What New Research Reveals About Your Chances of Getting a Ticket

June 20th 2017

Around 50,000 traffic stops are made every day in the United States, according to a new analysis of from The Stanford Open Policing Project that found these stops reveal a serious disparity in how drivers are treated depending on the color of their skin.

Researchers analyzied more than 60 million stops, spanning 20 states, made between 2011 and 2015, making it the most extensive examination of traffic stops to date. What the found is evidence of institutional racism.

"When we applied the threshold test to our traffic stop data, we find police require less suspicion to search black and Hispanic drivers than whites. This double standard is evidence of discrimination," the project said in a video.

This discrimination manifests itself in disproportionate rates of stops, ticketing, and searches. For example, Black and Latino drivers are both twice as likely as white drivers to be searched by police after a stop. Similarly, Black drivers are 20 percent more likely to be ticketed than white drivers, while Latino drivers are 30 percent more likely to be ticketed than white drivers.

Heightened scrutiny has been paid to the traffic stops of people of color in recent years after several recent incidents exposed the use of excessive force against non-white drivers. The phenomenon is so common that it has been dubbed by people of color as “driving while Black or brown.”

One famous case of “driving while Black” occurred in 2015 when Sandra Bland was pulled over in Texas by then-officer Brian Encinia over an alleged improper lane change. She was then arrested, ostensibly for assaulting an officer—an arrest the Texas Department of Public Safety would later say did not follow proper procedure. Three days later, she was found dead in her cell of a reported suicide.

More recently, Philando Castile was shot to death in his car in Minnesota; the officer, seen on Facebook Live committing the act, was just found not guilty.

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