How non-compliance during traffic stops impacts officer safety

Police research: 1,000 cops address non-compliance during traffic stops

By: Nancy Perry, Editor, Police1

Traffic stops and vehicle contacts put police officers at a tactical disadvantage, with officer safety further compromised when faced with non-compliant drivers. To better understand officers’ experiences, perceptions, training and tactics for non-compliance during traffic stops, Police1 surveyed more than 1,000 patrol officers.


Police1 developed a 29-question survey, open from April 22, 2021, to May 4, 2021. A total of 1,036 responses were collected using a Microsoft Form.

Respondents were fairly evenly divided regarding location and years served in law enforcement. Of those surveyed, 24% serve a rural response area, 42% serve a suburban response area and 34% serve an urban response area.

A third of respondents had 10-20 years of law enforcement experience and a quarter had 21-30 years of experience; a third had nine years or less on the job and 10% had more than 30 years on the job.


We asked respondents to rank the most common reason for traffic stops in their jurisdiction. Not surprisingly, especially since COVID-19 lockdowns, speeding was overwhelmingly listed as the number one reason for traffic stops at 43% followed by equipment violations at 24%. Only 13% of respondents rated distracted driving as the number one reason for traffic stops, pretext stops and hazardous driving were rated number one by only 9% and 7% of respondents respectively.

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