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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Stopped By A Trooper? Don't Reach For Your Registration

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Washington State Patrol

With the summer driving season fast approaching, the Washington State Patrol is reminding drivers what to do and not do if you’re stopped.

I was stopped recently by a Washington State Patrol trooper. I had two earbuds in, which is illegal -- you can only have one. When I pulled over to the side of the Interstate, I stopped the car and immediately reached for my glove box to get my registration ready.

It turns out that is a big no-no.

A new “Good to Know” video from the Washington State Patrol features Sgt. Julie Judson. She addresses the very thing I did -- digging into my glove box.

“We know that some drivers do this to try and be helpful and we appreciate their intent," Judson says in the video. "But the officer doesn’t know if you’re digging for a registration or a gun."

I should have just placed my hands on the steering wheel and waited. Other tips from the Washington State Patrol: don’t get out of your car unless instructed and don’t be offended if the officer is a bit stand-offish.