Dallas Police Improperly Cite Drivers for Not Speaking English

Dallas police officers have improperly cited drivers for not being able to speak English 38 times in the past three years, Chief David Kunkle said Friday.

The discovery came after a woman was pulled over earlier this month for making an illegal U-turn and was given a ticket for being a “non-English speaking driver.”

The police chief said the citations are disappointing for Dallas, a city where the Latinos make up 44 percent of the more than 1 million residents and nearly 45 percent speak a language other than English.

Kunkle said his department’s computer system for citations has a pull-down menu that includes a law requiring drivers of commercial vehicles to speak English. The chief said he believes the federal law was misapplied to local drivers of private vehicles.

From now on Dallas police will not give commercial drivers tickets for being unable to speak English, Kunkle added, saying that was a job for other law enforcement agencies.


Wow, I hope it was simply a case of clueless cops. Certainly its not a situation that would promote relations with the immigrant community.

So I ask you what again is wrong with this??? If I immigrated I would expect to be required to learn the language, why do we not expect the same???

Because it is not illegal in Texas to drive without knowing English. If someone can pass a driver’s license exam, they should be safe on the road.

The tickets which were handed out had no legal basis.

ahh, ok point taken and acknowledged. So what happened was the police just made up and offence and ticketed them?

So the driver got a ticket for not speaking English, but no ticket for an illegal U-turn?

Yes, she also was ticketed for an illegal U-turn.

Police should never issue a ticked or enforce any law that they do not properly understand.

Ok, first off the lady was driving without her drivers license on hand. That is an offense and she was properly cited for that. I did a little digging and yes there is a federal law that states in order to get a commercial license you must know how to speak English. Secondly, who is responsible for training these officers? Did they cover this or not? Take note the one who cited this lady was a rookie still in training.

Also, on the other citations how many where for locals verses those who drive across the country and therefore would fall under the federal law?

Apparently, the Dallas police use a pull down menu when writing tickets, and one of the offenses is for truck drivers, who are required to speak English. The incident probably was simply a simple mistake on the cop’s part, but the fact that it has happened 38 times in the past three years does look bad.

I wonder if Korean drivers were ever ticketed?

I know some Korean ladies that speak very little English drive all over the place.

My SIL has lived in the States for years and speaks very little English she has tried to learn but can’t seem to pick it up. My wife who was born in Korea is now an American citizen speaks perfect English.

Its not just the officers. These tickets are processed though the traffic court system so apparently at least one judge is helping this along.

Learning a language – like learning math, history, philosophy, etc – is a particular talent: not everybody has it.

In fact, one of our previous Prime Ministers supposedly could not speak either official language. :smiley:

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Thomas Mann in 1787:

“With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensable. Next to this the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important and will become daily more so. Besides this the ancient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish.”

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