Seatbelt Laws

ACLU Documents Racially Skewed Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws

An overlooked alternative: no enforcement

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NHTSA

According to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), blacks are twice as likely as whites to be pulled over in Florida for failing to fasten their seat belts. Although Florida survey data indicate that blacks are slightly less likely to buckle up than whites, the difference is only 7 percent, so it does not come close to accounting for the 100 percent difference in seat belt citation rates. [See addendum.] In some jurisdictions, the difference was even bigger: about 200 percent in Orange and Palm Beach counties, 300 percent in Escambia County. The ACLU says "these racial disparities raise serious concerns that law enforcement [agencies] engage in racial profiling when enforcing the Florida Safety Belt Law." 

The report analyzes data that state law requires police to report (although the ACLU notes that compliance with that mandate fell from 293 agencies in 2007 to 147 in 2014). The ACLU's main calculation is based on citations per 100,000 people: 1,821 for blacks vs. 970 for whites in 2014. The report also notes that blacks accounted for 13.5 percent of resident drivers but 22 percent of seat belt tickets that year. "If Black people had been stopped and ticketed for seatbelt violations in proportion to their estimated representation among Florida drivers," the ACLU says, "they would have received 20,296 fewer seatbelt citations in 2014."

The ACLU suggests several reforms to address the racial disparity in seat belt stops, including better enforcement of the reporting requirement and investigation of agencies with especially large disparities. Conspicuously missing from the list: repealing the state law that requires people to wear seat belts, or at least the part of it that authorizes "primary enforcement," which lets police stop a car if they suspect the driver or a passenger is not complying. Florida is one of 32 states with primary enforcement of seat belt laws; in the other 18, police need an independent reason to pull a car over, after which they can write a seat belt citation if it is justified.

Primary enforcement of seat belt laws gives police yet another excuse to hassle people who are not violating anyone's rights, yet another pretext for stops aimed at discovering consensual "crimes" such as drug possession, yet another occasion for initiating an encounter that may result in protracted detention, a humiliating search, legalized theft, assault, kidnapping (a.k.a. arrest), or even death. As the ACLU notes, the policy also provides yet another opportunity for racial biases to influence law enforcement. Assuming seat belt enforcement is often a cover for stops aimed at implicating people in drug offenses and/or seizing property allegedly connected to drug offenses, the same factors that make blacks especially likely to be arrested on drug charges may help explain racial disparities in seat belt citations.

Inviting these intrusions, whether racially motivated or not, is especially hard to justify when the aim is stopping people from driving without a seat belt, a self-endangering habit that (like riding a bicycle or motorcycle without a helmet) does not pose a threat to others. Back in 2005, when only 20 states let cops pull over unbelted drivers, I wrote a feature story for Reason that noted the potential for the sort of mischief highlighted in the ACLU report:

As states move toward primary enforcement (which the transportation bill signed by President Bush in August encourages them to do with a promise of extra highway money), seat belt laws may arouse more resentment and concern, especially since traffic stops can lead to further hassles, such as interrogation and examinations by drug-sniffing dogs. Fear of racially tinged police harassment was the main reason New Jersey, the second state to adopt a seat belt law, did not follow New York's lead in allowing primary enforcement, and most states copied the New Jersey model. "Do I think racial profiling is an issue?" says MADD's Chuck Hurley, who lobbied for stricter seat belt laws when he worked at the National Safety Council. "Yes, I do." But Hurley doubts primary enforcement of seat belt laws will noticeably worsen the problem, and he argues that it makes sense as a matter of consistency: If you can be pulled over for a broken tail light, why not for failing to buckle up? One answer is that the broken tail light poses a potential hazard to others, while the unbuckled seat belt does not. But unless they want to repeal existing seat belt requirements, says Hurley, politicians who oppose primary enforcement are left to argue, rather implausibly, that it's "the Maginot Line between enough government and too much government."

Even if you don't object to the paternalism inherent in legally requiring people to use seat belts, you might rationally object to laws that expand a cop's disturbingly broad power to mess with you.

Addendum: As a reader points out, the relevant comparison for assessing racial differences in seat belt citations is the extent of noncompliance among blacks vs. whites. According to the 2014 survey of Florida residents cited by the ACLU, 91.5 percent of whites used seat belts, compared to 85.8 percent of blacks. That means 8.5 percent of whites and 14.2 percent of blacks did not wear seat belts. In other words, black people were 67 percent more likely than white people to ride in cars with their seat belts unfastened. That difference would account for most of the statewide racial disparity in citations, which was 88 percent in 2014. It is harder to account for the much larger racial disparities in places such as Orange, Palm Beach, and Escambia counties, although it's possible the racial gap in compliance rates varies from one jurisdiction to another. 

