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According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 217 million vehicles on American roads today. While advances in safety technology make driving far less dangerous today than it has been in decades past, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017 there were 37,133 fatalities from motor vehicle accidents.
While safety technologies in automobiles — seatbelts, airbags, and impact protection, for example — are largely focused on reducing the rate of injury and death in a collision, law enforcement officials are working to prevent collisions in the first place by identifying drivers who are making dangerous decisions on the road , such as B. Disobeying traffic laws, operating an unsafe vehicle, or erratic driving. However, certain population groups are more likely to be stopped than others and the consequences for drivers who are subject to a traffic stop vary widely.
According to the Justice Department, there are 19 million traffic delays a year. The data shows that African Americans are more likely to be stopped than other racial groups, with 9.8 percent of black drivers experiencing a traffic stop annually. The data also show that women are less likely to be stopped than men. In addition, drivers aged 18 to 24 are the age group most likely to be affected by a police stop, with the odds steadily decreasing with age. Because drivers under the age of 25 have less driving experience, they often pay higher insurance premiums as well.
Not all stopped drivers believe their stop was justified. In fact, only 80.6 percent of all traffic delays are considered legitimate by drivers. Not surprisingly, when police officers provide a reason for the stop, drivers are more likely to perceive the stop as legitimate (83.7 percent vs. 36.7 percent). Of all traffic stops, police officers gave a reason for the stop in 95.4 percent of cases.
Justice Department data shows that police are more likely to give women a reason than men, and police are less likely to give Hispanics a reason than other racial groups. In addition, both black and Hispanic drivers are significantly less likely to believe they were legitimately stopped, even when the police officer gives a reason.
Traffic stop results also vary by demographics. Among all traffic stops, only 12.7 percent resulted in no enforcement action. Instead, 36.1 percent of traffic delays resulted in a warning, 48.8 percent in a ticket, and 3.7 percent in a search or arrest (note: enforcement actions may not add up as respondents may be in more than one category).
While black drivers and white drivers have similar traffic stop results, Hispanics are more likely than other races to receive a ticket and are less likely to receive a warning. Hispanics are also the least likely racial group to have no enforcement action.
Because auto insurance rates are based in part on how you drive, consequences such as getting a speeding ticket or being arrested could also result in higher premiums and increase the financial burden of driving for certain demographics.
In recent years, a growing body of research has investigated the effectiveness of body cameras in police-initiated contact, such as B. traffic controls examined. In 2016, only 47 percent of law enforcement agencies used body-worn cameras (BWCs), representing 119,000 BWCs nationwide. More than 90 percent of law enforcement agencies that use BWCs require their officers to turn on the cameras during traffic stops.
While there is currently no federal law governing the use of body cameras in police-community encounters such as traffic stops, several state and local governments have passed legislation governing their use to improve the safety, professionalism, and fairness of police and civilians.
To find the top reasons drivers are pulled over, researchers from AutoInsuranceEZ.com analyzed data from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics Police-Public Contact Survey conducted by the US Department of Justice. In addition to ranking reasons by frequency of occurrence, researchers also analyzed the most likely consequences (warning, speeding ticket, search/arrest, or no action) and the perceived legitimacy of each reason. Here’s what they found.