It makes sense that traffic stops often become the focal point for allegations of racial profiling. The enforcement of some traffic laws can be nebulous and discretionary, and stops tend to be the most frequent contact between the public and police.
Here’s a guide to the law on traffic stops:
When can the cops pull me over?
The cops can pull you over when they believe you’ve done something wrong.
That means they can identify you’ve violated one of the innumerable provisions of the California Vehicle Code. That can run the gamut from speeding, neglecting to use a turn signal, running a red light or driving with a broken taillight.
Or, the police need to have received a tip or enough other information about the particular characteristics of a person or vehicle potentially involved in a crime to justify pulling you over without having committed a crime in front of them.
For instance, if police have a description of a criminal suspect who is young, white, male, tall, wearing a baseball jacket and cap in a particular neighborhood, they should be within their rights to pull someone over who fits that profile.
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i got pull over 2 mouths ago and did not have my license or registration for my car, but he let me off with a wondering , so know he stop me again but this time the car was register but i still did not have my licenses,
and the reason he stop me was because he remember me, just wandering was that a reason why i should gotten pull over and ginning me a ticket?
Speeding is one thing - that's something that can be measured at least and has a tangible effect on safety. What about all the other "crimes", like turn signals? My son has gotten NUMEROUS tickets over the past year for all these crazy things (he's 24 now). Muffler violation (driving my car to pick up some presents on Christmas Eve, no less), turn signal, unsafe road entry, yada, yada. You couldn't get this many tickets if you tried. About every 2 months or less he's gotten something. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars in fines. I know he's being profiled, now how to prove it.
So what about random checkpoints where drivers have done nothing wrong? Where's the ACLU on that one? I guess they're just not interested unless there's a racial component to exploit.
@Mike Delahunt On a DUI checkpoint, it is all fine as long as officers pull over every race equally and treat them equally. They tend NOT to. When they pull over a minority they act differently, treat us differently, even talk to us differently, with an attitude that they ASSUME we're doing something wrong. White female lawyers who get pulled over for minor little things get a better tone of voice from the officer than they way they talk to minorities. Different treatment of the person they pull over as soon as they see the skin color, that's what makes the difference.
@Bit-watcher And even if you do these things, if you're a minority they will find some other minute little trivial reason to pull you over. They will dig to the back of the law books from decades ago if they have to, to find some obscure little "violation" you've allegedly committed.
Speed limits are set lower than the average speed just so cops will have a reason to pull anyone over they want, and if that doesn't work they can simply lie, the judge will always take a cops word over a civilians.
Cops can do whatever they want to and generally get away with it, and they do.
@Derek Hofmann Actually, Mr. Hofmann, after living in Germany for 20 years, I can tell you that there are speed limits on the Autobahn. The maximum speed is actually 160 kph, and slower speeds are frequently posted for dangerous curves, steep descents, and through populated areas such as from one end of a city to the other. In a very few areas you can exceed the 160 kph, but those routes and distances of those routes are very, very limited. Also, you also have stated the no passing rule exactly backwards. Passing is prohibited on the right, not the left in Germany. There are many, many rules for driving in Germany with over 90+ information signs that need to be learned such as when to pass or not. Right of way is the number one rule in Germany, and solves many issues while driving on the autobahn as well as off of the autobahn. Fines are very high in Germany, and with most Germans being very frugal, those are also a deterrent. First offenses run in the 500 - 750 Euro range, and often include confiscating the automobile immediately. That roughly translates according to today's exchange rate to $680 - $1020+ dollars, as well as towing and impound fees, court costs, lawyers, etc., added on top of those fines.
There is also a moral compass to the majority of the German population which is quite strong, that recognizes rules are there for a reason. I have held a United States Army Europe (USAREUR) driver's license, as well as a German driver's license. The Germans expect a far greater knowledge of one's automobile, as well as first aid. Both are tested. German highways, for the most part, are also highly engineered and very well maintained. Older roads are constantly being replaced and upgraded.
Stuart, speed limits don't apply on the Autobahn. One reason it's so safe is because they prohibit passing on the left, so everybody cruises in the right lane unless they need to pass someone. Would you be in favor of a similar law in the USA?
Derek, I would be in favor of no speed limits in many areas. Very crowded areas, it makes sense to have a speed limit. If, however, the driver is being safe, I don't see why it matters if they are going 75 or 85 mph.
My point was to point out that in an environment where there is no speed limit, there are actually less fatalities. This seems to indicate that speed limits, at least on highways, do not make the roads safer.
On a well-designed grade-separated highway like the Autobahn, with laws and enforcement that keep slow moving vehicles to the right like in Europe, and laws prohibiting running out of gas like on the Autobahn, it can be safe to drive at faster speeds. But those conditions don't all exist here in California.
"The 85% rule is well founded, and not followed here because of revenue and right to harass that artificially low speed limits afford the cops."
Where's your evidence of this? What figures have you seen about the city's revenue from speeding tickets? What suggests to you that cops harass those who drive faster than "artificially low speed limits"? Is your evidence anecdotal? Have you often been pulled over yourself for this?
Without police enforcement, the average driving speed is set by people who overestimate their abilities. Therefore, speed limits are set lower than what people who overestimate their abilities want to drive, which is how it should be.
Derek, doesn't the fact that the Autobahn in Germany is far safer than the roads in the USA undermine the premise of your argument? Check the deaths per billion KMs driven. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_autobahns#SafetyGerman autobahns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_autobahns#SafetyThe German autobahns ( German: Autobahn, plural Autobahnen ) form the federal controlled-access highway system in Germany. The official German term is Bundesautobahn (plural Bundesautobahnen , abbreviated BAB), which translates as "federal motorway"....
Nonsense, the study you linked to has nothing to do with driving speeds, it just has to do with people not being willing to admit they are below average.
Of course if someones main purpose is to simply be anti car they can post all kinds of silly stuff...
The 85% rule is well founded, and not followed here because of revenue and right to harass that artificially low speed limits afford the cops.
Gosh Randy, how great a news site VOSD would be if you applied the standards of critical reporting you are demanding of me to your own work!
Look at California's own chapter 2b of MUTCD 2003 California Supplement for what they say about 85% and speed traps, then go take your own traffic survey and tell me what you find. Get the heck out of the peanut section and be that investigative reporter SD needs.
As far as me being pulled over, I am neither a black guy driving an expensive car, a druggie looking guy in a beater or a hot girl, so I don't get pulled over very often, even though I do exceed the speed limit keeping up with the flow all the time. Go figure.
@Jim Jones Right on Brother
@Derek Hofmann If they prohibit passing on the left and everyone drives in the right lane, no one ever passes anyone.