Words have consequences and nowhere are words and tone more apparent than to truck drivers every day when they are pulled over for a traffic stop or for an inspection.  How you respond to law enforcement can have a lot to do with the outcome of your interaction with law enforcement.
Every week my office speaks with hundreds of drivers who have had the opportunity to interact with law enforcement.  Sometimes the interaction is good and sometimes it is bad.  One thing I can say for certain is that when the interaction is bad, and by that I mean the driver has offended the officer by his words or deeds, the chances for a good outcome is severely reduced.  Sometimes a driver’s actions during the stop are so bad that the innocent driver gets punished for his bad actions.
I do agree that both the driver and the officer can be in a bad mood.  That mood can be caused from a recent unpleasant conversation with a spouse, boss, or someone who just supports a different team than you do.  The cause doesn’t matter; the only thing that does matter is that you are doing everything possible to protect your CDL and CSA scores.

Let's all start off 2014 right and try to be nice. 

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Comment ()

I agree Tommy, a sure fire way to receive one or several tickets when you might have just received a warning, it to tell the officer how to do their job and what they are doing wrong. My motto, be nice, be polite and keep your mouth shut unless answering their questions.

January 09, 2014 14:00:52 PM

Got a good friend that was with the LAPD for over 30 years before retiring. During police academy they were taught that your attitude should reflect the attitude of the person you pulled over. Contrary to what you hear at the truck stops and on the CB a driver does not tell an officer how to do their job.

January 09, 2014 12:46:37 PM

It makes no sense to be confrontational.

January 08, 2014 5:33:24 AM

Tone of voice or facial expression can sure change a situation for the worse or even the better.

January 06, 2014 14:51:32 PM

Excellent article Jim. Attitude is everything! We should all try to remember that both the officer and the driver are trying to do their jobs. Rarely does it become a personal issue unless one of the parties turns it that way with their words, actions and attitude.

January 06, 2014 13:59:57 PM


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About Jim Klepper

Jim Klepper is a nationally-recognized transportation attorney and trucking industry advocate. His national law firm is entirely dedicated to trucking defense, and has defended over 260,000 CDL drivers and carriers since the advent of the CDL. He is personally licensed to practice law in 16 states, including the United States Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. A prominent author and speaker, Jim regularly writes legal advice columns for truckers in industry trade journals, and is a featured advisor on national radio shows. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Truckload Carriers Association, the American Trucking Association, the Arkansas Trucking Association, the Oklahoma Trucking Association and the Oklahoma Humane Society. Mr. Klepper is active in many charities and trucking industry initiatives, and is also a Licensed Pharmacist.

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