Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla.News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve was asked on Tuesday, “Can I get out of my vehicle if I want to while on a traffic stop?”

“I’ve been asked this question a lot and although I hate answering a question with a question, it’s what I do in this case. Why would you want to step out of your car after being pulled over on the side of the road where there is traffic and you are already probably stressed out?” he asked.

He said, believe it or not, when you get pulled over you are technically detained the second the red and blue lights are turned on, meaning you are detained by the officer during the course of that traffic stop.

“You do not have the right to move as you wish during this detention. Being detained does not mean you must have handcuffs on you. Can you imagine how uncomfortable a stop would be for both you and the officer if that determined detention?” Trooper Steve said.

Supreme Court case law has also laid out clear verbiage that an officer can instruct you to step out of the vehicle if he or she chooses to. This is a lawful instruction or command, and someone under detention must follow these instructions. Same as staying in the vehicle.

“Under any traffic stop I always encourage a driver to remain completely still until the officer makes contact. It is not the time to reach around for your registration or your phone or other documents. Remaining calm behind the wheel and waiting for the officer to instruct you to retrieve your items is the best way to go about this,” he said.

If you have a traffic question for Trooper Steve, email him at [email protected].

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About the Author:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.