Model Legislation

State of North Carolina – SB 453 – Act to Require Driver Instruction on Law Enforcement Procedures during Traffic Stops
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Committee of Jurisdiction: Law, Justice, and Ethics


The risk of being pulled over by the police when “driving while black” is not a new phenomenon.  For African-American motorist, traffic stops represent potentially dangerous encounters with law enforcement that can lead to incarceration, physical harm, or even death. Traffic stops by police have been so troublesome for African-American communities that now Black parents across the nation give their driving age children similar instructions on how to avoid being harmed or killed by police during a routine traffic stop.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ latest study on police behavior during traffic stops, police conducted more than 25 million traffic stops across the United States in 2011, making it one of the most common ways for the public to interact with law enforcement. Unsurprisingly, traffic stops do not happen at the same rate or carry equal risks for all Americans; in 2015 the New York Times reported that in multiple states African-American drivers are more likely than other Americans to be stopped by police for a traffic infraction and a 2016 Center for Policing Equity study found that police were 3.6 times more likely to use force against Black people than White people during an interaction. A possible explanation for this disparity is that some police engage in racial profiling and use minor traffic infractions as a pretext for a more intrusive investigatory search, which increases the likelihood of use of force by the police. Consequently, many African-American drivers experience a reflexive uneasiness whenever they notice the flashing lights of a police cruiser.

The deaths of African-American motorist by police, like Philando Castile in Minnesota, was a tipping point for the African-American community, which compelled Black state legislators to introduce legislation that protects both drivers and law enforcement during these tense encounters. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) has also engaged on this issue and passed Resolution LJE-16-10, “NBCSL Supports Training that Fosters Positive Interaction between Drivers and Law Enforcement,” which expressed its support for legislation and initiatives geared toward fostering a mutual understanding of the rights and responsibilities of drivers and law enforcement personnel.

State Action


NBCSL Member Sponsor(s):
  • Sen. Floyd McKissick (NC)

Summary: Requires the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to consult with the State Highway Patrol, the Sheriff's Association, and the Association of Chiefs of Police in including law enforcement traffic stop procedures and descriptions of appropriate driver interactions with law enforcement officers within its driver license handbook. It also requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to incorporate these topics into the driver education curriculum offered at public high schools.  This bill provides instruction to drivers on how to conduct themselves during traffic stops that is safe for the driver and the law enforcement officer. 
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