Would a Texting-While-Driving Ban Open Door to Racial Profiling?

Marissa Barnett, Dallas News, May 17, 2015

As the Legislature considers a statewide prohibition on texting while driving, some opponents have raised concerns about whether the ban could be used to racially discriminate against drivers.

A sampling of a few large Texas cities with ordinances that already prohibit texting while driving or other cellphone use behind the wheel found that the ticketed population in most cities generally matched up with the demographics of those cities.

Information about how many people were pulled over for cellphone-related offenses, but not ticketed, is not available. Nor can cities say how many people pulled over for texting were subsequently searched–often seen as a more accurate measure of police treatment.

Some opponents of a long-sought state law say that texting-while-driving bans are of particular concern because more is left to an officer’s judgment than with speeding or other violations. Because of that, they worry, those laws may lead to more unwarranted stops or racial profiling. Police departments reject the idea that any laws are used in a discriminatory way.

“It’s another reason to use to have probable cause to stop somebody,” Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, said last week. Dutton voted against the bill because he worried the ban could lead to unnecessary police stops and racial profiling.


Dutton, a defense attorney who is black, said both his personal and professional experiences tell him it’s more common for racial minorities to be unnecessarily stopped by police.


Forty-six other states now have bans on texting while driving.

The Dallas Morning News obtained citation information from San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Grand Prairie and Arlington. In those cases, the race of ticketed drivers for cellphone-related offenses generally matched the demographics of the city based on 2010 census data, the most recent comprehensive survey available.



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  • This is the only reason why seat belt enforcement has not yet been bumped up to a primary offense everywhere, because of worries about “racial profiling.”

    • dukem1

      Aside from “white collar ” types of crimes – which, one way or the other require some type of intelligence, regardless of intent – they will break it in numbers far above their proportional representation in any given area.
      My personal opinion, based on a life of experience being in some horrific car crashes -(I admit, I’m a lousy driver) is that the penalties for texting while driving should start at 3x those for DUI …and take off from there.
      Face it, the population is getting dumber as the use of sailfoams expands.
      And it’s a coin toss as to whether the dusky texter even owns the car their texting in,let alone is insured.
      But, goodness forbid, some regulation would hurt some ones feelings or, even worse, damage their self-esteem.
      BTW – wifey and I haven’t had a sailfoam in 10 years, and we’re quite OK, thank you very much.

      • Tom in MI

        Sailfoam? Are you from Alabama?

  • MekongDelta69

    If there were only blacks on the road, I’d say, “Hey – text away pal. And do us all a favor – don’t ‘keep your eye on the road.”

    • Tarczan

      Along the same vein, I have long favored a guns and ammo effort for urban youth.

      • nordicman

        Except they’ll use it on whites.

    • nordicman

      Why? They’ll cause an accident, people will feel sorry for them and more money and rights taken away to appease them.

  • Rhialto

    A question for social-psychiatrists: Is American’s obsession with Blacks a neurosis or a psychosis?

    • LHathaway

      Media inflicted psychosis. As they obsess over blacks, women and other people of color, their stories will completely 100% ignore whites, unless implicitly (or outright) stating that any blame falls to Whites.

    • George Moriarty

      Neurosis for the government, media & academia.
      Simple survival instinct for everyone else.

    • carriewhite64

      I know. It does seem as if no move can be made in America for the common good without obsessing over whether it will impact blacks disproportionately.

  • Luca D.

    Enforcing the law will always have a disparate impact on blacks. That’s a phenomena that is self-inflicted, although never publicly mentioned (other than here).

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    Perhaps we should revoke all motor vehicle laws on the grounds they might be used by the police for profiling.

    • Xanthippe2

      No. no. All motor vehichle laws should only be revoked for illegals. Oh, it’s already happened. (Almost.)

  • Sick of it

    Don’t worry black man, the white woman will always have you beat on this particular crime. It’s one of the few white people are known for.

    • Jason Lewis

      I’d rather they ban putting on lipstick while driving.

    • phillyguy

      every time I am driving I either see a white woman or a negress texting or talking on the phone.

      • Alden

        Not me

      • Sick of it

        The near accidents I’ve had over the past few years have all been caused by white women talking on their cell phones. They speed up randomly and swerve all over the place. It’s just as bad as being near a drunk driver.

    • carriewhite64

      White women do apply makeup while driving, but black women seem to have them beat talking and texting on cells.

  • LHathaway

    Well, that’s their job in a Democracy, thinking about concerns. To take it seriously, and not say one world about (obviously) saving lives – I guess That’s the job of the media these days.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    Ha! More is left to an officer’s judgement than with speeding? Please.

  • George Moriarty

    By way of a comment from Australia I find it hard to believe that there are still places in the White English speaking world that do not have compulsory seatbelt use or laws against texting and talking while driving. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous and should be banned, and as a serious road safety issue should apply to ALL drivers. What is the problem? Anyone who wants to drive a car be they black, white or Asian should obey ALL road rules, as simple as that and if they don’t, just take away their licence before they kill themselves or someone else.
    There is a new road safety problem in this part of the world, mainly in NZ but happens here also. Drivers from USA, Canada and particularly Asia rent vehicles (as tourists) and forget which side of the road they should be driving on particularly on quiet country roads. It is causing a lot of very serious accidents.

    • Katherine McChesney

      Is it NZ’s problem for renting automobiles to people from other countries?

