Traffic Stops

Courtesy of Frank R. Baumgartner / Cambridge University Press

20 million people are pulled over annually in traffic stops throughout the United States, according to The Stanford Open Policing Project. New data shows a disproportionate number of those motorists in North Carolina are black. The findings come from a comprehensive analysis of every traffic stop in the state from 2002 to 2016. 

N.C. Department of Transportation
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation last summer aimed at preventing violence during police stops.  House Bill 21 instructed that the Department of Motor Vehicles update the driver’s license handbook to include updated guidelines for behavior during a police stop.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The General Assembly has ordered the DMV to update guidelines in its handbook and drivers' ed curriculum about how drivers and officers act during traffic stops.

Nathan Rupert via Flickr Creative Commons

Durham Police officers disproportionately pulled over black male drivers during traffic stops from 2010 to 2015, and officers focusing on drug and law enforcement were more likely to stop black drivers than those in any other unit, according to a study released Thursday.

A traffic stop in Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax Police Department

In 2009, a sheriff’s deputy in mostly rural Orange County pulled over slightly more than 100 drivers. In most cases, the deputy determined equipment in the driver’s vehicle was malfunctioning and in a few that the vehicle was traveling unsafely along the road. The deputy stopped drivers for reasons that starkly contrasted those of most Orange County deputies, who pulled over a majority for unsafe driving and a relative few for malfunctioning equipment.

A picture of a traffic stop
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Greensboro's police chief is reporting a steep drop in racially disparate traffic stops.