The impact of cars on U.S. policing

This column, excerpted from a new book, describes how the advent of the automobile transformed American society and dramatically changed the nature of policing. Regulation of traffic brought police into an adversarial and enforcement relationship with a much wider segment of society than in the past. “Before cars, police mainly dealt with those on the margins of society,” but as the 20th century progressed, “Officers now required discretion to administer the massive traffic enforcement regime and deal with the sensitivities of ‘law-abiding’ citizens who kept violating traffic laws. The law’s accommodation of discretionary policing profoundly altered what it meant to live free from state intrusion in the automotive age.”

This entry was posted in North America and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s