After a traffic stop, Illinois minority drivers are more likely to get handed a ticket and their vehicles are more likely to get searched, says a study by the state transportation department reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. The study of all 2010 traffic stops showed that white drivers who were stopped got tickets 55 percent of the time, while minority motorists who were stopped got tickets 63 percent of the time. Chicago cops appeared to be more even-handed, dishing out tickets to 65 percent of both white and minority motorists who were stopped.
The study showed that consent searches were involved in fewerthan 1 percent of all traffic stops. However, statewide, minority drivers were nearly twice as likely to undergo such searches. In Chicago the disparity was much greater, with minority drivers six times more likely to be searched than white motorists. In a such a search, the police officer typically does not have probable cause to make an involuntary search and so requests the driver's permission, which the data shows is granted more than 95 percent of the time. The new data prompted the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union to add to a complaint it filed in June with the Justice Department, requesting an investigation into how the Illinois State Police handle searches.