SAN ANTONIO — Getting pulled over by police is always a little unsettling. Now imagine what it's like for someone with a communication issue. If they're not able to answer an officer's question, it could lead to problems. A new law aims to help prevent that.

  • New law protects drivers with communication disorders 
  • Those affected can register car with the DMV
  • If pulled over, officers are notified about their condition

Samuel Allen has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder which can make it hard to communicate with people. It led him to campaign for legislation that would allow people like him to register their vehicles with the DMV.  If they’re pulled over, officers will know about their condition before they approach the car. 

“That officer understands that the person has autism and there may be some difficulty communicating off the bat,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.   

The new law is named after Allen. 

“I just feel so honored and accomplished,” said Allen.  

And while he said he can drive with confidence today, it was actually another driver that inspired Allen to push this legislation. In 2017, officers in Oklahoma shot and killed a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe, even as witnesses yelled he was deaf. 

“This was a problem with miscommunication between the officer and the deaf driver, and by having this law passed, it’ll allow Texans to have this safety net,” Allen said.   

Allen's mother also helped create a state program that allows people with a communication impediment to get a special notification on their driver's license. And there's a training program that teaches DPS troopers how to handle people with communication challenges. ​