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  1. Even if you don’t object to the paternalism inherent in legally requiring people to use seat belts, you might rationally object to laws that expand a cop’s disturbingly broad power to mess with you.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  2. Problem is, the ACLU has no interest in being associated with libertarians.

    1. What would they want with people who believe in liberty and justice?

      1. It really is easier for some people to rationalize contorted schemes like bringing parity in enforcement against cocaine users rather than having to conclude that maybe the libertarians have a point. Look, as long as we’re screwing as many of their people as they do ours, we can sleep easier at night.

  3. Question: If the goal of seat belt laws is to protect the driver and it is a compelling government interest to force people to wear seatbelts for that reason, then isn’t it good for black people that they’re the ones being pulled over because this will save their lives? If anything, this is racist against white people because the government is willing to let me die!

    Complaining that black people are more likely to be pulled over for this therefore basically undercuts the entire justification for the law. If you think it’s wrong for more black people to be pulled over for a law that’s supposedly meant to save the driver’s life, then basically you’re admitting the law shouldn’t exist in the first place. So when is the ACLU going to call for the total abolition of all seat belt laws, as their complaints here imply they should?

    1. According to my dad, the point of seatbelt laws is to protect other drivers from possibly having to life a life haunted by guilt because they killed you.

      1. When I crashed into the drunk driver who made a haphazard left-hand turn right in front of me, I remember thinking… Damn, I wish I hadn’t gotten this woman arrested and her car totaled.

      2. That’s a terrible justification for a law. But I am sure that most people would be troubled by the fact that they were involved in a fatal accident even if it was entirely the other driver’s fault.

      3. That’s not what your mom told me.

        1. I think you’re confusing a seat belt with a sex swing.

          1. He’s also confusing nicole’s mom with nicole’s dad. Epi is not having a good morning.

            1. I’m not a confused guy, Hugh. But, I’ve just experienced some very confusing things.

          2. I think you’re confusing your mom with Nicole’s mom.

  4. Blacks also tend to speed more which might be playing a role in why they get pulled over more and then cited more for seat belt violations. I know a lot of people have their heart set on racism-uber-alles theory to explain all the woes of the black community but MAYBE, just maybe, there’s something else at work here, like the statistically significant differences in behavior patterns between groups.

    1. Wait, I thought all black people slowed down in their cars when they do drug deals or drive-bys.

      1. No one’s saying “all black people” speed. The question is are there more black people who speed or drive in a way that might make them more likely to be pulled over. Given the stats on virtually every other form of crime, I don’t think it’s unlikely that a higher percentage of African Americans commit vehicular crimes as well.

        We can quibble over root causes all you want, but racial disparities don’t prove the cops are racists since those racial disparities could be caused by factors unrelated to police racism.

        1. Crimes. This word does not mean what you think it means.

          1. Crime = something that is illegal. Not wearing a seat belt or driving too fast is a crime. Should it be a crime to not wear a seat belt? No – but it is. What about my definition is wrong?

            1. Why would you expect a correspondence across a set of activities that aren’t actually related to each other in any way other than “the state no likey”?

              1. Because certain groups are more likely to do what the state tells them to do. There are groups of people who obey laws just because they’re ‘law abiding’ and there are people who don’t obey laws with the same frequency.

                If you tell me someone is a thief, the odds of that person breaking other laws is bound to be higher. Now it’s true there are certain categories of crime that might not intersect. If someone’s a peeping tom, their odds of more serious sexual crime is higher but their odds of embezzling might not be. But if someone’s a criminal, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think they’re more likely to ignore all sorts of laws they don’t feel like following.

                1. There are groups of people who obey laws just because they’re ‘law abiding’ and there are people who don’t obey laws with the same frequency.

                  Old joke:

                  “Why is there so little crime in Germany?”

                  “It’s against the law.”

            2. Isn’t it a civil infraction? I think there is a distinction between crimes and civil infractions or violations. One doesn’t generally call anyone who has had a speeding ticket or a tail light out a “criminal”.

              1. Yep. In CA, we have a penal code and a vehicle code. No jury trials allowed for the latter.

                1. What happens if I break a traffic law, then refuse to pay the fine?

                  It’s all criminal law. Bullshit traffic laws like seatbelt laws are just a state shakedown with criminal courts as the stick should you not pay your fines.

