Taking cops out of making traffic stops makes so much sense. Too many police officers are white supremacist racists, just looking for an excuse to attack a person of color. As long as police departments don’t do background checks before officers are hired and trained, events of black citizens being shot will continue.
Get police out of the business of traffic stops
“Many of the deaths garnering media attention in recent years resulted from armed police officers enforcing traffic violations, even minor ones. A Minnesota police officer pulled over Philando Castile for a broken taillight, then fired seven shots at him. A Texas state trooper stopped Sandra Bland for not signaling when she changed lanes. Three days later, she was dead in a jail cell. About 11 percent of all fatal shootings by police in 2015 occurred during traffic stops; Black people accounted for a disproportionate share of those deaths.
The Supreme Court allowed police to use traffic violations as pretext for criminal law enforcement, but also it has said police have “unquestioned command of the situation” during a traffic stop, ratifying the aggression displayed by too many officers during stops.
In October 2020, Philadelphia City Council member Isaiah Thomas introduced the Driving Equality Bill, which would prohibit police from pulling vehicles over for traffic violations that do not pose an imminent “public safety risk.”
Get police out of the business of enforcing traffic laws. Rather than continuing to allow weaponized police officers with a tradition of anti-Black violence to enforce traffic laws, we should create dedicated traffic agencies whose sole mission is road safety.
These traffic safety agencies should rely on automation — including speed and red-light cameras. Although we must remain vigilant to ensure that these machines aren’t disproportionately placed in Black neighborhoods, at least we know cameras don’t demean, pepper spray, or kill.
These proposals inevitably spark some questions. Are unarmed workers equipped to handle the realities of traffic enforcement? Are they affordable? Will the public be safe if police can’t use traffic stops as a way to fight more serious crime?
The first thing to remember is that traffic enforcement is not as dangerous as we’ve been led to believe.
For those worried these proposals will hamper police enforcement of criminal law, research has shown that traffic stops aren’t a good way to solve more serious crime.
That said, we aren’t blind to the risks of this proposal. Traffic enforcement is the most common type of interaction between citizens and police, and it is hard to imagine ending it. But it is time to take some risks, because the status quo is untenable.”