New Nebraska driver’s manual revises section on traffic stops

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Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Most drivers likely haven’t pecked up a driver’s manual since they got their license, but with Nebraska releasing a new version of the state’s manual, police and driver’s education experts say now is a great time to refresh your memory.

Something that impacts almost all drivers at one point or another is traffic stops.

Nebraska’s new manual is going more in-depth on the topic.

“That type of advice is the type of advice I’d give to my family, and I have given to my son, so it’s excellent information,” says Bellevue Police Captain Andy Jashinske about the revised guidelines.

Section 2G in the previous manual is labeled “Police Stops.” In the new one, it’s labeled “What to do and expect when pulled over by police.”

The section has more than doubled in size, and takes more of a preparatory approach, unlike the previous one.

“They went more step by step, and not just kind of glossed over it,” says Erich Whitemore, a driver’s ed teacher with Big Red Driver’s Ed. “It’s more step by step how they want the driver to react when they get pulled over, and what to expect from the police officer when they come up to their window.”

As a driver’s ed teacher for several years, Whitemore says he’s impressed with the addition.

“That should’ve probably been in there years ago.”

The section begins with an explainer that says “Being stopped by an officer can be a stressful experience for the driver, any passengers, and for the officer, too.”

Captain Jashinske says this statement rings true.

“Something that could really help both sides during a traffic stop is communication, and one thing I noticed in there was the communication that they want to increase between the police officer and person or individuals that are being stopped,” he says.

The first section explains what to do when you see emergency lights behind you, and reminds you and passengers to remain calm and cooperate. It then goes into what to do as the officer approaches you.

The biggest difference is a section that explains what an officer will typically do, say and talk to you about during the stop.

“Obviously the first thing we tell our students is don’t get pulled over, then second we say don’t panic,” Whitemore says. “It’s easy to panic when you see the lights behind you, and you don’t know what to do. We try to go through the steps that are in there and it just wasn’t in the driver’s manual.”

Captain Jashinske agrees that the new manual is definitely a step up.

“The thing that popped in my head was the DMV must’ve reached out to law enforcement to come up with that list because it’s an excellent list, there’s not much more I could add to what’s already on there.”

Jashinske says following the guidelines will help avoid any negative or tense encounters.

And Whitemore says the new guidelines aren’t just for new drivers.

“The older you get, the less you look at the driver’s manual, and I think it’s a good refresher for our young drivers and our older people.”

To view the new driver’s manual, click here.

Here are a few specific examples of the changes:

The manual no longer says, “do not run from the law.” Instead, it says stay in your vehicle unless directed to exit by the officer. The previous version also said to be polite and do not argue with the officer. Now it says respectfully ask the officer to clarify if you have questions. If you disagree, do not prolong the contact by arguing.

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