Stanford University Study Finds That “Driving While Black” Is Less Risky at Night

It has been widely documented that “Driving While Black” leads to an increased chance that the driver will be pulled over by law enforcement. A new study led by researchers at Stanford University in California provides revealing evidence that skin color is a significant factor in the increased number of Black drivers who are subjected to traffic stops.

Researchers examined 95 million traffic stop records, filed by officers with 21 state patrol agencies and 35 municipal police forces from 2011 to 2018. The results showed that Blacks, who are pulled over more frequently than Whites by day, are much less likely to be stopped after sunset, when “a veil of darkness” masks their race. The research also established that once a traffic stop had been made and the law officer had seen the face of the driver close up, Blacks were significantly more likely to have their cars searched than Whites.

“Our results indicate that police stops and search decisions suffer from persistent racial bias, and point to the value of policy interventions to mitigate these disparities,” the researchers conclude.

The full study, “A Large-Scale Analysis of Racial Disparities in Police Stops Across the United States,” was published by the journal Nature Human Behavior. It may be accessed here.

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Comments (1)

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  1. El says:

    Yes, but wait until police departments acquire “night-vision race identification,” technology, which — this being America — is probably in development as I write.

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