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2020 Traffic Stop Study Data shows Black drivers stopped more than white drivers

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A study released by the Illinois Department of Transportation has found that Black drivers in Illinois are 2.7 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers.

The data is contained in a report issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation earlier this summer, as mandated by the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act.  The Act requires all law enforcement officers in Illinois to record and report data about every motorist they stop, including the race of the motorist stopped, the reason for the stop and the outcome of the stop as well.  The act was originally sponsored by then-State Senator Barack Obama and made permanent in recent years. 

“Police supervisors from all parts of Illinois need to take a close look at this data,” said Rachel Murphy, staff attorney for the ACLU of Illinois, in a press release. “Police on the streets – in communities from Waukegan to Springfield, Peoria to Elgin – are far more likely to stop Black drivers than white drivers. These numbers persist year over year. It is time for police to take this data seriously and work with their communities to find solutions through training and oversight.”

According to the professionals who analyze the reported data, Black drivers are estimated to represent 13.9% of licensed drivers across Illinois, but comprise more than 38% of all traffic stops in Illinois during 2020. 

The statewide disparity is reflected in a number of communities:

  • Aurora: Black drivers are 11.5 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Belleville: Black drivers are 2.6 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Bloomington: Black drivers are 6.2 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Champaign: Black drivers are 4.8 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Chicago: Black drivers are 7 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Elgin: Black drivers are 7.8 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Moline: Black drivers are 2.9 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Normal: Black drivers are 4.4 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Peoria: Black drivers are 4.1 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Rockford: Black drivers are 2.5 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Springfield: Black drivers are 3.5 times more likely to be stopped by police;
  • Urbana: Black drivers are more than 5.1 times more likely to be stopped by police; and,  
  • Waukegan: Black drivers are 28 times more likely to be stopped by police.

“Leaders in all of these communities have this data – they reported it to the State,” added the ACLU’s Murphy.  “We urge them to seriously evaluate how their own management and oversight of their officers lead to this sort of disparity, putting Black drivers at risk each day in these communities.”

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