New bill would create designated plates for drivers with certain disabilities

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 23:45:54-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — A bill proposed in the 2020 General Assembly would allow for a license plate that would help police know if the driver has an intellectual or developmental disability. State Representative Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin) filed the legislation.

House Bill 1584, says with the knowledge from a medical doctor the state can issue registration and registration plates to a driver with who has an intellectual disability, a developmental disability, or a medical condition that may impede communications with, or impact the driver's encounter with, a first responder, including a law enforcement officer, during a traffic stop or welfare check.

According to the bill, the plates must bear a distinctive series of letters and numbers to inform law enforcement the driver has a condition. The letters and numbers can only be disclosed to the department of safety and other Tennessee law enforcement agencies. The plate information will not be available to the general public.

The Tennessee Disability Coalition is monitoring the the bill. Assistant Executive Director Donna DeStefano says the legislation isn't mandatory, and people will need to apply if they want the plate.

DeStefano said the office initially received a lot of calls and emails from people concerned about the legislation.

"Other folks expressed some concerns, safety concerns," explained DeStefano, "that designating even though initials on a license plate would still, eventually people would know what that means; and safety issues could be compromised folks get targeted sometimes, followed and assaulted and so that is a concern for some people."

The Tennessee Disability Coalition has not taken a stance for or against on the legislation at this time.

If the measure passes, the bill will be law January of 2021.

We reached out to Representative Ogles, but he denied our request for an interview.