Governor signs new bill that changes driver’s ed curriculum

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Terry McAuliffe was in Hampton on Monday, signing a bill that will change driver’s education curriculum. It will now include teaching people how to act if they’re pulled over by police.

The idea came from Delegate Jeion Ward, of Hampton. 10 On Your Side spoke with her in February about the bill. She says the idea came to her while speaking with her grandson. He was just getting ready to start driving and was asking what to do if he was ever pulled over.

Lawmaker wants police, driver interaction protocol in driver’s ed

It’s a feeling many people have: You see the flashing lights and you know you’re supposed to pull over. But what happens next? That uncertainty is what Governor McAuliffe hopes this new law will change.

“We’ve had instances, issues, of what young people when they get stopped by law enforcement, how to deal with it,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I think it’s another important step of what we do here in Virginia.”

Hampton High School’s library was packed Monday afternoon as the governor made House Bill 2290 a law.

Delegate Jeion Ward said, “To see it pass and then signed into law, it meant everything, it meant everything to me. It just said all that hard work was worth it.”

She realized it wasn’t just teens who felt this way — many adults were also unsure. Officials hope teaching people when they are young will change that.

“If we can just get students to understand, you know, what to expect when you get stopped,” said Hampton Police Division Chief Terry Sult. “Because officers are stressed, that’s one of the most dangerous things a police officer can do, and it’s the most stressful thing you can do driving.”

The bill requires each driver education program in the public school system to include instructions on how to interact with law enforcement while on the road. Chief Sult says the Hampton Police Division will help create that new curriculum.

“Well if you want a driver’s license, now you’re going to have to learn about this,” Sult said. “You’re going to have to learn what the expectations are and I think that’s very critical in the direction we’re going forward.”

Delegate Ward says it’s now time for the curriculum to be developed. She’s hoping it will be part of driver’s education this coming fall.