Hands-On Wheel, Transparent Multi-Pocket Pouch for Displaying Personal Identification Documents
1. A multi-pocket pouch to attach to a steering wheel of a vehicle, the multi-pocket pouch including multiple layers and comprising:
- a non-transparent opaque front cover at an outermost layer and a rear face at an innermost layer, the innermost layer closest to the steering wheel;
a transparent exterior pocket adjacently connected to an inner portion of the front cover;
at least one interior pocket integrated into an interior cavity of the transparent multi-pocket pouch and opposite the transparent exterior pocket; and
an external device fastener adjacently connected to the rear face of the transparent multi-pocket pouch, the external device fastener to attach the multi-pocket pouch to the steering wheel;
wherein the multi-pocket pouch is constructed in a shape and of materials to not interfere with safety features of the steering wheel.
A hands-on wheel, transparent multi-pocket pouch for displaying personal identification documents uses a multi-pocket pouch, a transparent exterior pocket and an external device fastener to mount a user'"'"'s identification documents on the steering wheel of a vehicle. The multi-pocket pouch includes a transparent enclosure that has an interior pocket. The transparent exterior pocket includes a front face of the multi-pocket pouch to hold prioritized documents (e.g., a driver'"'"'s license) above important, but lower priority, identification (and supporting) documents stored within the multi-pocket pouch. Supporting documents may include vehicle registration, proof of insurance, etc. The external device fastener may be connected to a rear face of the multi-pocket pouch so that the multi-pocket pouch can be attached to the vehicle'"'"'s steering wheel. The present apparatus may also be made of flexible materials capable of conforming to the shape of the steering wheel.
- 1. A multi-pocket pouch to attach to a steering wheel of a vehicle, the multi-pocket pouch including multiple layers and comprising:
a non-transparent opaque front cover at an outermost layer and a rear face at an innermost layer, the innermost layer closest to the steering wheel; a transparent exterior pocket adjacently connected to an inner portion of the front cover; at least one interior pocket integrated into an interior cavity of the transparent multi-pocket pouch and opposite the transparent exterior pocket; and an external device fastener adjacently connected to the rear face of the transparent multi-pocket pouch, the external device fastener to attach the multi-pocket pouch to the steering wheel; wherein the multi-pocket pouch is constructed in a shape and of materials to not interfere with safety features of the steering wheel.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
- 20. A method of providing information to a police officer at a traffic stop, the method comprising:
opening a driver window of a vehicle responsive to the traffic stop; placing hands on a steering wheel of the vehicle in plain view of an approaching police officer; instructing the police officer that a set of identification and legal documents are available in a multi-pocket pouch attached to the steering wheel; and allowing the officer access to the set of identification and legal documents while hands remain on the steering wheel of the vehicle, the access facilitated by a multi-pocket pouch comprising; a transparent exterior pocket adjacently connected to an inner portion of the front cover;
The present application is a continuation in part and claims priority to and the benefit of co-pending non provisional patent application Ser. No. 15/839,792 filed Dec. 12, 2017, entitled “HANDS-ON WHEEL, TRANSPARENT MULTI-POCKET POUCH FOR DISPLAYING PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS” which claims benefit of provisional application No. 62/433,022 filed on Dec. 12, 2016. Each of the above referenced applications are incorporated herein in their entirety for all applicable purposes.
The present apparatus relates generally to an identification holder. More specifically, the present apparatus relates to a transparent enclosure that can be attached to the steering wheel of a vehicle to allow access to prioritized identification and legal information to de-escalate tension during a vehicle stop (e.g., traffic stop or inspection).
During a vehicle stop, occupants of a vehicle are often asked for identification such as a driver'"'"'s license and other supporting documents. Supporting documents may include proof-of-insurance, vehicle registration, passports, visas, authorization passes, and the like. In some cases, vehicle occupants may rummage through compartments of a vehicle or reach into pockets to obtain required documents. Whenever a vehicle occupant is performing actions to produce a previously unseen object the administrative personnel performing the stop may have an increased awareness and fear that a weapon may be produced.
Additionally, stress and fear for both vehicle occupants and police officers are typically increased during a stop. Movements and accesses of concealed compartments increase this already tense situation. Accordingly, it may be desirable to reduce or eliminate unnecessary movement by a vehicle operator during a stop. To address this situation, the disclosed apparatus represents, in one example, a steering wheel attachment that contains appropriate documentation to allow retrieval by either the vehicle occupant or the person performing the stop while the vehicle occupant'"'"'s hands remain in plain site (e.g., remain on the steering wheel).
All illustrations of the drawings are for the purpose of describing selected versions of the disclosed apparatus and are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosed apparatus.
