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Why do routine traffic stops take so long?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Have you ever wondered why it seems to take so long for a law enforcement officer to issue drivers citations?

"Contrary to popular belief, a law enforcement officer doesn’t have access to your whole life at the click of a button inside their cruiser," Trooper Steve said. "It takes a team effort for an officer to get your information during a traffic stop, so sometimes there are things outside the officer’s control that could delay or prolong a traffic stop."

Trooper Steve said a typical stop could take five to eight minutes, if there were no issues.

"However, there were times that I could not get certain information and the stop took up to 20 minues," he said.

A number of things can delay a traffic stop, from the driver to equipment.

"Having all your required information makes it easier for the law enforcement officer to verify your information," Trooper Steve said. "Then, there is the side of technology. When something like the officers' laptop or a certain program isn’t working, it delays the process because the officer must use a third party to gather the information."

Trooper Steve said drivers should be mindful that although they have not been placed under arrest, they have lawfully been detained.

"Drivers are not free to leave, no matter the time of the stop," he said. "Believe me when I say the officer, deputy or trooper does not want to be on that stop any longer than they have to be. If the stop is taking too long in your mind, have some patience."

If you have a traffic question for Trooper Steve, submit it here.


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