New tool helps officers, people with Autism during traffic stops

New feature on driver's licenses alert officers to speech impediment (KXAN Photo)
New feature on driver's licenses alert officers to speech impediment (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When police pull you over, it can get stressful for just about any driver.

Now there’s a tool to help Autistic drivers communicate with traffic officers.

Samuel Allen at the Capitol to discuss speech impediment notification on the Texas driver's license (KXAN Photo)
Samuel Allen at the Capitol to discuss speech impediment notification on the Texas driver’s license (KXAN Photo)

Samuel Allen helped demonstrate the new tool at the State Capitol Monday. “I usually don’t understand innuendos or sarcasm and loud noises, like, say, blowing a whistle in my face, can delay my response time. If left unchecked in a situation with a police officer, it could make the situation a lot worse.”

The Department of Public Safety initiative will allow drivers to note if they have communication impediments right on their driver’s license.

“Let’s say a police officer pulls over someone with high-functioning Autism, the officer may make a figure of speech, and they’ll say something like ‘Where’s the fire?’ and the person with Autism may take it literally, and say, ‘Well, there actually is no fire I’m going to.’ The officer may take it as a smart aleck remark and find it disrespectful,” Allen said.

The notification on the back of a driver’s license would help do away with that possibility.

They could include people with Asperger’s, Down Syndrome or speech impediments.

Steps for getting the notification added to your driver’s license:

  1. Have your physician complete and sign a physician’s statement form (DL101) affirming the diagnosis.
  2. Visit your local driver license office for an application (DL14A/S). Complete line 7.

For more information visit the Texas Department of Public Safety website. 

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s