                  1. What happens if I break a traffic law, then refuse to pay the fine?

                    Then you have violated a different law.

                2. What about Bird Law?

                  1. Bird law’s not governed by reason.

            3. Florida differentiates between crime and civil infraction.

              I believe the difference is crime is punishable by incarceration.

              Failure to wear your seat-belt while driving within an officer’s field of view is a civil infraction, not a crime.

          2. It’s amazing how the system we know to be utterly corrupted and dispensing justice accidentally, if ever, is also able to make devastatingly accurate insights into racial criminality.

            1. LOL, sure. African Americans have homicide rates 10 times higher than white people because the system is lying. I’m not sure how the system would lie to me about these statistics, but you don’t like what the stats say, so there must be some flaw somewhere – a flaw you can’t actually point me to and haven’t bothered proving exists.

              1. Well, murder laws are hard to selectively enforce. If you have a body, it’s hard to ignore.

                But for things like traffic violations or drug posession, I would seriously doubt that conviction rates are representative of what actually goes on.

            2. Corrupted systems work magically well when they confirm people’s biases, HoD. Haven’t you realized that yet?

              1. What the fuck are you people talking about? I’m not arguing African Americans commit more crimes than other groups because they’re black, I’m arguing there are higher crime rates among African Americans because there actually are.

                Tell me – if you walk through the AVERAGE neighborhood in America that is 90% white and the AVERAGE neighborhood in America that is 90% black, which is more likely to have crime problems? In which neighborhood are the people less safe? In which neighborhood are there more murders?

                This is not racist. Most black people are not criminals. There may be root causes related to poverty or what the fuck ever. But this is a fact.

                Oh, and by the way:

                “Fucking darkies, amitire?”

                Oh, fuck yourself, HM. Sorry pointing out that you can’t assume racism without looking at the actual behavior that leads to people getting pulled over makes you throw a hissy fit and call me a racist. That’s not my problem.

                    1. Sorry, it was Playa. Fuck you then. My point is completely reasonable and it is nonsense you’re trying to call me a racist.

                    2. While it is nonsensical to call you racist (I never have thought you were), your argument is far from reasonable. I’ve already detailed the fallacy present in your inductive argument, and you have yet to engage the point raise by me and others that traffic violations are qualitatively different than criminal acts (be they misdemeanors or felonies). Furthermore, the one data set we have (provided by FS) seems to point to a confounding variable of age. Again, you haven’t addressed that point.

                1. I’m not arguing African Americans commit more crimes than other groups because they’re black, I’m arguing there are higher crime rates among African Americans because there actually are.

                  It isn’t that the cops and bureaucrats of Ferguson fed on the black residents like blood-sucking leeches, looking for any excuse to exploit a vulnerable target for their own gain. No, oh no, don’t be silly. Black people merely are born in need of constant, ceaseless correction and fines. The facts in Ferguson can be read no other way.

                  No. Other. Way.

              2. When asking yourself whether the justice system in America is corrupted, or the darkies are congenitally inferior, clearly the evidence only points one way.

                1. “When asking yourself whether the justice system in America is corrupted, or the darkies are congenitally inferior, clearly the evidence only points one way.”

                  No, American justice can be fucked up and African Americans can have higher crime rates because more of them commit crimes as a percentage of their population.

                  And fuck you. At no point have I said ‘congenitally.’ At no point have I argued differences are genetic. If you want to pretend all my points are because I’m a bigot, then all that tells me is you’re not quite sharp enough to argue about this topic rationally, and need to engage in nitwit personal attacks.

                  Look at homicide rate differences. Look at theft differences. Then get back to me and tell me that those differences are due to racism. Do you really think there’s some massive underreported crime spree among white Americans that just isn’t getting reported to make black people look bad?

                  1. Irish, you are failing to see the point here. Even taking all that you just said at face value, what the fuck does that have to do with getting pulled over for speeding?

                    1. And fuck you. At no point have I said ‘congenitally.’ At no point have I argued differences are genetic.

                      And you also wouldn’t say that Disagreement With Sarcasm is mean, mean name-calling, fuck you for making me cry! *sobs*

                      But you are completely correct. Guys, Irish has never used the word “congenitally”. Since he has not, to the best of my knowledge, told us exactly why he feels blacks are inherently criminal in ways that white people are not, we cannot rule out a sincere belief in a virus which feeds on melanin and infects otherwise perfectly normal people with a desire to break the law.

        2. Given the stats on virtually every other form of crime, I don’t think it’s unlikely that a higher percentage of African Americans commit vehicular crimes as well.

