Contact: Jennifer Allen/Founder & Executive Director Aspergers101 and “Driving with Autism” initiative (210) 241-2922 * firstname.lastname@example.org
The Samuel Allen Law: New Law Protects Texas Drivers diagnosed with Autism or Hearing Impairment
Registration Process with Texas DMV
Form VTR-216 (left) must be completed by a licensed physician if the applicant has a physical health condition or a licensed physician, licensed psychologist, or a non-physician mental health professional if the applicant has a mental health condition. Form VTR-216 is available online at www.TxDMV.gov or you may click on the form to download here.
What Constitutes a Communication Challenge?
Most common diagnoses include: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Mild intellectual disability, Deafness, Speech & languages disorders, Expressive Language Disorder, Down Syndrome, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Deafness, Brain Injury or Parkinson’s Disease.
San Antonio Student Gets Law Passed to Save Lives of People Living With a Communication Impediment During a Police Traffic Stop
SB 976, also known as the Samuel Allen Law goes into effect September 1
(AUSTIN, TEXAS, August 15th 2019) – SB 976: The Samuel Allen Law will allow a person challenged with communication, (Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Deafness, Hearing Impairment, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, Mild Intellectual Disability and more) the option for disclosure when registering their vehicle through the Texas DMV. Communication Impediment will be privately placed in the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (TLETS) thus alerting the officer of the challenge PRIOR to approaching the vehicle in a pull-over scenario. This unprecedented law will not only save lives by alerting law enforcement for better communication, but will also keep the diagnosis hidden from public scrutiny as opposed to bumper stickers or license plate designations. Note: Texas DPS already offers “Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer” as an optional restriction code on State Driver License or ID.
Samuel Allen, (24) diagnosed with Autism/Asperger Syndrome, recently graduated Texas A & M San Antonio with a Business Degree in Computer Information Systems and is employed as an IT Tech II Specialist with H-E-B. His life-long dedication to enlightening and encouraging others diagnosed with Autism through Aspergers101, countless hours of volunteer work with the “Driving with Autism” initiative and law enforcement training, has earned him various statewide honors including Resolution 52…acknowledging SB972 as “The Samuel Allen Law.”
Jennifer Allen, Founder/CEO of Aspergers101 and championing the “Driving with Autism” initiative, said that the passage of SB 976: The Samuel Allen Law is the remaining piece of the puzzle for the program she began almost 5 years ago with Texas DPS. Supported by the Texas Governors Committee on People with Disabilities, Allen’s “Driving with Autism” initiative has three (interacting) working components to better communication between Law enforcement and Texas citizens with autism or other communication challenges:
- Driver License – Option for Texas Drivers to place “Communication Impediment” as a DPS restriction code directly on the Driver License or State ID with state-wide marketing campaign including placing informative posters and brochures in all Texas DPS offices.
- Law Enforcement Training – Texas Law enforcement training modules placed directly in TCOLE (the online training for all Texas law enforcement) to better understand drivers diagnosed with autism and/or other “Communication impediments”
- TLETS- Option for Texas Drivers to acknowledge a “Communication impediment” upon DMV vehicle registration thus alerting officers privately through Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (TLETS).
Texas Senator Bryan Hughes(R) Authored and championed SB 976 and Resolution 52, giving the Bill the honorary title of “The Samuel Allen Law” for Samuel Allen’s dedication to the “Driving with Autism” Texas initiative and the autism community.
Aspergers101: The primary purpose of Aspergers101 is to educate about Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. We provide an online learning platform, offer presentations in schools and organizations, produce videos and present film-screenings to raise awareness and advocate for policy changes to empower people with autism and AS working toward greater independence. When parents and educators don’t know where to turn, Aspergers101 aims to provide them with the best information and resources available. www.aspergers101.org
“There is no question that the Driving with Autism initiative will provide officers with critical information by alerting law enforcement of impediments such as Autism, Aspergers, PTSD or more, prior to approaching the vehicle. On behalf of the SAPD, I am proud to support this proposed legislation.” – William P. McManus/San Antonio Chief of Police
“I support the legislative efforts of Ms. Jennifer Allen to reduce the risks of misunderstandings between police officers and Texas drivers who have communication impediments. Effective communication between officers and those stopped on traffic is critical for the safety of all involved. Providing officers with this critical information before approaching the vehicle and interacting with the driver may allow for more effective communication and a safer interaction between the parties.” – Art Acevedo/Houston Chief of Police
“It is extremely helpful for drivers who have a communication impediment to have the option to declare it on their driver’s license. They should also have the option of specifying a subcategory of the impediment such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, deafness, PTSD, stuttering, cerebral palsy, or etc in the TLETS. This data should be in the police computer system (Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) so that a police officer will know that the communication impediment exists BEFORE he/she approaches a stopped vehicle. This will help prevent a life threatening misunderstanding.” – Dr. Temple Grandin
“This simple coding would revolutionize how officers relate to a driver. Texas would be the first state in the nation to have this innovative tool for our law enforcement- a win/win for both drivers and officers.”
-Jane L Lynch M.D., FAAP/Professor of Pediatrics UT Health Science Center
“What a remarkable feat and service to the people and law officers of Texas! Now, to spread it across this country…” -Alexis Canfora, MA, CCC-SLP
“Another small accommodation that can actually save lives – Texas Is an example of how easy it is to make sensible accommodations! Thank You Texas” -Kevin Carroll/ Advocate for Neurodiversity