Bill to Protect Autistic Drivers (and others) Clears House

Representative Wes Cantrell (R)- Woodstock, presented House Bill 43 today which would allow a driver to voluntarily place a notification on their vehicle registration that they have a condition that may make it difficult to communicate in stressful situations (such as during a traffic stop).

Autism manifests itself in unique ways from individual to individual and some autistic people will never be able to drive. But there are some who will have the skills necessary for driving safely and this gives them them the opportunity to share information about their condition with law enforcement if they choose to do so. The idea is that a police officer who has this information would have an understanding about why someone is having a hard time communicating during a traffic stop.

My son is on the Autism Spectrum and will likely be able to drive (and soon if you can believe it). I can tell you from personal experience that he is a bright and capable young man. But the moment he feels stress, he shuts down. I would hate for an officer to misinterpret his inability to communicate with refusing to comply. If HB 43 should become law, I can rest a little bit easier as a dad of an autistic son.

Good work, Representative Cantrell. The bill, which passed The House without opposition, will head to the Senate next.

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