Breaking News
More () »

Pennsylvania State Police unveil traffic stop study

The report aims to examine whether any racial/ethnic disparities exist, builds trust with the public and identifies opportunities for improvement in policy/training.

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) presented findings from 2022's annual report on traffic stops initiated by troopers.

The report is in partnership with the National Policing Institute to improve public safety, transparency and policy. The unveiling of the 2022 traffic stop study took place at 9:30 a.m. on May 23 at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. 

According to the PSP Data Dashboard, Contact Data Reporting is a comprehensive traffic stop data collection designed to analyze demographic and other information from traffic stops to examine whether any racial or ethnic disparities exist, build trust with the public and identify opportunities for improvement in policy or training. 

The new study gathered information from more than 440,00 trooper-initiated traffic stops last year. Data showed that there was a 45 percent increase in the volume of traffic stops made.

Dr. Engel, Senior Vice President of the National Policing Institute said the study focused specifically on what happened after the traffic stop. Engel said, there were no racial or ethnic disparities when it came to the data. 

The 2022 Traffic Stop Data broke down into three parts: 

Driver Characteristics:

  • 78.5% White
  • 14.4% Black 
  • 1.8% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 0.3 American Indian

Reason for Stop:

  • 40.1% Speeding (avg. amount 21 mph over)
  • 26.8% Other Moving Violation
  • 18.8% Equipment/Inspection
  • 15.5% Registration
  • 4.8% License

Stop Outcomes:

  • 56.8% verbal/written warning
  • 57.0% citation
  • 4.6% arrest

"Legal variables we found very consistently are the strongest predictors of all post-stop outcomes, that includes citations, warning arrests, and also for searches. For the warning, citations, and arrest specifically-- there were no detectable substantive differences across racial and ethnic groups," said Dr. Engel.

Although when it came to search and seizures, the study states, "All 16 Troops and the two specialized units demonstrated statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in the rate of discretionary searches and in all cases, Black and Hispanic drivers experienced disproportionately more discretionary searches than White drivers."

A full breakdown of the data can be found here. 

This annual report comes after issues were found in the 2021 traffic stop study, according to the data dashboard. It states “as documented by the results of the data audit in Section 3 of the 2021 Annual Report prepared by the research team, the 2021 data collected had significant issues with reliability and validity that prevented any substantive analyses by the research team.” 

This resulted in the 2021 findings being a year-long pilot test to work out the process of collecting data and improving research both internally and by the research team. The initial data for 2022 has been released quarterly by officials who say this data is preliminary and subject to change. 

Although preliminary, the data shows that thousands of traffic stops were conducted throughout 2022. It also shows that the highest number of people who were stopped were white. 

The data goes into detail showing the time, place and reasoning for the stop. It also shows that speeding was among the highest reasoning for each stop throughout each quarter. 

Download the FOX43 app here. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out