Nevada’s legislature is currently in session, and among all the proposed bills is one that advocates and law enforcement say can make traffic stops safer for Nevadans with disabilities. The bill, Assembly Bill 161, was presented by Assemblyman C.H. Miller and ACLU of Nevada in front of the Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure in February. These and other bills will have until June 5th to pass when Nevada’s 82nd legislative session ends.
The proposed bill will allow drivers a choice to indicate if they communicate differently when they get their driver’s license, and it would include those with autism, those with speech disabilities, and those who are hard of hearing. Miller said that he hopes that this can serve as an “additional tool [to law enforcement] and alert them that someone’s response or actions during an encounter may be a matter of how they receive or delivers communication, rather than a threat or an act of defiance.” This bill is a way to create safer roads for all Nevadans.
In addition to being backed by civil rights organizations, the bill is also backed by Washoe County Sheriff’s Office as well as Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs Association. The hearing for the bill was also accompanied by testimony from mothers of children with autism who discussed their fears that their children’s inability to communicate could be misinterpreted, thus jeopardizing their safety. They also shared statistics that in a survey done by Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, sixty percent of respondents stated they are fearful for the contact a loved one with autism might have with law enforcement.
While the proposed bill has been met with a lot of support, some concerns were raised, including the fact that designation, while voluntary, might result in discrimination when IDs are presented at other establishments. Additionally, the Deputy Administrator for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles stated that this added classification would require changes to the current coding used. Lastly, a passing of this bill would signify a need for additional training for law enforcement.
Traffic Stops: What Do I Do if I get Pulled Over?
If you see a police car behind you with its sirens or emergency lights on pull over to the right as fast and as safely as possible. Remember to use your turn signals when changing lanes to get from left to right, and don’t go so fast that an officer or other vehicle could risk hitting you. Pulling over doesn’t mean that you are guilty, rather it means that you are alert of your surroundings and complying with the law.
Once you have been pulled over, you should typically turn off the engine, and it is courtesy to put out your cigarette and turn on the interior light if it is dark outside. Stay in the car unless the officer tells you otherwise, and wait until the officer asks before rummaging in your back pockets or glove box for your insurance and ID. It is best to keep your hands on the steering wheel as this can put the officer at ease, since they are often cautious of any dangers a traffic stop may put them in 
Additional Funding For Las Vegas Pedestrian Safety
In addition to the legislature bills being proposed, The US Department of Transportation announced on February 21st that they have awarded $2 million to support the current improvements along 1-15 and Bonanza Road in Las Vegas’s Westside. These improvements will include wider sidewalks, better lighting, extensions to the curbs, and other measures to make pedestrian crossing both shorter and safer. 
The new funding was a result of a bipartisan bill passed with the help of Senator Jacky Rosen and comes after eighty-eight pedestrians were killed on Nevada roads in 2022, with (seventy-two) of the deaths in Clark County. This was a five percent increase from Nevada’s pedestrian deaths in 2021. 
The area on I-15 that will receive improvements from this bill has seen pedestrian fatalities in 2023 as well. A deadly pedestrian crash on I-15 near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway shut down traffic northbound on February 22. A pedestrian was standing on the travel lanes. Which resulted in the pedestrian being struck by multiple vehicles. It is unknown why the pedestrian was on the roadway when they were pronounced dead on the scene 
Image Credit: Ken Lund