AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Department of Public Safety says the agency will change the way it records the race of motorists after it was discovered troopers habitually misidentify Hispanics as white in traffic data.
DPS Director Steve McCraw told a legislative committee Wednesday that troopers now will ask each driver stopped for a traffic infraction to tell them their race. The move is meant to increase the accuracy of state statistics used to monitor racial profiling.
KXAN-TV in Austin reports that a state law meant to prevent racial profiling requires authorities to document the race of every driver who is issued a warning or citation, or is arrested.
Authorities acknowledge that DPS databases have limited identifying codes. Computer systems have specific codes for race, but Hispanic is seen as an ethnicity, rather than a race.