RICHMOND, Texas – The first autism awareness license plate in Texas has been approved. KPRC 2 was the first to learn about this specialty license plate, which was two years in the making. Darla Farmer, Hope for Three CEO, spearheaded this whole initiative.
The license plates are aimed at educating not only drivers but also law enforcement about the uniqueness in interacting with men and women who are on the spectrum. The bill passed in the House earlier this year with a bi-partisan vote and immense support from State Representative Jacey Jetton.
This is a state-wide effort kicking off in Fort Bend County. Drivers can purchase this license plate starting Sept. 1. It will cost $30 and drivers will need to renew it every year.
“In my heart, I thought, ‘What would be the first opportunity for an officer to know they may meet a driver with a challenge?’” said Darla Farmer, Hope for Three CEO.
Autism is a spectrum, meaning no reaction to a traffic stop is the same. Those who live with this behavioral disorder may have sound sensitivity and/or poor eye contact.
“We have an emblem on there, okay, we may have to turn our sirens off. We may have to turn our front lights off...,” Officer Williams with the Missouri City Police Department said.
Officer Williams describes the benefits of having this new autism awareness specialty license plate by saying it allows law enforcement officers to tap into a different set of tools before ever getting out of their patrol car.