Traffic Citations in Relation to Gender


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Frank N. Willis, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5100 Rocikhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110–2499.


The present study was designed to examine the possibility that traffic officers are more lenient in issuing citations to other gender drivers. Statistics on the traffic citations issued for a year were obtained from the highway patrols of two states. The information was classified by violation, officers' gender, and drivers' gender. For most categories of violation, men issued a greater percent of their citations to male drivers than women did and women issued a greater percent of their citations to female drivers than men did. The differences could have been due to leniency on the part of one gender or both genders of officers. Leniency on the part of both genders is more consistent with the literature on helping in situations with low cost and low threat to the helper. A possible interpretation is that gender identity includes norms for positive treatment of other gender persons.