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Stuart-backed law aims to inform police of conditions affecting driver communication

A new law backed by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, will help people with communication disorders interact more safely and effectively with law enforcement, by ensuring officers are aware of a person’s condition during traffic stops.

“Individuals living with communication disorders routinely face challenges that are difficult for those without that personal experience to fully understand or, often, even imagine,” Stuart said.  “Especially in interactions with police, some individuals can be at heightened risk in case of a  misunderstanding. The bill I was proud to sponsor helps with this by facilitating better communication and information about a driver’s or passenger’s communication difficulties.”

Stuart sponsored House Bill 4825, with the help of the Illinois State Police and other members of law enforcement, which allows drivers to make a record of any conditions that may affect their interaction with police officers. Importantly, it also allows parents of individuals with communication disorders to note that they are likely to be in the vehicle with them. This information will be indicated through the vehicle registration process, which will then be available to law enforcement when they initiate a traffic stop or other interaction.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on June 10.

“Traffic stops are typically safe but, for individuals with communication disorders, the interaction can change in ways that are unpredictable and potentially hazardous,” Stuart said. “Sadly, there have been incidents throughout the U.S. in which people with communication disorders have been seriously harmed by a police officer who did not understand their difficulties and felt threatened. I am pleased that Governor Pritzker has signed this bill into law, which will help to ensure that both police and those with communication disorders can interact safely.”

For more information, call Stuart’s office at 618-365-6650 or email repkatiestuart@gmail.com.

 

Rep. Katie Stuart, shown

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