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Officers Less Likely to Provide Reasons for Traffic Stops

May 30, 2023


Read time:

<5 mins
Close Up 'POLICE' Marking Written On The Back Of A Bulletproof Vest Worn By A French Police Officer

A new study that analyzed law enforcement encounters found that the first moments of police interactions with drivers can tell us what happens next—with officers often giving orders rather than providing reasons for traffic stops. A team of researchers from the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech University, and Stanford University concluded that stops with escalated outcomes (those ending in arrest, handcuffing, or a search) often originate in the earliest moments: the first 45 words spoken by the officer—or 27 seconds.

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