Traffic Safety Impacts of Policies that Reduce Police-Motorist Interactions

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There are a number of initiatives nationwide that have been designed to reduce, or have had the effect of reducing, motorists’ interactions with police officers. Examples include ending or limiting pretextual stops, restricting stops for equipment violations, reducing or eliminating department- or officer-level incentives for ticket revenue, and shifting enforcement of traffic laws more heavily toward automated traffic enforcement. These policies and practices may be motivated by diverse considerations ranging from public health and equity to prioritizing police resources in the face of staffing shortages.  

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is working with Preusser Research Group to conduct research that seeks to describe recently implemented changes to traffic stop policies and procedures designed to reduce officers’ interactions with motorists, and examine the effects of such policies and practices on traffic safety.

Project Goal and Plan

The goal of the proposed project is to examine the impact on key traffic safety outcomes of policies and procedures that reduce police-motorist interactions. The project will begin with a literature review and scan to identify agencies that recently implemented changes to traffic stop policies to limit officers’ interactions with motorists and describe these policies and associated practices. The project will then select several jurisdictions in which the traffic safety impacts of such policies will be evaluated.  


Lindsay Arnold

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety