In this data story, we explore the outcomes of traffic stops. Is there a difference by race in the issuance rate of warnings, tickets or some other outcome? In particular, is there a difference by race in terms of the type of infractions imposed on drivers based on the reason for the stop. 

The Racial Profiling Prohibition Project is a statewide effort led by the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) to understand the nature of traffic stops across our state as well as the possibility of racial profiling in law enforcement’s interactions with the public. In a previous data story, we summarized the main findings of IMRP’s most recent report using interactive data visualization. 

Drivers may be stopped for several reasons, most often related to speeding and moving violations. Every time a member of law enforcement stops a driver, there is an outcome of that interaction, most commonly either an infraction (a ticket) or a warning (either verbal or written).

In the storyboard below, we provide a breakdown of each traffic stop by racial group. These data are only the year 3 data (stops that occurred from October 2015 to September 2016).  

  • One finding of note, while white drivers are pulled over more often for speeding (83% of speeding stops) than black drivers (13%), a greater share of black drivers (53%) receive an infraction--a speeding ticket--when compared to white drivers (43%).

To see this result for yourself, follow the instructions at the top to explore the different possible traffic stop categories and the ways the outcomes of those traffic stops vary for drivers of different racial groups.


Use the storyboard below to explore our findings!