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Here’s why officers touch the back of your car during a traffic stop

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 Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

A viewer recently asked, "I’ve seen police officers touch the back of vehicles right before they approach a car on a traffic stop. Why do they do this?"

“When law enforcement officers conduct a traffic stop, there are plenty of procedures that need to be done, not only for the safety of the violator, but for the safety of that officer,” Trooper Steve said. “One of those things is proving that that officer was with that car, so when officers approach a vehicle, they touch the rear of it.”

Trooper Steve said the method is used for two primary reasons.

“The first reason is to make sure that the trunk is closed,” he said. “It may sound a little crazy, but you want to make sure that no one is about to jump out of the trunk and that it’s properly secured.”

The second reason isn’t as obvious.

“Touching the rear of the vehicle puts the officer’s fingerprints on that car, showing that he or she was there with it,” Trooper Steve said. “In case the driver decided to flee the scene, or if something happened to that officer, it ties both the vehicle and the officer together. This is just one of the many things that take place during traffic stops to ensure everyone’s safety.”


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