App Allows Driver to Record Their Version of the Traffic Stop

(Courtesy Photo)

Drivefile is a free, non-profit app built in hopes of establishing what the organization feels will be a new standard of police accountability. Drivefile (available for both Android and iPhone smartphones) generates anonymous traffic stop data that could be utilized on its own or cross-referenced with law enforcement records, enabling the scrutiny of police performance on a granular level.

The organization felt the events of the past year have brought longstanding civil rights issues in America to the forefront of global discourse. “The world witnessed the every-day reality of police brutality in the U.S. and stood in solidarity with the uprisings demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Protesters took to the streets and social media platforms in support of Black Lives Matter, an anti-racism movement born out of the collective rage against injustice inflicted on people of colour. In the wake of this unprecedented scale of global support, what are the next steps towards ensuring we continue to make lasting systemic changes?” said management.

According to their site, the data they collect is location-coded and can be checked against police-collected data of the same stop.  They can analyze this data to see if any discrepancies exist and also offer additional information, such as a professionalism rating of the officer during the stop. In addition to their n-app features, through the website, they can analyze stop and arrests statistics on a beat-by-beat basis for the city of Oakland.

Drivefile decided to focus on Oakland, CA, analyzing the stop and arrest statistics by police beat area. The results were clear – across the entire city, in each police beat, the rate at which African Americans were stopped and arrested was several times higher than White persons. Latinx persons were also subjected to higher rates of stop and arrest, both for traffic stops and pedestrian stops.

“Drivefile will have access to an independent source of data which can bring benefits in the fight against police brutality. If you drive and have a smartphone, using Drivefile can help build valuable data. Using this app, the data collected by the stopped individual can be compared against police data, and if inconsistencies exist, we have a link to the infringing officer,” said management.  “If this system is implemented and endorsed on a city-wide level, that means we can have a system to externally track police performance and move towards better accountability for police, all through a simple app on your smartphone.”

With future versions of the app, the company wants to include additional survey questions assessing police conduct and a modified video and voice feature to collect additional data. Drivefile says it’s a is a non-profit, bootstrapped venture with the ultimate goal of making sure that police officers are held to a higher standard of accountability for their actions.

“The solution lies in creating an organized, standardized, independent record of law enforcement activity that can be used to pinpoint who is stepping over the line and help bring transgressors to justice. Right now, an externally generated, standardized record of traffic stop encounters does not exist. The closest thing would be something we are all familiar with by now: a video taken by a driver or a pedestrian and posted to Facebook or Instagram. There should be a better system in place besides taking videos that will be lost in the sea of content on social media,” management said.

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