Do Women Get a Break When Stopped by Police?

by Categorized: Data, Public Safety Date:

The Courant’s recent report revealing that black and Hispanic drivers in Connecticut were significantly more likely to receive a citation after a traffic stop compared to whites pulled over for the same offense brought a strong response from readers. Many said it merely confirmed what they have known for years, and many others said it was pure bunk and that unrelated factors not captured by the data completely explain the discrepancy.

But while issues of race and ethnicity had opinions split and emotions running high, this finding from the same data might be less controversial: As many have expected, women have it a little easier when they see the flashing lights in the rear view mirror.

From running stop signs to minor equipment problems, women were typically less likely to receive a ticket than men stopped for the same violation. The disparity was fairly slight for many moving violations, but the gap widened for offenses in which police generally have more discretion. For example, running a red light led to a ticket for 29 percent of men stopped, but only 26 percent of women. For an improper tail light, the discrepancy was far larger: 9 percent of men ended up with a ticket, compared to 4 percent of women. (Note to junior statisticians: Yes, the numbers are statistically significant.)

Women did not get a break in every category of violation. Talking on a cell phone led to tickets for 46 percent of men and 46 percent of women. And men were only slightly more likely to get a ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt, but the gap could have been caused by statistical chance.

As with the data on race and ethnicity, the same caveats apply: The forms used by police during traffic stops identify only the violation that led to the stop. It is possible that a motorist was pulled over for one offense, but ultimately ticketed for a different, more serious violation. The forms also do not identify a motorist’s driving record, which could affect whether a ticket was issued.

Click here or on the small chart above to see the gender gap across a variety of violations.

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31 thoughts on “Do Women Get a Break When Stopped by Police?

    1. b000ja

      Here we go again, so, in your eyes black women got were let off with no ticket because they were black, right? Get a life…

      1. Gordon

        haha, no.
        But i would like to know how often “attractive” woman are let off vs unattractive. That is where the story is, Attractive White Woman, prob ticketed like only 5% of the time.

  1. Mama

    Less than half of those caught talking on a cell phone are ticketed? Only 26% of those caught runnign a running red light? Why are such a small percentage of people given tickets period?

    1. CGB

      Maybe because most cops, and I stress most, are people too and know the impact of tickets for the smaller violations.

    2. Schmedley

      Many cops do not enjoy traffic enforcement very much. They feel like tax collectors. Law enforcement is one thing but extortionate fines are another.

      1. Rich Grog

        No, they don’t feel like “tax collectors.” If I heard a cop say that, I’d tell them to just do their job. That’s what they’re getting paid for.

  2. Schmedley

    “As with the data on race and ethnicity, the same caveats apply: The forms used by police during traffic stops identify only the violation that led to the stop. It is possible that a motorist was pulled over for one offense, but ultimately ticketed for a different, more serious violation. The forms also do not identify a motorist’s driving record, which could affect whether a ticket was issued.”

    Ahhhhhhhhh…………the Courant reporters finally get it.

  3. John D

    This racial profiling complaining is getting old. The bottom line is the police have a job to do and if anyone is pulled over for any justifiable reason they need to suffer the consequences.It seems that in our politically correct world anytime a minority does not follow the law or rules of society they yell racial profiling and the media just adds to the problem.I personally don’t care what color or ethnic background u are, none should be excused if they break the law.As for woman,I see mostly woman every time I’m on the road just blatantly texting and talking on cell phones.If the law can’t be uniformly enforced for all then why have it.

  4. Deanna

    Insignificant dribble at the most – fluff piece – page filler, capitalizing on previous attention getting fluff pieces.

    As female driver – I have gotten and gotten out of tickets – your best bet to not getting a ticket is to be pleasant, friendly, respectful and witty (but not overly). Some of us got it, some of us don’t.

    AND if that doesn’t work – take it to court – fix the issue that got you the ticket if possible and they will let you go. You may not no how the system works, but you can work the system 🙂

  5. CY

    So, John D. you see no Merit in the issues at hand with being specifically targeted to being a Minority case and point Father Manship’s video. Or are you related to ostrich’s to some extent. Please do yourself and most on your side of the argument.
    Take your heads OUT of the Sand!
    We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
    Something to reconsider AGAIN! Guess you didn’t get that Memo, Uh?

    1. Rich Grog

      Police “specifically” target criminals, regardless of race. Take your head out of you posterior end. It’s interesting how the race issue is so prevalent in CT as opposed to the south. It is obvious that Kauffman has a vendetta with the police. People like you get all spun up with race because you are so righteous and such an upstanding citizen. You are such a stooge.

  6. Rich Grog

    Give this subject a rest! So females get less tickets than males. A police officer can use his discretion when deciding to write a ticket. I’m tired of the Courant trying to make the police look like the bad guys in this story. Give it a rest. These stats are meaningless. People talk themselves into and out of tickets every day. It’s obvious Kauffman has a personal vendetta with the police.

  7. STEVE

    they ought to do a survey of how many white people have unregistered cars or no insurance, or outstanding warrants, vs minorities

  8. Mr. Camo

    Why don’t I get a ticket ?
    I’m 50 , male , and white , so why don’t I get ticketed when I get pulled over coming home from work at 3:30 a.m. ?
    I drive an old beater truck that like to burn out light bulbs and get pulled over once in a while by a suburban police force with a “reputation” for being tough .

    Doubtless it helps that I’m in my home town , but I think it’s more than that .
    It’s something called common sense .
    The Officer is doing what my taxes pay them to do , police my town .
    I don’t argue , I can do that in court if I needed .
    Keeping the attitude that the cop is not on a personal vendetta and remaining calm and respectful can win over all but the nastiest of personalities .

    Did I mention that I tend to have one or more shotguns in my old rattletrap ?
    Or that more than one cop , male and female , has asked if I have weapons in my vehicle ?
    And that when they do I always answer “yes” ?

    These questions , my answers and attitude , and the cops training have led to a few interesting roadside conversations , but no actual tickets .

    You don’t need to be pretty or kiss any culo , just being friendly , honest , and respectful can work wonders .

  9. ACR

    Bob asked:
    Is the Courant collaborating with The Onion’s Center for Figuring Out Really Obvious Things?

    The reality of any gender based citation difference is most likely due the fact that women tend to present themselves in a more courteous fashion than most males.
    Your left rear tail light is out.
    WomanOh my goodness it is?

    The study also fails to note those vehicles and drivers that have become virtually invisible to law enforcement.
    I’ve noticed that now that I drive a grey minivan and have hair to match, no one even notices me anymore.

  10. Andy

    I was on a ride along with the Middletown police & witnessed a bit of racial profiling. The cruiser was following going down the road, behind a car driven by a black male. Suddenly, a car, driven by a white male, pulled out of a samll plaza right in front of the car ahead of us, forcing the driver to hit his brakes to avoid an accident. Instead of putting on the lights & siren & going after the white driver who nearly caused an accident, the officer I was with ran the plate number of the black driver instead. I wondered why he was running a check on the driver who was not at fault, but later realized it was because of his color. I by the way am white.

  11. Republican

    Matthew Kauffman must be a real moron to try and make these stats show something important when he is not out there doing the job. You want to investigate something that is a burden on the state Matt? Investigate how many people are collecting state aid and driving a Lexus, Mercedez, or some other vehicle that is not even logical for the blue collar working man or women. Get a life Matt and write about something with facts you can put your finger on other than just numbers! Do your homework by getting dirty, not sitting behind a desk comparing numbers you know nothing about! Your not a reporter reporting facts your a pot stir!

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