          The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) classifies crimes into two categories, Part I and Part II crimes. Part I crimes are things like murder, rape, robbery, theft, and arson; whereas, Part II crimes are things like fraud, forgery, drug possession, domestic violence, and other non-violent offense excluding traffic violations. The fact that traffic violations are explicitly not reported in the UCR suggests that there is something qualitatively different about them; therefore your argument suffers from an illicit use of statistical syllogism. As you very well know, onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat”, so unless you have the data, you’re all wet here.

          1. Similar to the way that marijuana is classified as a schedule I drug suggests it’s different? I don’t get the logic there. Call for data I get.

              1. Any sort of classification of crimes in this manner is going to include some element of arbitrariness. The logic behind it seems to be how seriously the offense is. I assume traffic violations aren’t reported because a) they are infractions not felonies or misdemeanors. Note that they’re not including zoning violations in the UCR either.

                1. *how seriously the offense is viewed

                2. That’s a value judgement and not logic.

      2. A recent report from the David Duke Institute of Highway Safety indicates that blacks spend 71% of their time behind the wheel sitting in a drive through waiting for their chicken and waffles.

        1. /sarc tags obligatory, for you outrage addicts

          1. I was about to type ” I KNEW IT!!!” and then you went and ruined it…

        2. I was wondering where you thought all these black people were speeding off to without wearing their seat belts cause we all know that they’re in no hurry to get to their job, if they have one. Thanks for the explanation.

          1. I’m not too proud to admit I loled.

    2. Yeah, you do need to take into consideration that people don’t drive equally. African Americans commit a disproportionate number of crimes, so it’s not unlikely that African Americans are also more likely to speed.

      Regardless, seat belt laws should be abolished.

    3. Are you fucking kidding me?

      1. You’re probably half speeding right now.

        1. Whenever I sit behind the wheel, I can’t help myself. I hear the polyrhythms of my father’s people in my soul and it excites my blood.

          Fuck it, it’s too early in the morning to be dealing with this shit.

      2. What did he say that’s wrong? Black people are also more likely to be arrested for murder. Do you think this is because of police racism or actual differences in homicide rate?

        I don’t think it’s racist to acknowledge that there are higher rates of criminal behavior among African Americans than other groups. I don’t think it’s because they’re black, I think it’s because there are shitloads of cultural problems in inner cities. Black people being more likely to get pulled over for something doesn’t prove racism because it’s possible they actually do it more often.

        (Also, white people are more likely to live in rural areas with smaller cop presences. If a black guy in a city doesn’t wear his seatbelt, he’s more likely to get pulled over than Jethro McWhiteboy doing the same thing in some rural community with one sheriff. That’s another reason for possible differences on a statewide scale which has nothing to do with racism.)

        1. I’m kind of floored by your equation of speeding with homicide rates, which are also primarily driven by gang violence. Not only is speeding not a crime in any realistic and non-“technically correct is the best kind of correct” way, where the fuck does this correlate?

        2. I won’t dispute your reasoning [drink!] but I have to admit that when I saw the video of snowboarding NYC streets a couple days ago, I wondered if the cops would have been so differential if it had been black guys doing the same exact thing.

          1. Black people don’t street ski.

            /David Duke Institute of Highway Safety

          2. *deferential (geez!)

      3. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03…..ersey.html

        http://www.foxnews.com/story/2…..more/.html

        Now you can say that black motorists only get cited more because of the overwhelming racism of cops everywhere, even in black majority areas. So in following that argument to it’s logical conclusion, teen drivers are also cited more than other groups but it’s because of ageism! And women are cited less for speeding than men because of sexism! And motorists that have attained higher levels of education are cited less for speeding because of classism! And on and on…

        1. Um…do you not think ageism, sexism, and classism play a role in this?

          1. Think. Lolz.

            1. I’m just glad that we can all admit that we don’t like black people because of cultural differences!! Haaaahhhh…. so relieving. Feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders!

              1. LOL WATERMELON

          2. Um…do you not think ageism, sexism, and classism play a role in this?

            A negligible role since it’s rather apparent by a number of metrics that, for example, teen drivers are cited more often for speeding as well as reckless operation and at-fault accidents. If you really want to tie those stats to ageism, then good for you, I’m sure that will win you enough votes with millennials to win your campaign for Snow Shovel Czar of Chicago.

            1. A negligible role since it’s rather apparent by a number of metrics that, for example, teen drivers are cited more often for speeding as well as reckless operation and at-fault accidents.

