Study: Black drivers almost three times as likely to get pulled over in Illinois



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(WEEK) — A recently released study says African-American drivers are nearly three times as likely to get pulled over than their white counterparts.

ACLU Illinois Director of Communications Ed Yohnka says the trend isn’t a new problem.

“The trend is always the same,” Yohnka said. “Black drivers are stopped more often than white drivers.”

The study has been compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation annually since 2004. An Illinois law requires law enforcement collect data about every person they stop and report it.

“We know we have an issue,” Yohnka said. “We have a measurement to fix it, It is a matter of taking the data and now using it to address concerns in various communities.”

The study measures traffic stops proportional to demographics and population. Statewide, African-Americans are 2.76 times more likely to get stopped compared to their white counterparts. But in Central Illinois, that ratio is sometimes higher.

In Peoria, African-American drivers are over four times as likely to face a traffic stop. In Bloomington, it’s six times as likely. In Washington, Morton and Creve Coeur, the numbers are even higher.

Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson with the Bloomington-Normal NAACP says she isn’t surprised by the data in the study. She says fixing the problem starts by having conversations with police chiefs.

“Not only does it start there with the chief of police, but it does involve training,” Campbell-Jackson said. “It does involve sensitivity training. We need to be realistic about what’s going on.”

The Normal Police Department did note in the study that only 23 percent of traffic stops were residents of Normal, citing a “unique transient driving population” because of interstate highways that is skewing data.

“The Department remains committed to the use of sound police strategies based on probable cause and the judicious use of police discretion,” the statement from the Normal Police Department says.

We reached out to and did not hear back from the Peoria and Bloomington Police Departments for this story.

To view the raw study data in its entirety, click here.

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