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Now law: MVC to educate drivers on rights and responsibilities during traffic stops

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. – Drivers will soon have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities during traffic stops — the most common law enforcement interaction for Americans.

Under legislation (A3871) signed by Gov. Phil Murphy today, the Motor Vehicle Commission must produce a video on drivers’ rights and responsibilities during police traffic stops and incorporate it into their education and testing process.

“As a mom and an advocate for education, I was excited to embrace this bill because it offers an important learning opportunity for new drivers. Understanding your rights when stopped for a traffic violation is just as important as reading and interpreting road signs,” said Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, a prime sponsor of the bill. “It equips drivers with the knowledge to act responsibly and ultimately encourages more positive police encounters. It also creates a safer environment for law enforcement.”

Drivers are granted certain rights under state and federal law, including the right to be free from unreasonable or illegal searches by law enforcement, and the right to remain silent and not answer questions by the police.

“We want to establish a foundation for safer, less stressful police interactions and in order to do that, we must educate people on what actions are permissible under the law,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “Educating new drivers is an issue that should be championed by both sides of the aisle and I am glad I will get to see this law implemented.”

The law will take effect in seven months. After this time, soon-to-be drivers will be required to watch the video before taking the written examination for a validated permit.

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