              “I have more than one metric that shows the state treats young people worse, therefore young people really are worse.”

            2. It’s Czarina, you fucking illiterate.

              1. You two are so cute when you troll together.

                1. Yawn. Why don’t you go try to exercise control over some of that public property you own a share in. Let us know how it goes.

                  1. Ya know, FS, I can recall some months ago when I lumped you in with briannn as an inbred goose-stepper and later apologized to you for doing so.

                    I’m not so sure I should have apologized then, at this point

        2. teen drivers are also cited more than other groups but it’s because of ageism! And women are cited less for speeding than men because of sexism! And motorists that have attained higher levels of education are cited less for speeding because of classism!

          It seems somewhat likely that all of those things are true to some extent. You don’t think cops pay extra attention to teen drivers? Or give women a break when they flirt or cry or something?

          1. It seems somewhat likely that all of those things are true to some extent. You don’t think cops pay extra attention to teen drivers? Or give women a break when they flirt or cry or something?

            Sure, to an extent that doesn’t change the fact that teens do speed more and do cause more accidents. I never claimed that law enforcement are perfectly objective creatures. But using victimology to explain away the differences between groups is as pathetic as it is intellectually dishonest.

            1. Doesn’t’ everyone speed all the time?

              Speeding is one of the most selectively enforced laws out there. I’m not sure how confident we should be about the numbers of people who speed and don’t get caught or ticketed.

        3. Well, at least you provide the data that Irish does not; though, I prefer to see the data from the horse’s mouth, if you will. (and your 2nd link is broken). But even your first link shows evidence for the confounding variable:

          Demographic research has shown that the black population is younger than the white population, and younger drivers are more likely to speed.

          Disaggregate the data by age cohort and then get back to me.

          1. (and your 2nd link is broken)

            A “/” got added before the “.html” for some reason.

            http://www.foxnews.com/story/2…..-more.html

            1. Thanks. I’m having a devil of a time trying to find a copy of the actual study online. Though Google Books has bibliographic info and common words and phrases. This one really stood out for me “Driver Self-Report Survey”. I’m really curious as to their methodology, if they didn’t sample from population of the drivers actually pulled over, how did they determine the race of speeding drivers?

              1. I’ve been searching around and only those two links on a quick duckduckgo search came up immediately. I’ve noticed long ago that surveys and studies that have any implications for racial disparities are harder to find once they’ve been obscurely published. I know from my recent CE insurance course work, they talked about these studies and that insurance companies are often too afraid or legally forbidden, from incorporating this sort of data into their rate structure. So these studies have little commercial application, which might be a reason. That and no one wants to offend card carrying victims.

                1. To be honest, I think it has more to do with it being a privately-sponsored study that was not intended to be published in an academic journal. In my field, we call that type of stuff “grey literature,” and while it’s easier to find then ever before, it’s still relatively difficult.

      4. Remember, HM, there’s no brutality that darkies don’t deserve. Aren’t you people all in rape gangs and shit?

        1. That’s all Muslims, dumbass.

          1. SHUT UP CUCK

            1. WHYCOME RAISIN HARN’T REPORTED ON MUSLAMS SPEEDING OVER THE BORDER RAPES AIN’T

            2. I’m confused, whose wife am I screwing today?

              1. I believe that there was some talk of Nicole’s mom.

                1. As long as that’s where she got dat ass from.

  5. I wonder how many of the people who sneered at the suggestion that maybe we shouldn’t let cops jack people up for victimless crimes such as selling loose cigarettes will sneer at this report.

    1. Check under the seat cushions!

  6. So first of all, my pro-forma agreement with everyone that seat belt laws are stupid.

    As far as racism goes, is there some grand scheme to persecute blacks by fining them for seat belt violations? As much as I am against seat belt laws, this sounds more like an excuse to pull people over and see if they catch them for drugs (or other crime). And therefore going after blacks more because statistically the cops are more likely to find evidence of crime?

    1. In other words, at root here isn’t the stupid seat belt laws themselves, as much as it is simpler another excuse for cops to pull people over to try to find worse things.

      1. Right, an excuse for cops to pull over certain kinds of people to look for evidence of crimes that are already disproportionately enforced against those same people.

        1. Surely it is because they deserve it due to genetics, and not that they are a vulnerable target demographic.

          1. Look Hamster, its not because lawmakers pass laws to give cops in heavily patrolled neighborhoods every pretense to harass and arrest people who lack the resources and wherewithal to defend themselves. It’s just that black people are naturally more criminal, okay?

