Traffic and Traffic Accidents - English for Police

This page from our English for Police section covers language police need to talk about traffic and accidents in an English-speaking context.

police officer directing trafficExample Sentences

Pulling over drivers

  • Can I see your driver's licence and passport?
  • Have you been drinking tonight?
  • How much have you had to drink?
  • How fast do you think you were going?
  • Do you know what the speed limit is?
  • Is this a rental car?
  • You were driving too fast.
  • You broke the speed limit.
  • You were driving on the wrong side of the road.
  • You're driving the wrong way in a one-way street.
  • You were travelling too close to the car in front of you.
  • You cut off another car.
  • You didn't obey the traffic signals.
  • You aren't wearing your seatbelt.
  • You aren't allowed to park here.
  • I'm going to keep your driving licence and give you a ticket. You can go to the police station to pay the fine. They will give your driving licence back to you.

Questions police ask an injured driver

  • Are you hurt?
  • Can you stand up/move?
  • Where does it hurt most?
  • Don't worry. We've called an ambulance.
  • How did the accident happen?
  • Who was at fault?
  • What did the other car look like?
  • Is there someone you want to call?

Sample Conversation

A Japanese police officer pulls over an American driver on the highway for speeding...

Police: Can I see your driver's license please?

Man: Ah, yeah. I think it's in my pocket. No. Maybe my wallet. Uh. Yeah here.

Police: Do you know how fast you were driving?

Man: No, sorry. It's a rental car. I'm not used to it.

Police: Have you been drinking tonight, Mr. Davidson?

Man: I had one or two drinks. I'm okay to drive, though. I know my limit.

Police: How long have you been in Japan?

Man: A few weeks, why?

Police: It seems you are unaware of our zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

Man: I'm not drunk. I'll blow into a breathalizer.

Police: In Japan you cannot operate a vehicle after consuming any alcohol.

Man: Oh, I didn't know that.

Police: You were also going over the speed limit, Mr. Davidson. I'm going to have to ask you to step out of your vehicle and get into my car.

Man: This is crazy. But what about my car?

Police: We'll have the rental car towed to the agency. When you're in our country you have to respect our rules.

Check your understanding

Test your understanding of the conversation above with this quick quiz.

1. Why was the man pulled over?

he had no driver's license
he was speeding
the car was stolen
a) he had no driver's license b) he was speeding c) the car was stolen

2. What is Mr. Davidson's excuse?

he's not from Japan
he isn't used to the car
he only had one or two drinks
a) he's not from Japan b) he isn't used to the car c) he only had one or two drinks

3. What will happen to the car he was driving?

the police will drive it home
he has to come back for it
a tow-truck will take it away
a) the police will drive it home b) he has to come back for it c) a tow-truck will take it away

Your score is:

Correct answers: