Historically, information on the Uniform Traffic Citation has been the only reliable demographic data available related to traffic stops. This limited any analysis to stops resulting in a citation being issued. It also is limited by the possibility that multiple citations may be issued for a single traffic stop. To address this problem, FHP started to collect data on every discretionary traffic stop conducted by a trooper on January 1, 2000. Discretionary stops do not include stops which result from a call for service, such as responding to a traffic crash or providing assistance to a motorist with a disabled vehicle. The data reported include date and time, county, race, ethnicity, age, gender, number of passengers, reason for the stop, enforcement action taken, what type of search was made (if any), and any contraband found or property seized for forfeiture. The information is entered into a computer database maintained at FHP general headquarters in Tallahassee.
A preliminary analysis, based on the citation data, was conducted by the Florida Highway Patrol in 1999. That study determined that the demographic make-up of drivers issued citations closely matched that of the population of the county in which the stops were made. Data collected since January 1, 2000, indicate that this is true of all stops as well. The race, ethnicity, and gender of drivers stopped is basically the same as the general population at both the state and county level.