          2. Cops aren’t predatory bullies looking for easy victims to shake down or anything. No, that has nothing to do with anything, of course.

            1. Daniel Holtzclaw went after black women because they’re bad. Sexy, sexy bad. Asking for it, really, wandering around being all bad.

              We cannot distort this with asking about other motives. Let’s just focus on what we know. Those women were criminals. End of cognitive thought story.

            2. ^ this is what I agree with. And they are gonna shake down who they think are gonna have stuff to shake down, not the guy driving to the country club….

              1. More like they are going to shakedown the people who do not have the resources to fight back, i.e. stop and frisk in New York.

  7. I’m anti seatbelt laws because not wearing a seatbelt is Darwinism in action. A little chlorine to remove the stupid germs from the gene pool if you will

    1. As my high school politics teacher said, “If I want to take MY face and smash it into MY windshield, who is the Government to tell me I can’t??”

  8. If there were no racial component involved, it is highly unlikely the ACLU would give a rip about seatbelt tickets.

    If you are a cop, and you write people tickets for this, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. No real American would do this to their fellow citizen. Stay away from me and my family. I can live just fine without your “protect and serve” nonsense.

    1. Government is omnibenevolent unless we’re talking about identity categories or Team Red’s foreign policy.

    2. You seem to be under the impression that the job of law enforcement is to enforce the law. It is not. It is to make people do whatever you tell them to do, and use violence on them if they do not immediately obey. The law is the excuse.

      So it is no surprise that the most disgusting and immoral among us are attracted to that profession.

  9. Seatbelts save lives, period. Anyone who doesn’t wear a seatbelt should have to pay the government more money. It is logic.

    Anecdotally, the last two times I’ve been in traffic court the only people who seem to have been ticketed for seatbelt violations did not have white skin.

  10. What I have seen increasing use of are those electronic message boards spanning our interstates, and the HECTORING I’m receiving because of them. “Click it or ticket” and “DUI – don’t do it” and “Texting is not worth your life.” Next, they’ll be telling me to be sure to floss.

    1. Don’t drop the soap
      Suck it, don’t just lick it
      smear the cheese, smear it

    2. My favorite law is the New York State “move over” law, which states that a driver has to move over, or slowdown, when a tow truck, maintenance vehicle, or police officer is on the shoulder or has their lights flashing.

      1. A lot of states have that law now, including mine (Florida). A year or two ago I was in the slow lane when a state patrolman leapt out of his car — INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE — and slammed his door shut before walking up to the car he’d pulled over. No evidence that he had an attitude problem, though; no evidence whatsoever.

        1. It’s just completely arbitrary, and especially dangerous while on a busy interstate.

          1. 1. If safety is the concern, why not make the law state that you need to slow down or pull over whenever ANY car is in the emergency lane? Why only government vehicles?

            2. I will not be surprised if, someday, a study is published that shows more people die when nervous nellies swerve into the fast lane than ever died because they were in the slow lane and hit someone.

    3. “Drive hammered, get nailed” is my favorite. Okay, so if I drive just a little over the limit I’m probably okay, yeah?

      1. No, no, then you’re covered by “drive sober or get pulled over” and “buzzed driving is drunk driving”. They thought of everything.

      2. They had this gem in MD over the Xmas holiday:

        SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS HOLIDAY AND NOT IN JAIL
        DRIVER SOBER

        Obnoxious cunts.

    4. I often drive by an Ad Council ad on the Ohio Turnpike that tells me to brush my teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Thanks, Ad Council.

      1. No, no, Thank you. You paid for it.

  11. in the other 18, police need an independent reason to pull a car over, after which they can write a seat belt citation if it is justified

    Make that 17. NH still has no seatbelt law for adults. Live Free and Die, motherfuckers!

    1. Yeah, but using a cell phone while driving is a primary offense.

      1. Yeah, that was disappointing. But at least the idea behind those laws is to protect other people from irresponsible drivers, which is at least more valid than protecting people from their own choices.

        1. Isn’t it “Live free OR die”, Zeb? OR did you mean that in the “Live free or FUCK OFF , ASSHOLES!!” sense?

          1. It is. It was an attempted joke.

  12. Interesting that nowhere in the article does it mention that the Orange County Sheriff is black.

      1. That song is MORE relevant now than when it came out!!

  13. Solution: Ban the hyper-melanined from driving. Just increase public transportation for those people.

  14. What Reason has taught me: Assuming racial bigotry among cops with minimal evidence that an issue is caused by bigotry is completely reasonable and not based on stereotyping. However, asserting that it is possible (though not proven and racism could be a component) that a higher percentage of African Americans break traffic laws which results in the disparity is the result of your ingrained hatred of blacks. Make sure to throw in snide references to “darkies” too, just to drive home the fact that any disagreement on this point is proof of race hatred.

