Minorities More Likely to Get Tickets, Have Vehicles Searched

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After a traffic stop, minority drivers are more likely to receive traffic tickets and have their vehicles searched by police, according to a study released by the Illinois Department of Transportation.


The study took stock of all 2010 traffic stops in the state and concluded that white drivers who were stopped received tickets 55 percent of the time, while minority motorists who were stopped got tickets 63 percent of the time, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

That's not huge news to anyone familiar with the expression "driving while black" and the real-life experiences that inspired it. However, the results suggest that "driving while brown" might be more accurate: Among minorities, Hispanics fared the worst, getting tickets 65 percent of the time, with black and Asian motorists coming in at 62 percent.

While less than 1 percent of all stops involved consent searches, the study showed that minority drivers were nearly twice as likely to undergo such searches.

Despite the fact that minority motorists' vehicles were searched more frequently, police turned up contraband more frequently while searching white motorists' vehicles, according to the data. Chicago police turned up contraband in 29 percent of the searches of white motorists' vehicles, versus a 24 percent success rate when they searched minority drivers' vehicles. (The results were reflected statewide, with police discovering contraband 25 percent of the time in white drivers' vehicles and 19 percent in minority motorists' vehicles.)

Will the data showing patterns that most people could have pretty easily guessed actually change behavior? Possibly. The results prompted the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union to add to a complaint it filed in June with the Justice Department, requesting an investigation into how the Illinois State Police handle searches.

Read more at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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