It’s a situation often referred to as DWB – Driving While Black.
The 2008 edition of the Annual Report on Vehicle Stops , released by Attorney General Chris Koster, indicates black drivers are still being stopped and searched at higher rates than are whites and Hispanics. This year’s analysis is based on more than 1.6 million traffic stops by 639 law enforcement agencies, including racial and ethnic information about drivers who were stopped.
"The report indicates that issues related to disparities in traffic stops do remain," Koster told the Missourinet. "And that’s why it’s important to conduct this audit annually because it’s important to continue to sensitize people to the issue and to continue with the training that we hope improves this situation over time."
Koster acknowledges the stop rate has remained consistent in recent years.
"It has held constant over the last couple of years," said Koster. "The reason for a report like this is to maintain sensitivity in the law enforcement community and knowledge in the community at large, that this is an issue. I think every Missouri citizen, whether you’re inside or outside of law enforcement, wants to understand and improve this situation, to acknowledge that there is truth behind it, and to work toward improving the situation."
Statewide data indicate black drivers were 67 percent more likely than Hispanic drivers to be stopped in 2008, despite being 15 percent less likely to be arrested following the stop.