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FAQ

North Carolina Traffic Stop Statistics: Frequently Asked Questions
 
Q:   What law enforcement agencies report traffic stop data?
Under North Carolina state law, the following agencies report their traffic stops: all state law enforcement officers; law enforcement officers employed by county sheriffs or county police departments; law enforcement officers employed by police departments in cities and towns with a population of 10,000 or more persons; law enforcement officers employed by police departments in cities and towns employing five or more full-time sworn officers for every 1,000 people.
 
Q:    When did North Carolina start collecting traffic stop data?
In April 1999, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 76 which required traffic stop statistics be collected for State law enforcement officers effective as of January 1, 2000.  The General Assembly later expanded this requirement to include local law enforcement officers employed by all 100 county Sheriffs' Offices and almost all police departments effective as of January 1, 2002. The legislation was enacted into law as NCGS 114-10.01.  In August 2009, the law was amended with two new sections which become effective as of January 1, 2010.  The amended statute can be reviewed here.
 
Q:    How soon can I see traffic stop data for this month?
Traffic Stop Statistics are available to the public 30 days after the close of the previous month.  For example,  demographic data from traffic stops made in the July would be available in September.
 
Q:    Why aren’t there many or any traffic stops reported by a law enforcement agency for a certain month?
The number of traffic stops made by an agency may vary greatly from month to month.  An agency may report few or no traffic stops for a given month.  Also, an agency may not meet the statutory requirement to report traffic stops for a specific year.
 
Q:    What kinds of traffic stop statistics are available on this Web site?
Initial Purpose of Traffic Stops by Driver's Sex, Race and Ethnicity - Displays statistics based on the Initial Purpose of the Traffic Stop (Speed Limit Violation, Stop Light/Sign Violation, Driving While Impaired, Safe Movement Violation, Vehicle Equipment Violation, Vehicle Regulatory Violation, Seat Belt Violation, Other Motor Vehicle Violation, or Investigation); by Driver's Sex, Race, and Ethnicity.
 
Initial Purpose of Traffic Stop by Driver's Age - Displays statistics based on the Initial Purpose of the Traffic Stop by Driver's Age (Broken down by: Under 20, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49, 50-59, and over 59).
 
Initial Purpose of Traffic Stop by Enforcement Action - Displays statistics based on the Initial Purpose of the Traffic Stop by Enforcement Action Taken as a Result of the Stop (Verbal Warning, Written Warning, Citation Issued, On-View Arrest, or No Action Taken).
 
Initial Purpose of Traffic Stop by Physical Resistance Encountered - Displays statistics based on the Initial Purpose of the Traffic Stop by Physical Resistance Encountered (Officer encountered physical resistance, Officer engaged in the use of force, Injuries occurred to the officer, Injuries occurred to the driver, Injuries occurred to the passenger).
 
Type of Search by Basis for Search - Displays statistics based on Type of Search (Consent, Search Warrant, Probable Cause, Search Incident to Arrest, or Protective Frisk); by Basis for Search (Erratic/Suspicious Behavior, Observation of Suspected Contraband, Suspicious Movement, Informant's Tip, Other Official's Information, or Witness Observation).
 
Enforcement Action Taken by Driver's Sex, Race, and Ethnicity - Displays statistics based on Enforcement Action Taken (Verbal Warning, Written Warning, Citation Issued, On-View Arrest, or No Action Taken); by Driver's Sex, Race and Ethnicity.
 
Enforcement Action Taken by Driver's Age - Displays statistics based on Enforcement Action Taken by Driver's Age  (Broken down by: Under 20, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49, 50-59, and over 59).
 
Drivers and Passengers Search by Sex, Race and Ethnicity - Displays statistics based on Subject Searched (Driver, Passenger 1, Passenger 2, Passenger 3, and Passenger 4); by Sex, Race, and Ethnicity. This report will give the total searched, total stopped and percentage of people searched.