Whether it is the first time or the fiftieth time, getting pulled over by police can be nerve-wracking. An event that is challenging for adults to deal with can be worse for a teen driver trying to recall what they saw other people doing.

It is possible to have a positive interaction with a police officer even though you or your teenager have made a mistake. There is a law in Illinois to help teenagers know what to do to have a positive interaction with an officer if they are stopped.

Here’s what the law covers and how you can support your teen as they learn what to do.

The law then and now

Previously, Illinois had a law requiring driver’s education courses taught in public schools to teach a “Being Pulled Over by Law Enforcement” section during class. The material, also covered in the Illinois Rules of the Road handbook, should discuss interacting with an officer to keep both the cop and the driver safe.

More recently, the Illinois legislature expanded the law to cover private driving schools, as well.

Talking to your teen

Like many parts of your child’s education, when parents are active participants in teaching their children how to interact with law enforcement, students receive a more thorough lesson. You should make sure your teen understands objectives, such as:

  • Turning off the vehicle
  • Keeping their hands visible
  • Avoiding sudden movements
  • Turning on the interior lights if it is dark
  • Telling the officer where they need to reach to obtain requested documents like an ID or proof of insurance

Parents should note that the law does not specify that the course must cover a teenager’s rights when pulled over. You should talk to your child about when officers can perform a search and how to respectfully decline until they obtain a warrant.