    Oh, want to know another reason racial disparities might occur? Where people live. African Americans are more likely to live in urban areas with higher police presences whereas whites are more likely to live in rural and suburban areas. This means whites live in places where a cop might never even see them breaking traffic laws, which is less likely in the urban areas where African Americans tend to live. Therefore, geographical location might mean more blacks are going to get pulled over due to stronger police presences in urban environments.

    I’m sure pointing out that possibility proves I’m a racist too though, so fuck it.

    1. RACIST!

    2. Also, what’s the disparity between whites and Hispanics? I ask because are all these racist cops just racist against blacks but not against Hispanics? Surely we should look at OTHER racial disparities because that would give us a more complete view of what is going on. If there is not much difference between Hispanics and whites, then it is likely that this isn’t caused by racism because there aren’t many black haters who don’t also dislike Hispanic people. Regardless, my only argument is that this evidence is insufficient to prove racism, that there are other likely possibilities as to the reason for the disparity, and that we should avoid making assumptions as to the reason merely because they fit Reason’s anti-cop biases (biases which I happen to share, btw).

      Yeah, clearly I just hate ‘the darkies.’

    3. Why can’t racism be an explanation? These things have been seriously researched, and “big cop presence” hardly accounts for all the disparities.

      If blacks live in places with more of a police presence, shouldn’t crime be lower there? Because if all it means is more blacks are arrested, how is that not targeting them on race anyway?

      1. THANK GOD THE VOICE OF REASON HAS ARRIVED TO LEND HIS LOGIC TO THIS DEBATE!!!!

      2. Why can’t racism be an explanation?

        Because things in the universe that exist outside of your head are more complicated than that.

        1. You mean because you have a bizarre problem with admitting that there might be a racist white person somewhere out there.

          1. Or I have a bizarre problem with admitting that all problems for all victims groups everywhere and always boil down to racist white people.

          2. “there might be a racist white person somewhere out there” ? “any observed disparity between the races is explained by racism”

      3. “Why can’t racism be an explanation? These things have been seriously researched, and “big cop presence” hardly accounts for all the disparities.”

        You have to be kidding me.

        From my post YOU’RE RESPONDING TO:

        “(though not proven and RACISM COULD BE A COMPONENT)”

        I readily acknowledge it is a possibility. In fact, it’s possible racial stereotyping IN CONJUNCTION with actual differences in behavior is the cause of the difference.

        The issue is that a disparity in a particular crime is not proof that the cops are being racists since we do not know whether or not there are actual differences in behavior which the rates of ticketing merely reflect. I also find it amazing that making blanket assumptions about cops being racist is okay, but making a very qualified argument that a higher percentage of African Americans may be breaking the law is not. This confuses me.

        Reason does seem very schizophrenic about when stereotyping is cool.

        1. The article pretty clearly states that while blacks have a 7% higher rate than whites of not using seatbelts, their citation rate is 100%?300% higher than whites.

          Of course, people who care about these things might note that it doesn’t really matter what’s going on inside the heads of cops, as the law is plainly racist in application. Whatever caused it in the first place, that’s the actual problem.

          1. And how did the article reach the conclusion that “blacks have a 7% higher rate than whites of not using seatbelts”? From “Florida survey data,” which sounds to me like researchers sent out questionnaires and asked people questions like “Do you regularly fasten your seat belts?” “During the past 10 automobile trips you made, how many times did you fasten your seat belt?”, and “Do you identify as white/Caucasian, black/African American, Asian, Native American/American Indian, or other?” In other words, self-reporting. That being the case, I’m surprised that there’s a discrepancy as large as 7%.

        2. I also find it amazing that making blanket assumptions about cops being racist is okay, but making a very qualified argument that a higher percentage of African Americans may be breaking the law is not. This confuses me.

          Allow me to elucidate. You appear to think you have a good bead on the motivation behind my thoughts, and you are wrong.

          I am not making any assumptions about the racism of cops, or anyone in particular in the justice system. I am making an assertion that the exploitation of vulnerable target demographics is a known factor often discounted.

