Redesigning Public Safety: Traffic Safety


The United States experiences 50 percent more traffic crash deaths than similar high-income countries, although there is robust police enforcement of traffic laws.

Traffic stops are the most common reason for contact with the police in the United States, burdening Black drivers who disproportionately experience harassment and racial profiling. Along with being subject to biased stops, Black and Brown communities are more likely to be killed in traffic accidents due to a lack of investment in community-supported strategies to redesign traffic safety and reduce traffic collisions and deaths. In this report, the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) examines enforcement methods such as pretextual stops and financial enforcement that do not sufficiently address traffic fatalities. In addition, CPE provides recommendations to promote traffic safety and improve equity in policing that takes racial profiling and road safety infrastructure design into account.

You can read the full text here.


  • Ban police stops for low-level violations unrelated to traffic safety and prohibit officers from using traffic stops as a pretext for criminal investigation.
  • Invest in equitable infrastructure to reduce traffic accidents and prioritize disinvested neighborhoods.
  • Limit the use of fines and fees for traffic stops and remove financial incentives in traffic enforcement.
  • End debt-based driver’s license suspensions.
  • Pilot non-police alternatives for low-level traffic offenses.
  • Improve data collection and transparency regarding all traffic stops, searches, calls for service, and changes in traffic enforcement.
Hilary Rau, Scarlet Neath, Maya McDoom, & Charlotte Resing
Center for Policing Equity