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Biden Makes Subtle Move Towards ‘Decriminalizing’ Traffic Safety Policy

Biden Administration Moves to Reform Traffic Safety Policy, Focus on Public Health Over Criminalization

The Biden administration has taken a crucial step towards improving public safety by ending the flawed policing program, Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS).

This program encouraged law enforcement to use traffic stops as a pretext for fighting crime, leading to aggressive traffic enforcement that eroded trust, violated civil liberties, and made roads more dangerous for Black drivers. Studies have shown no clear link between aggressive traffic enforcement and reduced crime rates.

The end of DDACTS is a necessary corrective, but it’s just the beginning of a broader reckoning with American traffic enforcement. High-volume traffic enforcement has become a back door for discriminatory over-policing, and it’s time to reassess programs like DDACTS.

Biden’s Latest Move Aims to Reframe Traffic Safety as a Public Health Issue, Rather than Criminal Justice Matter

Instead of relying on stops based on hunches and pretexts, we should invest in evidence-based strategies that address the real traffic safety problem in this country. This includes redesigning streets, improving vehicle safety standards, and expanding access to reliable public transportation.

We need to dramatically increase investment in proven methods that save lives and prevent traffic accidents and injuries. We also need rigorous research to examine the effectiveness of enforcement and the social costs imposed on those stopped.

Community voices should be heard on how to improve traffic safety, and the role of traffic enforcement should be focused narrowly on the most dangerous driving behaviors, guided by data and observable safety hazards. It’s time to disentangle the contradictory imperatives of crime reduction and traffic safety and chart a new vision for public safety on America’s streets.

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