The disclosed apparatus may be used to assist in reducing the excessive use of force in custodial environments, especially in connection with traffic stops or vehicle inspections (e.g., at a border crossing port of entry). In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of reports of fatalities and/or serious bodily injuries sustained by citizens from what should have been an ordinary traffic stop. Tensions of both the police officer (or administrative personnel at a checkpoint) and the driver may be heightened during a traffic stop or vehicle inspection. In some situations, misconstruing the otherwise innocent body movements of a person occupying the stopped vehicle can unintentionally generate an escalation in the use of force by the law enforcement agent conducting the traffic stop. To address this situation, the disclosed apparatus allows a person that is involved in a traffic stop to eliminate a significant portion of body movements required to provide proper documentation. In one example, reduction of movement can be accomplished by the placement of a see-through pouch on the steering wheel. The disclosed see-through pouch (referred to as a Hands On Wheel Identification Pouch (HOWIP)) may contain documents in a priority order for inspection and eliminate movement of vehicle occupants to reach for their wallet or open concealed compartments of a vehicle (e.g., glove box or console).
Traffic stops happen often. The results of a nationwide analysis of traffic stops and searches shows that police pull over more than 50,000 drivers on a typical day and more than 20,000,000 motorists every year. There are safety concerns for both police officers and drivers during a traffic stop. The disclosed apparatus is designed to promote safety for all parties involved in a traffic stop.
In addition to traffic stops performed by police officers, there are other times when vehicle or driver information may need to be presented. Generally, these situations may be referred to as “administrative interactions.” Examples of an administrative interaction may include entry through a security gate. The security officer at the gate may desire to see information prior to allowing passage of the vehicle (and occupant) through the security checkpoint. Security checkpoints may exist at many different locations having different levels of security requirements. For example, entry to a neighborhood may require a low level of security while entry to a country at a port of entry may have increased security. Still further, entry into a secure military location may have an even greater amount of security. In each of these situations, security personnel may be armed and have a concern for their own safety. The examples of this disclosure reference a traffic stop by a police officer but the benefits of the disclosed HOWIP may be applicable in additional situations and is therefore not limited to a traffic stop. Still further, a HOWIP may include an externally visible compartment to allow placement of a parking pass or other publicly visible information that may be made available while the vehicle is unattended for periods of time.
The disclosed apparatus advocates reducing or eliminating unnecessary body movements during a traffic stop. Reduction of movement can be accomplished by the placement of a see-through pouch (HOWIP) on the steering wheel. The pouch on the steering wheel may contain at least some of the following documents that are to be accessible while a driver'"'"'s hands remain at or around the steering wheel (i.e., in plain view of the police officer):
- Driver'"'"'s license;
- State identification;
- Proof of automobile insurance;
- Proof of vehicle registration;
- Parking passes; or
- Emergency contact information.
Thus, before law enforcement exits their vehicle, the occupant of the stopped vehicle may place both hands on the steering wheel in plain view while the police officer approaches the vehicle. Access to the soon to be requested documents may be provided without any concealed movements on the part of the vehicle operator. This should send a strong signal to the officer, that the occupant wants to be compliant, thereby reducing the level of force in obtaining information necessary in the course and scope of the law enforcement officer'"'"'s investigatory stop.
The disclosed apparatus is useful in many ways. As mentioned above, the apparatus operates so that a driver'"'"'s hands are always visible when obtaining requested information for a law enforcement officer while involved in a traffic stop. Additionally, the apparatus can also be manipulated by the law enforcement officer from the outside of the vehicle on the driver'"'"'s side. In situations where the officer would prefer the driver not to move at all and keep their hands visible on the steering wheel of the car, the officer can reach in through the window and easily obtain the needed documentation to conduct the traffic stop.
The disclosed apparatus may be made using a majority of transparent materials. In some embodiments, a front cover (that is not transparent) may be used to conceal the driver'"'"'s sensitive information until a need arises to present the information. For example, while the drive is away from their vehicle or the vehicle is not subject to inspection (e.g., not at a traffic stop or administrative interaction). The apparatus being made mostly of a transparent material is a useful characteristic of the disclosed apparatus because, in some embodiments, this may allow more than one document within the pouch to be viewed at one time. Specifically, documents at a lower layer pouch may be visible (in whole or in part) through all higher layer pouches.
An example of the disclosed apparatus being used in a routine traffic stop is shown below.
A law enforcement officer observes a suspected traffic violation by Driver A. The law enforcement officer selects a safe location to initiate a traffic stop and turns on their lightbar. Once both the law enforcement vehicle and the driver'"'"'s vehicle are stopped in a safe location, the law enforcement officer approaches the driver. While approaching, the officer notes the location of the hands of Driver A (and other occupants of the vehicle).
Law enforcement officer: Good afternoon. My name is Officer Charles.
Driver A: Hello Officer Charles. How may I help you today?
Law enforcement officer: Well I am pulling you over because I noticed that you did not turn on your signal light before making that right turn back there. Can you please show me your driver'"'"'s license, registration, and proof of insurance?
Driver A: Oh my! I did not realize I did that. My apologies. But yes, I have all of those documents right here on my steering when in my Hands-On Wheel Identification Pouch. I can retrieve them from the pouch, or you can retrieve them yourself if that would make you feel safer.
