Published on: Saturday, October 16, 2021

Philadelphia police officers will no longer be able to pull drivers over for minor traffic violations, like driving without an inspection sticker or having a broken brake light, under an historic bill passed Thursday by Philadelphia City Council (article available here). 

The measure, dubbed the Driving Equality bill, is rooted in recent data that show Philadelphia police pull over a disproportionate number of Black drivers for minor traffic violations compared to white and Latino drivers. Black drivers make up 72% of motor vehicle stops, but comprise just 42% of the city's population. According to the same data, only a small percentage of these stops result in an officer confiscating any kind of contraband

Minor violations include driving with a single broken brake light or headlight, bumper issues, driving without inspection or emissions stickers, and having a license plate that's not properly fastened.  

The bill gives the Philadelphia Police Department 120 days for training and education before it is implemented.

The companion bill will create a searchable database for traffic stops. For each stop, it will list the drivers and officers involved, the reasons for conducting the stop, and demographic and geographic information. 

It is believed to be the first municipal legislation of its kind.