3 Reasons Why Police Officers in New England Touch the Back of Your Car When They Pull You Over
I guess I was due to see those flashing lights behind me. I think we all feel that way when it happens, as we've all been there, whether we're speeding, making that illegal u-turn, rolling through a stop sign, or are behind on renewing our license plates.
Luckily, I received just a warning after I was pulled over for one of those things I listed above. Anyway, as this Massachusetts officer approached my car, I noticed he slowed down near the back of my car and touched it before heading to my window. Obviously, I was pretty curious about what appeared to be a deliberate action, so after he ran my plates and returned with that warning, I asked him why he did this. His explanations were very enlightening, so I looked into it more.
According to Reader's Digest, it's either the trunk or tail light that most officers touch at each traffic stop. This is purely for the safety of the officer. They're literally leaving their fingerprint on the car so if something happens during the traffic stop that leaves them incapacitated or in trouble, there's evidence they were there. Even with body cams and street cameras, it's still routine for many officers to practice this maneuver that dates back decades.
Meanwhile, the website MotorVerso says this is also done to ensure the trunk is closed and latched so as to avoid the slight chance that there's someone in there who will jump out and attack the officer or flee during the stop.
According to MotorVerso, this pause by the police officer also allows time to see if the driver makes any movements that appear to be concealing something, reaching for something, or simply trying to put on their seatbelt. Overall, this is about the initial body language of the driver and any passengers, again, for officer safety and awareness. Police officers receive special training to help them interpret body language, including during traffic stops.
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