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An often tense moment for all involved: a police traffic stop

Do we need a sort of standardized play book with recommended suggestions on how a motorist detained in a traffic stop -- and, correspondingly, a police officer who has initiated that stop -- should behave when interacting under that scenario?

There certainly seems to be a growing consensus that a how-to primer -- especially for the nation's youngest drivers -- might be a useful tool for helping to dampen stop-related tensions that can arise owing to stress that often ratchets up for all participants during the moments that a driver is detained on the side of a road.

Says a lawmaker in one state where would-be legislation mandating education for high school students on best-practices protocol during stops is currently under consideration by the governor: "[Y]oung drivers [must] have the correct information so simple infractions will not become something more serious."

That "something" is, sadly, an outcome that in worst cases has ended up receiving front-page attention in media outlets in Indiana and across the country in the wake of a number of fatalities that have occurred in recent memory in multiple states.

Many drivers -- especially those who feel they are part of a demographic that is unfairly profiled by law enforcers-- feel heightened stress when they see police lights flashing behind them. And police officers, too, are increasingly citing the fear that they experience when they approach the car of a driver they have detained.

Officials in a growing band of states are responding to those reciprocal concerns with model language and directed tips on how both motorists and police officers should act during a traffic stop.

One official cites the bottom-line goal of reducing "what could be a tense situation that can be very stressful on both sides."

As yet, there is no boilerplate "how to proceed" list applicable to a traffic stop (and likely never can be), with common sense largely dictating the behavior of all parties.

And common sense in turn largely demands this: controlled -- not quick or unexpected -- body movements, and mutually respectful conduct and unconfrontational behavior displayed at all times during a stop.

Truly, a traffic stop is somewhat akin to a ritualized dance. When both sides know the proper moves, an adverse outcome is less likely to result.

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