After three years of tracking every traffic stop and reporting each incident in detail, Illinois police have a mountain of data, a few clear trends in how drivers are treated and difficult questions. For the third year, police in 2006 pulled over about 2.5 million drivers. And just as in the first two years, minorities were stopped in larger percentages than driver population numbers would suggest, and were much more likely to be searched than whites, reports the Associated Press.
But it's not clear yet who will answer questions about the disparities and what might will be done to address them. A state panel created last year to review the results hasn't met because only a fraction of its members have been appointed. And police agencies and activist groups say there's little urgency to act immediately on widespread reforms. The Chicago lawmaker who pushed for the annual study – created by state lawmakers in 2003 to address complaints of racial bias – says it proves that racial profiling “is not a myth, that it actually does occur.” The 2006 numbers show that minorities were pulled over 32 percent of the time, although they account for about 28 percent of the driving population.