Miller Files Bill Creating Optional Autism Designator on Licenses, State IDs

Tuesday, 23 January 2024 16:54

Miller Files Bill Creating Optional Autism Designator on Licenses, State IDs Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans with autism may soon have the option to include an identifying mark on their driver's licenses and state IDs to help better inform law enforcement officers how to approach a situation.

House Bill 3671 filed by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, would create an optional identifying mark to indicate that the person has autism that Oklahomans may choose to participate in. Miller led an interim study on this topic in October to hear from advocates and law enforcement officials.

"Law enforcement may interpret some behaviors common in people with autism as noncompliance, which could lead to unnecessary escalation and put people at heightened risk," Miller said. "This voluntary designation would help law enforcement better understand how to approach a situation, as well as reduce stress for the driver and their loved ones."

Data from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in 36 children and one in 46 adults in the U.S. have autism.

Emily Scott, the executive director of the Autism Foundation of Oklahoma, said one in three people with autism has a driver's license. The bill also includes state IDs.

"People with autism are seven times more likely to have police interactions than a neurotypical person," Scott said. "This bill aims to provide critical, up-front information to law enforcement officers and first responders for safer and more supportive interactions. Knowledge is power, and plenty of research indicates that communication tools, such as what is being proposed in this bill, and agency-wide autism training improve outcomes for both parties."

HB3671 is eligible to be considered in the upcoming legislative session, which begins Monday, February 5.


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