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Is it illegal to stop behind a police car that is pulling you over?

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Q: After a night of drinking, Kelli tells us his brother, who was the designated driver, got pulled over, stopped a safe distance behind the police car, but the officer told them it was illegal to do that. Is this true? — Kelli, Hibbing, Minn.

A: First, I want to say great job on getting a designated driver — definitely the right choice. As far as pulling your vehicle onto the shoulder, it is illegal unless it’s an emergency. There is a safety concern to being on the shoulder which is why it’s restricted, so the officer was correct. Unless you’re having an emergency, or being pulled over, you want to stay off the shoulder. It’s also a huge officer safety concern. If you’re pulling onto the shoulder behind an officer, we’ve been trained to expect that something unfortunate may happen. — Washington State Patrol Trooper Julie Judson

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5 comments

  • Lee

    I can't imagine any good reason you'd need to pull behind an officer anyway. If you get pulled over by an officer, it's because they're behind you. Unless of course you're not stopping, in which case they might get in front of you and slow down (I don't know, I'm not an officer). In any event, during a routine traffic stop, it seems like you'd always be parked in front of the officer.. so I'm not sure how you'd end up behind them.

    If a police officer has someone else pulled over, is just sitting on the shoulder, or pulls over someone you're traveling with, and you pull off the freeway behind the officer, that probably is (and should be illegal). Unless you're the one getting pulled over, the traffic stop has nothing to do with you, and the officer doesn't need your assistance. If someone you're traveling with gets pulled over, and you're in another car, just take the next exit and wait for them. Common sense.

  • anthony

    What the H E double ELL does the response have to do with the question? It's almost as if a completely different question was answered.

  • Anthony

    The original question made NO mention of any "shoulder". For all we know the driver pulled in behind the office in a flippin' PARKING LOT.

    Reading comprehension is not this one's strong suit, i guess.

  • Becky

    I have to agree with the first response. How are you going to pull behind a police car when he is the one pulling you over? The original question makes no since?

  • read more here

    It is actually not illegal but a safety measure for the police officer to stay safe. The best way to stop your car when you are pulled over by a police car is to stay with them.