Home > thoughts > Correlation, causation and driving from Wesley’s perspective

Correlation, causation and driving from Wesley’s perspective

Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Wesley wouldn’t leave you without knowing what he would do

So last night I was out with some coworkers and a change of venue left me the driver for the group. We walked to my car, hopped in and I embarked on the 5-minute excursion.

About 30 seconds from our destination, I see the dreaded American flag police car light salute that means I need to be prepared to have my ID, registration and proof of insurance ready to go. Two officers get out of the car, one for each side of the vehicle and I’m asked to provide said documentation.

The officers take my information, go back to the car and return it with very little conversation other than asking where we are from and how long I’ve been in Pennsylvania?


Because I don’t have any utility bills, and I just now got put on my roommate’s apartment lease last week, I still have a Kentucky driver’s license. You have to have certain documentation to get your license changed and without the lease I didn’t have enough information. I’m off next on Monday, so the plan was to go first thing before getting stopped.

What I left out from the story was the fact that I hadn’t been drinking and wasn’t driving illegally in any way. It was wet outside so I wasn’t speeding (believe it or not). The patrol car actually tailgated me for about between a quarter and a half a mile, to the point I figured it was police and tried to avoid getting stopped.

The kicker: After stopping me the officers never even explained what I was stopped for. The three other people in the car were incredulous as to why we were stopped and were equally as perplexed as I was about why no reason was given.

The one positive to the night was other people saw it happen. I get pulled over a lot with no explanation or minimal description of why I’m stopped. I’d guess I get pulled over about five times a year, with four of them resulting in nothing more than wasting the officer’s time and mine.

I have no problem getting pulled over if I’m doing something wrong, and if you know my driving you know I probably should get speeding tickets on the regular. But when I’m pulled over for nothing and then let go without any explanation of why I was stopped, what else am I supposed to think?

Unless that officer had some special sort of clairvoyant powers, there’s no way he knew my license wasn’t up to date. I didn’t drive illegally and I even made sure to use turn signals. I had only been out for 20 minutes and didn’t have a drink. That doesn’t even take into account the intimidation tactic of driving closely behind me to see if I speed up or do anything suspicious.

It’s not a coincidence that stuff like this happens so frequently, especially when I’m doing everything legally, to my knowledge. I could retell every single story of when I’ve been pulled over and 90 percent of them would be tenuous at best as to why I was stopped.

I’m not saying race had everything to do with, but when you consider there the disproportionate amount of traffic stops involving minorities and look at how people are protesting against police discrimination, there is some fire to go with the smoke.

Think about this when you tell people that race isn’t why they are being stopped for no reason. Even though it may be difficult to prove causation, it’s likely the correlation suggests something.

I understand police have to do a job. Because of my job, I work with police quite a bit. I get their concerns and I get why they have to protect themselves. However a situation like this leaves me doing nothing more than asking “why”?


Categories: thoughts
  1. Trudi
    03/16/2015 at 12:46 pm

    Interesting story.

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