          There have been numerous instances cited throughout the thread (Ferguson, stop-and-frisk, Daniel Holtzclaw) of the justice system and those within its tender inner circle abusing citizens because of their vulnerability. We can discuss how much melanin plays a role in that vulnerability and why, but it isn’t the melanin that was the predominant factor in attracting predatory interests. It was the lack of ability to fight back.

    4. African Americans are more likely to live in urban areas with higher police presences whereas whites are more likely to live in rural and suburban areas. This means whites live in places where a cop might never even see them breaking traffic laws, which is less likely in the urban areas where African Americans tend to live. Therefore, geographical location might mean more blacks are going to get pulled over due to stronger police presences in urban environments.

      Wonder why there’s a higher police presence in the places black people live.

      1. Nothing to do with the astoundingly high homicide rates in those areas. Because we all know that black people are always being framed for murdering other black people pretty much all of the time.

      2. FUCKING RACISM IS WHY!!!

        1. Exactly. Though of course if there weren’t as many cops, that would be the result of racism as well, because The Man just doesn’t care about black lives.

      3. Wonder why there’s a higher police presence in the places black people live.

        The voters* want it that way?

        * = Often not a representative sample of the residents

  15. Why the fuck does it matter who gets targeted more by a law that shouldn’t exist?

    1. Because many laws that shouldn’t exist are created to target disfavored groups and remain on the books because favored groups don’t think they’re a big deal.

      1. What if black people received more citations for not shoveling the snow off their side walks? Would that make you reevaluate the efficacy of your beloved snow free sidewalk law?

        1. “reevaluate the efficacy”

          The only comment I made about the efficacy of such laws was that there isn’t much. Sorry it hurts your feelings that I believe there is a no-shit safety issue involved and that people who don’t shovel the sidewalk are dickbags who deserve a brick through their window.

          1. people who don’t shovel the sidewalk are dickbags who deserve a brick through their window

            Trying to throw a brick while standing on an unshoveled sidewalk may do more harm to you than the window you are aiming at…

      2. People like to see other people fucked with. News at eleven.

  16. If there are twice as many blacks than whites getting tickets per 100,000 people and blacks are only 13% of the population then isn’t the proportion of black people getting tickets actually many times higher than for whites?

    1. If there are twice as many blacks than whites getting tickets per 100,000 people and blacks are only 13% of the population then isn’t the proportion of black people getting tickets actually many times higher than for whites?

      “group X is Y at a rate of Z per 100,000 [members of group X]”

      The latter part of the formulation is generally implied

    2. If my previous argument isn’t convincing, then:

      The report also notes that blacks accounted for 13.5 percent of resident drivers but 22 percent of seat belt tickets that year

      Suppose there are 100,000 resident drivers and 1,000 of them get ticketed. Then the chance of a black person getting ticketed is 220/13,500 or about 1,600 per 100,000, while the chance of a white person getting ticketed is 780/86,500 or about 900 per 100,000.

      As you can see, these numbers aren’t too far off from the other figures reported in the article, but the disparity is not “many times higher”.

      1. … conversely, if you interpreted “per 100,000” as “per 100,000 members of the general population”, then the numbers would be

        black = 220 per 100,000
        white = 780 per 100,000

        1. According to Wikipedia’s Demographics of Florida page the population is only 60% white.

          If the citation rate per 100,000 people is 1,821 for blacks vs. 970 for whites and blacks account for 13.5% of the population and whites account for 60% then 1,821 blacks of a population of 13.5% of 100,000 = 1,821 citations for 13,500 people while for white 970 citations for 60% of 100,000 people = 970 citations for 60,000 people, so 13.5% of blacks got a seatbelt ticket versus 1.6% of whites or like 8:1.

          You’re right, though, if it’s 1,821 blacks per 100,000 blacks, but it’s it’s 1,821 blacks per 100,000 people independent of race then the ratio of blacks getting tickets is much higher.

          1. It was careless of me to conflate “not black” with “white”, but the resident driving population of Florida is not 27% Asian or Native American.

  17. That escalated quickly.

  18. Although Florida survey data indicate that blacks are slightly less likely to buckle up than whites, the difference is only 7 percent, so it does not come close to accounting for the 100 percent difference in seat belt citation rates.

    And how was that survey data obtained? By asking blacks and whites whether they routinely fasten their seat belts?

    Yeah, I have a lot of trust in those survey results.

  19. There is a problem with the argument the ACLU offers. One likely way for someone to get ticketed for not wearing his seatbelt is because he has been pulled over for something else. So in order to support their argument, they have to show that blacks are not significantly more likely than whites to violate traffic laws in other ways.

    It might well be true, but one can’t simply assume it.

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