You won’t have to answer the dreaded question “Do you know why I pulled you over?” ever again.
Starting next month, law enforcement officers will be required to clearly state the reason for a traffic stop before posing any further questions. This new protocol applies to both vehicular stops and pedestrian encounters.
This change is due to the enactment of AB 2773, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in the autumn of 2022, with its implementation set for January 1, 2024.
The legislation specifies an exception allowing officers to forgo stating the stop’s purpose if immediate threats to life or property are present.
The primary aim of this law is to curb the practice of “pretextual stops.” These stops occur when an officer pulls over a vehicle or stops a pedestrian for a minor reason, such as expired paperwork, but with the underlying intention of investigating more serious offenses.
Additionally, the law seeks to foster calmer interactions between police officers and the public.
Assemblymember Chris Holden, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized in a legislative committee hearing that its purpose is to enhance fairness and accountability in interactions between the community and law enforcement.
Furthermore, the law mandates law enforcement agencies to track adherence to this rule and report the justifications for all conducted stops.