Driving Lessons

Source: Newsweek, 4 Jan 1971

Do Black Panthers bumper stickers make police see red? The newly released results of an experiment conducted by a Los Angeles education professor suggest that they may. Dr. Frances K. Huessenstamm of California State College took fifteen students with spotless driving records-five Negroes, five Mexican-Americans and five whites- and made them sign a pledge that they would observe all traffic regulations. Then she turned them loose on L.A.'s freeways in vehicles ranging from sedate sedan to psychedelic love buses-each, with a bright orange and black Panther sticker on the bumper. Within two hours, the first student was back with a ticket for allegedly making an illegal turn. After seventeen days, evey one of the students had been ticketed and one Afro-coifes black was given summonses three times. In all, the students accumulated no fewer than 33 moving violations, and the $500 fund Dr. Huessenstamm had raised for bail was exhausted-bringing the experiment to an end.