Traffic law changed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

NATCHEZ — Drivers who are stopped by a Mississippi Highway Patrol State Trooper are now required to answer more than “Do you know how fast you were going?”

An amendment that went into effect July 1, known as the uniform traffic ticket law, now requires a driver to tell troopers his or her phone number and mailing address.

“(Drivers) have to put an address on their driver’s license, and sometimes it doesn’t match with their mailing address,” Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Rusty Boyd said.

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Since asking for personal information is new to Mississippi officers, and most drivers aren’t aware of the changes to the procedure, Boyd said the highway patrol wanted to ensure people they are following state orders.

“We’re not out there just asking for somebody’s phone number. It’s for court purposes. That’s why it’s on there and that’s what it will be used for.”

Boyd said many times drivers who do not have updated information on their licenses wind up paying for it in the end because they don’t receive court notifications.

“It is possible that a person could get their license suspended, and they not know it because (the court) couldn’t contact that person,” Boyd said.

“Now, they’ll be able to get in contact with someone if something changes in regards to their case.”

Boyd said if a driver has been pulled over since July and not been asked for their personal contact information, it’s because their officer didn’t have the new citation forms.

“What we’re doing is we’re phasing out the old citations we’re going to save money.

“Gradually, officers will start getting the new tickets and asking for that information.”

Some officers are already using the new forms.

Boyd said, to his knowledge, officers asking for the new information haven’t gotten negative responses when they asked for contact information because they are trying to inform the public when they stop them.

“So far, we haven’t had any issues. We’re trying to get out and explain on the road as we go along. Everyone will be told about it eventually.”