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ACLU praises bill to aid people with communication disorders

Updated February 24, 2023 - 4:07 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada on Thursday lauded a bill introduced in the Assembly, saying if passed, it would “make police traffic stops safer for people who are differently abled.”

Under an amendment proposed at a Thursday hearing, Assembly Bill 161 would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to note on a person’s driver’s license if they suffer from a “communication impairment,” including whether they are deaf, have a speech disorder, are autistic or have difficulty understanding or speaking. That information would also appear on a person’s electronic vehicle registration.

The ACLU of Nevada said the bill holds promise to help prevent dangerous incidents involving police stops.

“We hope to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous and potentially lethal police interaction where noncommunication is mistaken for noncompliance,” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah said in a statement. “Across the U.S., we have seen police encounters with people who are differently abled lead to civil rights violations and even deaths. Providing additional clarity about communications impairments to officers at the start of a traffic stop can streamline the experience for everyone involved and make our community that much safer.”

Under the proposed amendment, disclosing a communication impairment to the DMV would be voluntary.

Contact Justin Razavi at jrazavi@reviewjournal.com. Follow @justin_razavi on Twitter.

An earlier version of this story focused on the original version of the bill, not on the amended version of the legislation.

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