New Law Helps Bridge Gap Between Law Enforcement and Those Who Have Difficulty Communicating

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a bill into law which helps bridge the communications gap between law enforcement and those who have difficulty communicating. House Bill 5541 and Senate Bills 278 and 279 together allow an individual applying for or renewing a vehicle registration, driver license, state personal ID card, or enhanced driver license or state personal ID cards to elect to have a communication impediment designation associated with his or her record starting in July 2021.

This voluntary designation would be visible to law enforcement when reviewing the vehicle’s registration, license, or ID card through the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) — signaling to the officer that the owner has a condition that may impede or hinder communication.

LEIN is a secured system not accessible to members of the public, which will protect the privacy of those who volunteer this information about themselves or their family members. Police officers routinely access the system during traffic stops.

A person interested in the designation will need to provide proof to the Michigan Secretary of State office of their impediment from a physician, a physician’s assistant, a licensed physical therapist, or a nurse practitioner.

The communication designation is similar to existing nomenclature that is available for persons with photosensitivity. This alert lets law enforcement officers know that vehicle windows may be tinted because the driver is sensitive to bright light.

The municipal attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio serve as legal counsel for municipalities and school districts in the tri-county area of southeast Michigan. For an attorney call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.