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Published on April 18, 2024
Arizona Launches Blue Envelope Initiative to Aid Autistic Drivers During Traffic StopsSource: Arizona Department of Transportation

Arizona officials are rolling out a new approach to ease traffic stops for drivers with autism. The state's Motor Vehicle Division along with law enforcement agencies are introducing blue envelopes designed to help improve communication during these encounters, Arizona's Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced.

The blue envelopes, which drivers with autism spectrum disorder can use voluntarily, will contain their credentials and provide explicit instructions for both the driver and the officer. This move is meant to clearly signal to officers that the driver might respond differently, aiming to reduce anxiety and misunderstandings. As reported by ADOT, Eric Jorgensen, ADOT MVD Director, expressed his fascination with Connecticut's model and his eagerness to bring similar strategies to Arizona's roads.

Partnering with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) and the University of Arizona’s Police Department, ADOT believes this initiative will make a significant difference. “The Blue Envelope program is an outstanding public safety initiative that seeks to improve communication between police officers and autistic drivers during traffic stops," Chief Chris Olson of the University of Arizona Police Department told ADOT according to a statement they published.

Furthermore, training for this program is set to begin shortly at the University of Arizona's Tucson campus with volunteer drivers and officers. The ultimate goal is to make these interactions safer and more predictable for everyone involved. “The AZDPS is proud to support and be a part of the Blue Envelope Program. A program like this, seeking to enhance safety for both members of the public as well as all law enforcement officers in the State of Arizona, is absolutely invaluable.” Director Jeffrey Glover of the AZDPS was quoted as saying in an ADOT announcement. Training will focus on an evidence-based approach to ultimately improve safety outcomes and mutual understanding.

The envelopes are expected to be available at ADOT MVD offices and various law enforcement locations starting in May. ADOT suggests that interested individuals can find out more about this innovative approach to enhancing road safety and communication by visiting their website. Additional details are available on their dedicated Blue Envelope program page.

Phoenix-Transportation & Infrastructure