Las Vegas man with autism spectrum disorder says new drivers license bill would be ‘life changing’

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 4:50 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Advocates are throwing their support behind a bill that would make traffic stops safer for people with disabilities.

AB161 would allow drivers to indicate if they communicate differently on their driver’s licenses or registration.

Anwar Allums lives his day-to-day life battling with an autism spectrum disorder. Last year, he said pulled over by police and his words would not come out.

“When I get in any high-stress situation my motor functions can seize and it is hard for me to talk,” said Allums.

A’esha Goins, Allum’s mother, brought attention to this challenge and called state legislators proposing a new bill.

“This isn’t a bill that has anything to do with me, but it does have to do with me being an impacted parent,” said Goins.

The proposed bill AB161 would require the DMV to place a designation on drivers licenses for people with a communication impairment.

“It could be an individual with an audible challenge and that might mean someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or someone who is mute,” said Athar Haseebullah with the ACLU of Southern Nevada.

The ACLU of Southern Nevada said the option to do so would be voluntary.

“The DMV would not only identify such on a driver’s license but it would also actually if the bill is approved, it would actually be placed at the top of the vehicle registration,” said Haseebullah.

The DMV said programming is already in place to implement an autism sticker onto drivers licenses but said to change this to all communication impairments would be costly.

“Would involve a lot of programming and it would be very hard to do and would take a lot of months and expense to be able to do that,” said public information officer for Nevada DMV Kevin Malone.

Malone said if the bill is passed, they will implement the changes.

“We will be attaching the details of what we need and what is called a fiscal note.”

“I will head over to the DMV and get that put on my licenses and registration immediately,” said Allums.