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Police disproportionately ticket Black, Hispanic, API rideshare drivers

Minority rideshare drivers — which in this case included those who identified as Hispanic, Black or Asian and Pacific Islander — are 24% to 33% more likely to receive a ticket for speeding than white drivers, according to a new study reported by Lyft

This discrepancy leads to minority rideshare drivers having to pay 23% to 34% more in fines, according to Lyft.

“We weren’t sure what we would find when we started,” said Pradhi Aggarwal, the study’s lead researcher, to Rev, Lyft’s newsroom. “But it was surprising that even controlling for time and location, you’re still more likely to get cited and fined if you’re a minority rideshare driver.”

via Lyft

The study used 40 billion different GPS observations to monitor each driver’s precise location and speed, Lyft reports. This data was then compared to traffic violation records in Florida that were obtained after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

After cross-referencing the data, researchers noted the rideshare drivers’ vehicles who were ticketed and what their speed was when they were pulled over. 

These statistics were then compared to information from the Florida State Election Board that listed each drivers’ names and self-reported racial identity, according to Lyft. 

Through cross-referencing, researchers concluded minority rideshare drivers were more prone to get ticketed for speeding. 

“My team was always interested in what sorts of bigger academic and societal questions we could answer with rideshare data,” Aggarwal said to Rev.

Lyft reported the researchers are working to publish their study in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, with the aim of expanding the scope of their research to focus on racial biases among law enforcement in states other than Florida. 

The researchers said they hope the study can pave the way to reduce racial bias in the police force.

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