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Lawmaker proposes bill to train new drivers rights and responsibilities in a traffic stop

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A state lawmaker has proposed a bill aimed at educating new drivers about their rights and responsibilities when they are pulled over by a police officer.

Democratic Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak’s bill advanced in the Assembly Thursday. He says that he is excited about the bill.

“At the end of the day, I want the driver and I want the officers all to go home safe. It’s all about safety,” he says.

The bill would require a new potential driver to watch a video created by the Motor Vehicle Commission and the Office of the Attorney General demonstrating a safe stop, before taking a written exam for a validated driver’s permit.

“It’s going to say what their legal rights are as a driver, and what they should do when they do get pulled over,” Karabinchak says. “How to act and how the police are supposed to act.”

The bill is encouraged by a national dialogue on incidents that have occurred during routine law enforcement traffic stops.

“When you get pulled over, everybody gets nervous, right? The same thing happens with law enforcement. They get nervous. Hopefully, this will take that down a few notches,” says Karabinchak.

NAACP Bergen County President Jeff Carter says that on the surface, the bill would be an excellent tool to help guide youth interactions with law enforcement officers. But he says in a statement, "The perception of many African Americans, including our youth, is that until we stop police injustices, the distrust is still a major barrier. This is a start, but more must be done including training for law enforcement."

Karabinchak says the bill is a step in the right direction.

“Things have to change and I think things will change,” he says.

The bill also requires the MVC to add a question to the written exam testing the applicant’s knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of a driver stopped by a police officer. It would be developed in conjunction with the attorney general.

The bill is scheduled to have its final vote in the state Assembly and Senate on Monday.

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