Roadside manners

By Candice Navi

Robert Kim ’10 was driving on Cahuenga Boulevard when he heard the sirens of a police car quickly approaching his car. He was being pulled over for speeding.

Kim was polite when dealing with the officer.

“I knew that most officers prefer to be addressed as ‘officer’ not ‘sir,’” Kim said. “I explained all my actions before doing them.”

The driver should be equipped with a current driver’s license, current registration of the vehicle and valid proof of liability insurance.

“While full-coverage insurance is always best, the law only requires proof of liability insurance, which is a small business-card sized paper confirming that the either the vehicle or the driver is in fact insured for liability purposes,” attorney Navid A. Natanian said.

If the police officer asks the driver to admit fault with questions like “do you know how fast you were going?” the driver should just be honest and direct.

If the police officer asks the driver to admit fault with questions like “do you know how fast you were going?” Natanian says that, “as in life, honesty is the best policy.”

Security guard and former Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputy Mark Geiger rarely lets anyone off the hook after getting pulled over.

“If someone has a family emergency or justification, sometimes it helps,” Geiger said.

Jim Wirth, security guard and current police officer, understands that no one likes being pulled over.

“Typically, it’s not the driver [who gives the officer a hard time], but the other people in the car. There’s always a possibility of being arrested—it’s an option of the police officer who stops you,” Wirth said. “If the driver’s obnoxious, the chances of being let off with a warning are slim to none.”

Should a teenage driver decide to try to get out of the ticket, he or she should be aware that the officer may use the “get them in line while they’re young” mentality and issue a ticket to prevent a young driver from breaking the law again, Natanian said.

“Other officers may sympathize with a young driver and let him or her off with a warning,” Natanian said.

“It does not matter if the driver is a kid or not, they should still be respectful and answer questions,” Geiger said.

If asked for permission to search the car, one must handle the situation with caution.

“For any driver under the age of 18, officers can legally search the vehicle without a warrant, without probable cause and without the driver’s consent or permission, unless the adult guardian is also in the vehicle,” Natanian said. “Drivers 18 or older have the right to consent or deny.”