The app due for release in late December will provide c... The app due for release in late December will provide common sense advice to motorists of all races and outline what civil rights you have during a stop. (Shutterstock)
Though the developers of the soon-to-be released "Driving While Black" smartphone application want motorists to download their product, there is a time when they definitely don't want users searching for it.

"Do not reach for your phone when you are talking to police," stressed Melvin Oden-Orr, one of two Portland lawyers creating the app.

Avoiding moves that could make police think you're reaching for a gun is just one tip included in the app that educates drivers about how to safely deal with police during traffic stops.

Despite its attention-grabbing name, Oden-Orr said the app due for release in late December will provide common sense advice to motorists of all races and outline what civil rights you have during a stop. With the phone hopefully in a hands-free device, the app allows drivers to send an alert to friends and family that they have been pulled over. There's also a recording function to document the interaction with an officer.

The app is coming to market as protesters around the country keep attention on instances of deadly encounters with police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Similar apps also are aimed at helping people navigate interactions with police.

Three Georgia teenagers created "Five-O," an app released this summer that lets people rate their interactions with law enforcement. And last month, American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in four states unveiled "Mobile Justice," an app that allows users to take video of police encounters and upload the video to the ACLU. It's modeled on "Stop and Frisk Watch," an app released for New Yorkers in 2012.

"It's obviously in the forefront of everybody's mind; the police know they are being recorded and people in public know they can record," said Sarah Rossi, director of advocacy and policy for the ACLU Missouri affiliate. "I think the benefit of this app (Mobile Justice) specifically is it goes straight to the ACLU and we can review it for any due-process violations."

The apps also include a "Know Your Rights" section that informs people about their rights when contacted by police.

Portland attorney Mariann Hyland got the idea for "Driving While Black" after learning of an app for drivers suspected of drunken driving. She approached Oden-Orr in April, and the two have been working on the app since summer with software developer James Pritchett.

The term "driving while black," perhaps unfamiliar to some, is common among African-Americans. A Justice Department report released last year, based on a survey of those stopped by police in 2011, suggests blacks are more likely than whites to be pulled over and have their cars searched. Moreover, African-Americans are much more likely to believe a traffic stop is not legitimate.

The issue has been on Hyland's radar since motorist Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. Another key event hit closer to home. In 2003, a 21-year-old black woman was fatally shot by Portland police after she jumped from the backseat to the driver's seat during a traffic stop and tried to drive away.

Oden-Orr hosted a forum after the death, and Hyland attended. Afterward, Hyland promised she would do something to educate black youth on handling traffic stops. For years, she didn't keep that promise, and it bothered her.

The app is her attempt at rectifying the situation. Hyland and Oden-Orr say the key to surviving a traffic stop is to remain calm, keep your hands on the wheel, be respectful and make no false moves.

It doesn't sound difficult, but such encounters can be dangerous for police - putting them on heightened alert - and a driver might find it difficult to relax when convinced the stop is based on skin color.

"They describe a pattern of getting pulled over by the police, and they find it to be very frustrating and sometimes that frustration can lead to anger," Hyland said. "You have to always be mindful to check the anger."

The app will include a directory of lawyers for drivers who believe they were wrongfully stopped or searched. The app itself won't provide legal advice, such as telling users how to beat a traffic ticket.

"It's about being safe during a traffic stop so that everyone goes home alive," Oden-Orr said.

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe
  • Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to introduce its new GLE-Class Coupe, and it's shared these images, along with some relevant details, about the new crossover to get us excited for its impending release.

    The model you see in this gallery is the GLE 450 AMG, and it will be powered by a biturbo V6 engine sending 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a brand-new nine-speed automatic transmission. Its main competitor will be the BMW X6, which introduced the coupe-like sloping roofline into the crossover segment.

    Scroll through our image gallery to learn all about the upcoming GLE-Class Coupe.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • According to Mercedes-Benz, it has "[combined] two classes of vehicle – each with its own distinct style – to make a new model, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe."

    Those two seemingly disparate classes are coupes and sport utility vehicles, and we can certainly see where the German automaker is coming from. The high ground clearance of the new GLE-Class makes it look rugged and ready for adventure, but the tight confines of its dramatic bodywork mean it's really more intimate, like a sports coupe would be.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Meredes GLE In Profile
  • Meredes GLE In Profile
  • In profile, it's clear that Mercedes is targeting the BMW X4 and X6 with its new GLE-Class. A dramatically sloping roofline is the standout feature, and when coupled with large wheel openings for aggressive wheels and tires, the mixed-use intent that the car's designers had in mind is apparent.

    While it's highly unlikely any future Mercedes GLE owners will actually take their cars off-road, we see clear indicators that the automaker wants people to think it could � such as the black underbody panels and fender flares.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes GLE Coupe
  • Mercedes GLE Coupe
  • Take note of the aggressive bodywork that makes up the rear of the new Mercedes GLE Coupe. Vented lower rear panels look sporty, and there's a subtle spoiler above the chrome-highlighted tail lamps.

    Although Mercedes is calling this vehicle a coupe, we're sure owners will appreciate the added versatility of rear doors, though we're just as sure that they shouldn't expect a great deal of room in back due to the GLE's sloping roof.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes GLE From Behind
  • Mercedes GLE From Behind
  • When looking at the rear of the new Mercedes GLE, we see very wide rear tires that are sure to prove grippy on the pavement, though certainly less so on dirt or snow. Fortunately, the GLE is offered with the brand's excellent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, meaning it has the hardware necessary to keep moving when the going gets tough.

    Note, too, the four exhaust tips of this GLE 450 AMG model, which sit high and signal to others on the road that you're driving something powerful. Although the rear glass will lift as part of the car's hatchback, the total amount of usable space will be limited by the car's coupe-like proportions.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes GLE Interior
  • Mercedes GLE Interior
  • An eight-inch LCD screen sits front and center in the GLE's dash, and, combined with the controllers that sit atop the console, make up Mercedes' COMAND infotainment technology.

    Mercedes promises room for five people, citing the widest rear bench seat in its class, and says the 58 maximum cubic feet of cargo space is a "world record for luggage compartments in coupes," though most coupes don't have four doors or a rear hatch. For comparison, the BMW X6 offers a max of 53.9 cubic feet.
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

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