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NCJ Number: 229189 Find in a Library
Title: Race, Driving, and Police Organization: Modeling Moving and Nonmoving Traffic Stops with Citizen Self-Reports of Driving Practices
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:37  Issue:6  Dated:November-December 2009  Pages:564-575
Author(s): Kirk Miller
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study used citizens' self-reported driving practices and traffic stops in order to determine whether moving and nonmoving driving practices were associated with the likelihood of police stops linked to moving and nonmoving violations.
Abstract: As expected, driving practices, disaggregated by moving and nonmoving violations, were significant predictors of the likelihood of police traffic stops. Among the most noteworthy findings was the interaction between situational and organizational influences on citizen self-reported traffic stops. It was clear that the organizational meaning of a traffic stop was different for local police and the State police, especially for nonmoving traffic stops. For State police, traffic stops were more likely to be motivated by roadway safety and traffic patterns, such as driving at high speeds. Legal factors were the best predictors of trooper stops. For local police, on the other hand, the tactic of conducting a nonmoving traffic stop was perhaps more closely tied to law enforcement as opposed to traffic regulation. The findings suggest that local police rely on extralegal factors, including race, more often than State police. One interpretation of this finding is that local police respond more to the situational characteristics of citizen and vehicle encounters that may be construed as "danger signifiers," as measured by a combination of extralegal driver characteristics. Controlling crime may encourage local police to make decisions based upon weaker evidence of a traffic violation, as well as the suspicion of potential for violation of the criminal law. The study used survey self-report data collected by telephone from Black and White adult licensed drivers in North Carolina in 1999 and 2000 who had renewed their license in the prior 12 months. The final sample consisted of 2,669 respondents (49 percent Black). The questionnaire addressed driving behaviors, traffic stops, and attitudes about police and other public officials. 4 tables, 4 notes, and 43 references
Main Term(s): Police discretion
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; County police; Municipal police; North Carolina; Profiling; Racial discrimination; Self-report studies; State police; Traffic law enforcement; Traffic offenses; Vehicle stops
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