Law enforcement officer: Oh wow, that'"'"'s helpful that you have everything you need right there in front of you. That really makes me feel safe. You can go ahead and retrieve the requested documents.
Driver A retrieves their Driver'"'"'s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, all while keeping both hands visible to the law enforcement officer, and hands them over to the law enforcement officer.
Driver A: Here you are, Officer Charles.
Law enforcement officer: Thank you very much. I am going to run your information and be back within 10 minutes.
The law enforcement officer runs Driver A'"'"'s information and determines that they have no prior traffic violations, and that their registration and insurance are up to date. The law enforcement officer decides to give Driver A a warning instead of a ticket. The Law enforcement officer walks back over to Driver A'"'"'s vehicle, where Driver A is still seated with their hands visibly on the steering wheel. The law enforcement officer gives Driver A their driver'"'"'s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Driver A takes the documents from the law enforcement officer and returns them to the HOWIP, all while keeping their hands visible. Accordingly, both the law enforcement officer and Driver A feel safe and comfortable during this transaction.
As seen in the above example, the disclosed apparatus allows drivers to stay organized without losing important documents and tickets. In some embodiments, the disclosed apparatus may have a transparent pocket on the inside cover. This transparent pocket can be used to hold parking tickets from pay to park parking garages which require you to hold on to your ticket while you are parked there and then insert them into a machine when you are exiting the garage.
In other embodiments of the disclosed apparatus, a transparent pocket may be attached to the front cover of the disclosed apparatus. This pocket may be used to hold long term parking passes or stickers for school parking, apartment complexes business buildings, and the like. As mentioned above, the external transparent pocket allows for publicly visible information while other personal information remains concealed.
In some embodiments, the disclosed apparatus may allow view of multiple documents at one time without having to pull any documents out. For example, when the cover is opened, the document on the inside of the cover can be seen as well as the document in the exterior pocket of the pouch (i.e., first layer of the HOWIP). Further, when the document in the exterior pouch is removed, the document in the pouch directly adjacent to the exterior pouch (i.e., second layer of HOWIP) can be seen when multiple transparent layers of a HOWIP are implemented. Still further, documents at different layers may be positioned to be at least partially visible while other documents at more exterior layers remain in their respective pouch.
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In still further example embodiments, the disclosed apparatus may include a design panel 51. The design panel 51 is a panel used to provide aesthetic appeal to the disclosed apparatus. As such, the design panel 51 is superimposed onto a second face of the opaque cover 5, opposite to the front face of the multi-pocket pouch 1. Thus positioned, the design panel 51 provides an aesthetic benefit to the user while the opaque cover 5 is attached to the multi-pocket pouch 1 that is in turn attached to a steering wheel 20.
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Both of the above-referenced scenarios are included in flow chart 100 and begin with the driver being pulled over, as illustrated at block 102, by law enforcement. Of course, as mentioned above, other administrative interactions may have similar scenarios to those related to a traffic stop. Flow continues to decision 104 where the flow branches depending on whether or not the driver has a HOWIP. If the diver does not have HOWIP (the NO prong of decision 104), the driver is likely to “reach” for a wallet or make some other action within the vehicle to obtain their legal documents. In common terms, the drive may fumble through his or her belongings looking for the documents the law enforcement officer has requested during the traffic stop as illustrated at block 106. This “reaching” action and additional movement typically results in the driver'"'"'s hands not being visible to the law enforcement officer as illustrated at block 108. Having the driver reaching and fumbling throughout the vehicle may case the law enforcement officer to have a feeling of agitation and unease as illustrated at block 110. Finally, at block 112 the overall activity of the vehicle occupant at the initiation of a traffic stop may lead to an unsafe environment for both the law enforcement officer and the driver as illustrated at block 112. Clearly, it would be better to avoid an unsafe environment during a traffic stop so that both the driver and the law enforcement officer can remain safe and excessive force does not need to be used.
Returning to decision 104, in contrast to the above explained conditions that contribute to an unsafe environment (or at least a perception of an unsafe environment), if the driver does have HOWIP installed in their vehicle (the YES prong of decision 104), flow continues to block 116 where a driver may have all of the documents that are required by a law enforcement officer during a routine traffic stop available on the on the steering wheel 20 via a HOWIP device. Use of a HOWIP allows the driver to obtain the required documents without having to reach, fumble, or make any movements to search through his or her personal belongings as illustrated at block 118. In fact, the driver may simply keep their hands in plain view right on the steering wheel 20 without obscuring the view of his or her hands to the law enforcement officer. Additionally, as illustrated at block 120, the law enforcement officer can (at their discretion and based on permission of the vehicle driver) reach in through the rolled down window and easily obtain the required documents themselves. The ease of this second scenario (sub-portion 124) allows both the officer and the driver feel safe as indicated by block 122. Accordingly, use of a HOWIP device as described herein may improve safety with respect to what should normally be a routine traffic stop.
Although the disclosed apparatus has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed apparatus as hereinafter claimed.