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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Blue Envelopes in Maine

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between first responders and autistic people.  Some jurisdictions allow autistic drivers to ask for a blue envelope to disclose the driver's diagnosis in case of an accident or traffic stop.
Police in Cape Elizabeth are working to improve interactions between officers and drivers who may have autism, anxiety or other ailments.

The "blue envelope program" was started in 2020 in Connecticut and has since spread to other states.

Cape Elizabeth was the first community in Maine to launch the program last year.

Police say if they pull over a driver who exhibits nonverbal behaviors, the driver can present their information in a blue envelope containing photocopies of their driver's license, registration and insurance.
“My experiences is they are nonverbal, they are very anxious, they’re jittery,” Cape Elizabeth Police Sgt. Kevin Kennedy said. “And we just did not want to confuse that with someone that was under the influence or maybe not being cooperative. It’s just their diagnosis.”

Drivers with a blue envelope still need to follow officers’ directions in the event of a traffic stop or accident, but this program aims to make those interactions a little bit easier.