Why do we need a court ruling for this?

Police can stop cars for driving too slowly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Police can stop a vehicle for driving too slowly, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case that led to a drug bust.

Chattanooga police arrested three people for possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to sell or deliver after they were pulled over in 2005 for driving 20 miles an hour in a 35-miles-per-hour zone.

The trial court judge in Hamilton County had earlier ruled that the stop and subsequent search were illegal because the car's speed didn't cause traffic to come to a complete standstill.

The state argued that the slow-moving vehicle did impede traffic because other cars had to brake quickly and move into another lane to avoid the car.

Police said the driver, Richard Adam Hannah, appeared to be intoxicated and was mumbling when he was pulled over. His two passengers, Larry Darnell Penn and Tracy Lee Ray, were also arrested.

In a unanimous ruling, the Tennessee Supreme Court sided with the state. It reversed the lower court's ruling and sent the drug case back for a new hearing.

Chattanooga police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary said traffic stops for driving under the speed limit are uncommon, but is sometimes necessary to keep traffic moving.

"Obviously this was a good stop that led to a good arrest," Weary said, but noted that the ruling will likely not have a big impact on police procedures.