      • George Moriarty

        Yes, very much NZ’s problem where self-drive tourism is a big industry. But in one nasty fatal accident here the Canadian driver instinctively went to “his” side of the road when he saw the oncoming headlamps resulting in a high speed head on collision.

        • I didn’t know you were a Kiwi. I’ve thought about going there for the fishing. I liked Australia quite a lot.

      • Alden

        Almost all travel packages include a rental car picked up at the airport. People are supposed to get off a plane after a long maybe 16 hour flight to Aus NZ and get in a car at an unfamiliar complicated airport and drive safely on a different side of the road.
        As many times as I have been to England I have never picked up the rental car at the airport and driven in heavy unfamiliar traffic to a London hotel on the (wrong)? side of the road. But the car is included in the travel package so people drive them.

        • Katherine McChesney

          Isn’t there an International Drivers license for tourists? If I were travelling to a nation like England or New Zealand I wouldn’t dare drive an automobile as it is opposite of the U.S. I could see how you’d resent these tourists and the safety infractions they commit.

    • I lived in Australia in 1997-98, and never got a car or motorcycle there. As a Yank, I have the wrong instincts.

      • George Moriarty

        You are not alone, even as a local I am very worried about crossing some of our roads here in Sydney!
        But the reason I mentioned problems with international drivers is that no one should be on our roads if they do not know our driving rules, same with your so called minorities they should have to obey all road rules and not be shown any leniency because of their race.
        If I go overseas I always walk, use public transport or go as part of a tour in a tourist bus etc.

    • There are laws in every state (I think) mandating seat belt use and prohibiting distracted driving of some sort. The problem is that it comes down to the enforcement technicality of primary versus secondary. As it stands in most places, seat belt and texting-while-driving laws are secondary offenses, which means the cop can’t pull you over just for that. The cop can, however, write you a ticket if s/he pulls you over for another primary offense and sees you not wearing seat belts or texting while driving.

      Lots of people want to bump them up to primary offenses, but the legislative bell curve caucus stands in the way because “yadda yadda racial profiling.”

      • George Moriarty

        Thanks for explaining the system in your country.
        Talking/Texting and non-use of seatbelts are targeted offences and together with speeding probably make up the greatest number of traffic offences in all Australian states.
        I understand Muslims here complain that they are being targeted by the Highway Patrol, but many are just bad and think they are above our laws.
        Of the ethnic drivers on our roads I would say the Chinese are the worst followed by the Sudanese/Somalis. As far as I am concerned, the Authorities should make the whole lot of them sit for an Australian state driving test before letting them lose on our roads.

      • Alden

        In my state no seatbelts cell phone or texting are primary offenses ad people are pulled over and ticketed.

  • rommel10

    never stop a black you risk your job and life, rule number One if your a cop, why bother they have a separate set of rules for them

  • Alden

    BLacks obey no traffic laws. So all traffic laws and enforcement have a disparate Impact on blacks

  • John Smith

    The lack of negro literacy alone should mean disproportionately fewer get caught for this.

  • The nigs just don’t like laws, because laws disproportionately affect $#!&-heads.

    • Deacon Blue

      Did you text dat message from your sail foam wif crackatalk?

  • nordicman

    Can we just pass a law or ordinance without wondering if nonwhites are offended or hearing some liberal twat whining about how it’s “racist”?

  • pennawhytmn

    Blacks know how to text???

  • DiversityIsDeath

    When are they gonna make angrily yelling and cursing into cell phones on crowded busses/trains a crime? That WOULD be racially profiling, because negroes are the only one who do this!

  • Alden

    John Nash the math genius about whom the movie Beautiful Mind was made was killed in a car crash yesterday ; killed because he was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car.

    There have been numerous comments about seat belts ad other safe driving practices. One comment I read on freerepublic was from a firefighter. He said that in just about every collusion resulting in deaths and serious injuries the victims were not wearing seat belts. He also says he drives a van that puts him a bit higher than most cars. He said he can see so many people texting and doing other things while driving down the freeway at 60 or 70 miles per hour.
    Every truck driver I have ever known says the same thing. They look down and see people doing everything but paying attention to the road and their driving. And blacks are the worst.

    Traffic and parking tickets in California are very costly. That is because the cities need so much revenue to pay for all the services they are mandated by law to provide all the illegals and poor people. But especially in the farm areas and big cities the population is the poor people. So they can’t afford to pay the high price of the tickets. So they don’t pay, they get a penalty and more fines etc.

    But blacks in this country can do anything they want and get away with it. Disrupt an entire classroom by screeching the F and N words, not wear seat belts, text while driving, beat Whites to death just because the White is available, not pay rent for 2 years whatever they want.

    I remember when the San Francisco projects authorities revealed that no rent had been paid by any of the tenants in one of the projects for more than 3 years.

    Soon we will have a 2 or 3 tier structure for tickets. Blacks no matter how high their income pay nothing. Hispanics pay according to their income (reported income that is)

    Whites no matter how poor will pay the full price. Whites are already targeted because we are the ones who just write a check soon after we get the ticket. My White Los Angeles neighborhood is just swarmed with parking cops from 8/am to 8/pm.

  • Alden

    Governor Brown of California has just proposed there be a forgiveness for unpaid traffic tickets and penalties for blacks and hispanics because they are poor and can’t afford to pay the fines and enormous penalties.