License and Registration Please

During traffic stops police officers have asked for “license and registration” since these documents were instituted.  It’s common for drivers to keep their license in their wallet and the registration in the car so other family members can drive it.  Is asking for the registration necessary in this digital age?  It’s a tense moment for the officer when the driver reaches in the glove box for the paper registration, so why not stop asking for it?  It’s obsolete, particularly for in-state drivers.  When the officer “runs the plates” the computer shows (or should) the make, model, and color of the vehicle, the registered owner, registration date, and whether the vehicle has warrants outstanding or has been reported stolen.  The paper registration provides no additional information except to demonstrate compliance with the law that it be in the vehicle.  If the computer check is clean it’s probably just a traffic stop and if it isn’t the officer knows to be careful.  The tense moment is eliminated.

I mentioned this in a previous article but think it should also stand on it’s own.  As traffic stops become increasingly tense states should consider this simple step that would reduce the danger to both the driver and the officer.


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