Driving While Male and Minority

The Boston Globe published an extensive look at speeding tickets written in Massachusetts and came to a rather unsurprising conclusion — if you want to speed in that state (and likely most other states) it pays to be a young white woman.

Examining 166,000 tickets and warnings from every police department in Massachusetts over a two month period, the Globe found that tickets were biased against men and minorities.

For example, considering drivers pulled over for going 45 mph in a 30 mph zone. According to the Globe’s analysis, the odds of getting a ticket in such a situation are,

  • 28 percent for white women
  • 34 percent for white men
  • 44 percent for minority women
  • 52 percent for minority men

The Globe did note one important exception to this — Massachusetts State Police. In the Globe’s analysis, there was almost no disparity involved in race, sex, or age in the issuing of tickets.

The advantage that women had, not surprisingly, declined with age. For elderly women, for example, the percentage who received tickets was roughly the same as the percentage of elderly men who received tickets for speeding.


Race, sex, and age drive ticketing. Bill Dedman, Boston Globe, July 20, 2003.

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