But apparently, it's not.
The Supreme Court decided today that not only drivers, but passengers as well, have the legal right to challenge the validity of a traffic stop. Not surprisingly, the vote was another squeaker, 5-4. I can understand the Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts have a more expansive view of government power, but can you really tell me that a passenger in a car is not being detained when that car is stopped by the police.
Tell you what: next time you're a passenger and the driver gets pulled over, you get out of the car and walk away. My guess is you get cuffed, stuffed, and probably tackled and hit for your trouble. And I doubt these guys would have much sympathy for you if you then tried to sue because you weren't being detained.
My advice to passengers - ask the cop if you're free to go, if he says no, then at least you have some reason to say you were also being detained. God only knows if it will work.