Unfair at Any Speed: How Traffic Stops Punish California’s Poor

Low-income drivers in over-policed black and Latino communities are in harm’s way of such punitive traffic fees and fines — and are at risk of losing their licenses, vehicles and jobs.

News Story (California)

Seth Sandronsky
Capital and Main (CA)
May 10, 2017

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


In California, where public transit is in short supply relative to demand, operating a car is basic to earning income. Seventy-eight percent of workers in the Golden State drive to and from work, according to Della-Piana.

“Once stopped, people of color are also more likely to be booked on arrests related to failure to appear or failure to pay,” the LCCR study further claimed. “The available county-level data of nine Bay Area municipalities shows that African-American people in particular are four to 16 times more likely to be booked on arrests related to failure to pay an infraction ticket,” Della-Piana said.

The LCCR surveyed Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties.