Law enforcement has discretion when making decisions on when to pull drivers over, but there are some who believe a specific demographic of drivers may be unfairly targeted. Ohio police have long had the authority to stop a driver for minor infractions, including a broken taillight or having tinted windows. However, there is evidence that suggests a disproportionate number of drivers being stopped are individuals of color.
Possible unfair practices
Several Black drivers noted that frequent stops by law enforcement is simply a part of life. One individual estimates that he’s been pulled over for various alleged traffic violations approximately 15 times since he started driving. For Black drivers, interactions with law enforcement can be stressful occurrences, especially in situations during which they believe they are being targeted.
Some states have banned law enforcement for pulling drivers over for minor infractions for this reason. Implicit bias may play a role in some traffic stops, and Ohio lawmakers are looking to change the way police make some decisions. A careful look at the number of traffic tickets written since the beginning of 2020 in just one Ohio city revealed that 8,000 more black drivers received traffic tickets than white drivers.
Fighting a ticket
If a driver believes he or she received a ticket unfairly, there are options available to him or her. Fighting a ticket may be a beneficial way to confront bias in interactions with law enforcement, as well avoid any potential penalties one is facing. Traffic violations can be costly and inconvenient, but working with an experienced attorney may allow one to understand the legal options available.