Driver's education teachers instructing what to do if pulled over
NEW BERN, Craven County —
Do you know what to do when a law enforcement officer pulls you over? Do your children know what do?
The state is revamping the way that lessons are taught in driver's education. Before, a line in the old handbook says if you're pulled over at night, turn on your interior lights. The new guidelines are more specific, saying you should turn your interior lights on as soon as you stop before the officer approaches.
These are some of the changes state lawmakers brought about to make traffic stops safer for everyone involved. Recent traffic stop incidents all over the country are the reason for the changes.
"If you ask them, 'well what do you do if an emergency vehicle like an ambulance comes up behind you?'" said Abby Mantyla, a former police officer who is now a driving instructor at the Driving School on Neuse Boulevard in New Bern. "They can tell you what to do. Pull to the right and stop, they'll tell you. When it comes to law enforcement, once they pull over, do they really know? Some of them no, not so much.
Mantyla said keeping young drivers safe is her way of continuing to do something important.
"Besides just trying to protect you on the street while carrying a gun, being law enforcement, I'm actually helping protect a young kid, teach them how to drive, do it correctly so that it will save their life while they're out on the roadways," Mantyla said.
While there are no changes to the rules, the new guidelines are easier to understand. There's some useful additions such as what to do if you have a weapon in your car.
It's something Mantyla said she's already been teaching her students.
"You say you know, I have a concealed carry permit, I have my weapon here in the car, I'll keep my hands right here where you can see them. just let me know what you need me to do," Mantyla said.
As someone who's been on both sides of a traffic stop, Mantyla said the new guidelines can help protect drivers and law enforcement.
"So that everyone can understand exactly what they're jobs are supposed to be and what you need to do when you interact with law enforcement," Mantyla said.
The new guidelines written by the Department of Motor Vehicles is still technically a draft. The final guidelines will be printed in handbooks starting in March.