It’s the most routine part of every traffic stop: license, registration and insurance.
But starting Aug. 1, drivers in Alabama no longer will be required to keep hard copies of their registration and insurance information in their vehicle.
Instead, you can keep electronic copies on your phone and show those to police instead.
The new law is a result of Legislative Act 2017-242. Some believe it will help cut down on misunderstandings during traffic stops, eliminating the need for individuals to rummage around in the car for papers where the officer cannot see.
“It’s right here in your hands, so once they tell you to roll your window down so far or whatever you do, do; just say ‘hey, here you go officer,’ ” Alabama resident Teon Thomas told ABC 33/40.
The text of the act makes it explicitly clear that showing registration and insurance with a cell phone does not imply consent for an officer to access any other content on the device.
Phenix City Police Patrol Captain Jason Whitten says he believes the new law is a positive change.
“We’ve been doing that for awhile, the officers have been doing that for awhile,” he said. “Anything that helps expedite the traffic stop is a good thing. The concern was, well, what if somebody just makes a fake electronic one, but people make fake physical ones too. I think it’ll be a good thing.”
Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE