North Carolina Highway Traffic Study, 2000-2001 (ICPSR 4078)
Principal Investigator(s): Zingraff, Matthew, North Carolina State University; Smith, William, North Carolina State University; Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald, North Carolina State University
This study investigated whether the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) practiced racial profiling. The NCSHP provided data on all vehicular stops (Parts 1 and 2), written warnings (Part 3), and citations (Part 4) its officers issued in 2000. This included data on what the stops or tickets were for, the race, sex, and age of the driver, and the make, model, and year of the car being driven. Data on accidents in 2000 (Part 5), also obtained from the NCSHP, were used to examine whether there were racial disparities in unsafe driving practices. These data included information about what caused the accident and the race, sex, and age of the driver. The NCSHP also supplied data on all officers who worked for the NCSHP in 2000 (Part 6), including their race, age, and rank. The data in Part 6 can be linked to the data in Parts 3 and 4. In addition, two surveys of North Carolina drivers were conducted to gather information on reported typical driving behaviors that may influence the probability of being stopped, and to gather information about stops conducted by law enforcement agencies across the state. One was conducted using a sample of North Carolina drivers who had recently renewed their licenses (Part 7), and the other used a sample of North Carolina drivers who were ticketed for speeding between June 1, 1999, and June 1, 2000 (Part 8).
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Zingraff, Matthew, William Smith, and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey. NORTH CAROLINA HIGHWAY TRAFFIC STUDY, 2000-2001. ICPSR04078-v1. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina University [producer], 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005-04-07. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04078.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04078.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (1999-MU-CX-0022)
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: driving habits, highways, police, racial discrimination, traffic accidents, traffic offenses
Smallest Geographic Unit: county
Geographic Coverage: North Carolina, United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: Parts 1 and 2: vehicular stops, Part 3: written warnings, Part 4: citations, Part 5: accidents, Parts 6-8: individuals.
Universe: Part 1: All vehicular stops initiated by the NCSHP from January through July 2000. Part 2: All vehicular stops initiated by the NCSHP from August through December 2000. Part 3: All written warnings issued by the NCSHP in 2000. Part 4: All citations issued by the NCSHP in 2000. Part 5: All accidents for which the NCSHP filed a report in 2000. Part 6: Officers in the NCSHP in 2000. Part 7: Licensed drivers in North Carolina. Part 8: North Carolina drivers who were ticketed for speeding between June 1, 1999, and June 1, 2000.
Data Types: Parts 1-6: administrative records data, Parts 7 and 8: survey data
Study Purpose: This study investigated whether the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) practiced racial profiling. The research aimed to answer four basic questions: (1) Do NCSHP troopers stop minorities, particularly African Americans, on the road at higher rates that they stop Whites? (2) Once stopped, do African Americans and Whites experience different rates for citations, written warnings, and searches? (3) What factors might account for highway stops? and (4) How do African Americans and other ethnic minorities experience and respond to traffic stops? and (5) Is there any racial disparity in violations of traffic laws?
Study Design: The project began in 1999 when the North Carolina State Legislature mandated that the NCSHP assemble data on the racial distribution of all vehicular stops initiated by officers. The NCSHP provided official data for the year 2000 on vehicular stops, written warnings, citations, and accidents. Part 1 consists of data on all stops between January and July 2000. Part 2 contains data on all stops between August and December 2000. Part 3 contains data on all written warnings issued between January and December 2000. Part 4 contains data on all citations issued between January and August 2000. Part 5 contains data from NCSHP accident files for all accidents that occurred in 2000. Part 6 contains all roster records of active and inactive officers of NCSHP in 2000. Part 7 contains data from a survey of 2,920 North Carolina licensed drivers, including 1,445 African Americans and 1,475 Whites. The survey was administered by the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University. The survey collected information on reported typical driving behaviors that may influence the probability of being stopped. In addition, the survey asked respondents whether they were stopped in the last year, why they were stopped, the outcome of the stop, and how they were treated. The survey was conducted by telephone between June 22, 2000, and March 20, 2001. Part 8 contains data from a survey of 605 North Carolina residents who were ticketed for speeding between June 1, 1999, and June 1, 2000. Interviews were conducted by the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University over telephone between July 2000 and March 2001. One week before the initial telephone contact attempt, letters were sent to each of the people in the sample. The letter explained that the survey focused on the driving experiences of people in North Carolina and their observations of other drivers on North Carolina roads.
Sample: Parts 1-6: Not applicable. Part 7: The survey sample was stratified by race. The sampling frame included White and African American drivers who had applied for or renewed their licenses in the previous six months. Part 8: The sample was drawn from a list of names provided by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. It was weighted in order to have approximately one-half African American respondents and one-half White respondents.
Data in Parts 1 through 6 were obtained from NCSHP records. Data in Parts 7 and 8 were obtained through surveys of North Carolina drivers.
Description of Variables: Variables in Part 1 include stop date, time, purpose, county, interstate number or road name where stop occurred, mile post where stop occurred, state where vehicle was registered, vehicle year, make, and model, driver age, sex, and gender, action taken by the officer, whether contraband was found if a search was performed, and the age, sex, and race of up to four passengers. Variables in Part 2 include stop date, time, officer action, and the city where the stop occurred. Variables in Part 3 include date of the violation, highway type, county, charge, and the offender's race and sex. Variables in Part 4 include county of violation, status of citation, type of accident, type of highway, specific highway where the offense occurred, date and time of the offense, the first two offense codes on the citation, charged speed, speed limit of zone, race and sex of the offender, state of the offender's driver's license, vehicle type, date scheduled for court, and the county where the case was heard. Variables in Part 5 include whether the record applies to a driver, occupant, or victim, date, time, and day of the week of the accident, county, specific highway accident occurred on, number of vehicles and people involved, number killed and injured, predominant development type of area, road features, type of road, crash type, contributing circumstances, vehicle maneuver that led to accident, object struck, type of vehicle, vehicle defects, speed limit, driver's race, sex, and age, whether driver intoxication was suspected, and occupants' race, sex, and age. Variables in Part 6 include officer's rank, race, age, county, whether officer was active, and what training the officer had completed. Variables in Part 7 include driver's birth year, race, and sex, number miles driven in a typical week, miles driven last year, how often the respondent drove on highways, questions about common driving habits, number of times police stopped to help respondent in the last year, times pulled over by police in the last year, make, model, and year of the car respondent drove most often, answers to questions about the last three times the respondent was pulled over in the last year, including car being driven, when stop occurred, type of road, type of officer, reason for stop, whether a ticket was received, and behavior of officer, number of times stopped in lifetime, experience of respondent's friends and family with being pulled over by the police, what types of people the respondent thought were most likely to get pulled over, respondent's confidence in the police, respondent's education, and whether respondent owned or rented. Variables in Part 8 include driver's birth year, sex, and race, number miles driven in a typical week, miles driven last year, how often the respondent drove on highways, whether respondent practiced a set of common driving habits, what types of people the respondent thought were most likely to get pulled over, number of times pulled over in last year, number of times pulled over in the last year for speeding, answers to questions about the last three times the respondent was pulled over for speeding in the last year, including car being driven, when the stop occurred, type of officer, speed officer said respondent was going, speed limit, and whether respondent was ticketed, respondent's education, and whether respondent owned or rented.
Response Rates: Parts 1-6: not applicable, Part 7: 59.1 percent, Part 8: 69.5 percent.
Presence of Common Scales: Several Likert-type scales were used in Parts 7 and 8.
Original ICPSR Release: 2005-04-07
- 2006-03-30 File UG4078.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
- 2006-03-30 File CQ4078.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
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