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Maine State Police adopt blue envelopes to better communicate with neurodiverse drivers

A photo of the envelopes being distributed as part of the Maine State Police's new Blue Envelope Program.
Maine Department of Public Safety
Maine Department of Public Safety
A photo of the envelopes being distributed as part of the Maine State Police's new Blue Envelope Program.

Maine State Police have adopted a new program to help drivers with developmental and behavioral disorders during traffic stops.

The Program, developed by the Down Syndrome Advocacy Project, will issue blue envelopes for storing important documents such as driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. Printed on the envelope is a message telling the officer that the driver has a disability and providing communication tips.

Maine State Trooper Seth Allen who helped implement the program said the behaviors associated with some disorders can mimic indicators that officers might interpret as suspicious, or signs of impairment.

"This gives us the ability to very quickly identify that they have some sort of diagnosis, that could be an explanation of why they're doing this stuff that's abnormal, on a traffic stop," Allen said.

Drivers with autism, Down syndrome, PTSD, or similar disabilities are eligible for the program. The envelopes do not require proof of disability and can be picked up at some Maine State Police locations.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.

Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.

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