make it a safer environment for everyone involved," said Sgt. Dan Buesing, with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The law is named after a young man who lives with an autism spectrum disorder. He and his mother have been fighting for special identification on state driver’s licenses.

The new law will take effect on September 1st.

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