Black drivers in California arrested more often for unpaid tickets

The findings come amid a national conversation around racial discrimination in policing sparked in the summer of 2014 over high-profile police killings of unarmed black men.

News Story Curtis Skinner
Reuters News Service
April 11, 2016

Tags: Driver's license suspension, Fines and Fees, Minorities: Racial/Ethnic

Organizations mentioned/involved: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR)


The report found a direct correlation between both race and poverty and driver’s license suspensions stemming from failure to pay a ticket or appear in court.

“Our new data shows statistically significant racial and socioeconomic disparities,” said the group, Back on the Road California.

In San Francisco, African-Americans made up 6 percent of the population, but accounted for 49 percent of the arrests for failure to pay fines or appear in court, the study found.

In Los Angeles County, the data showed black people comprised 9 percent of the population but nearly a third of those arrested for driving with suspended licenses. The group was unable to secure comparable data from the Los Angeles Police Department.