Unlicensed drivers, even sober ones, are far more dangerous than persons who are licensed. Unlicensed drivers are involved in one in five fatal crashes.
But Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will decrease public safety to please his illegal alien base. Specifically the new law will disallow the confiscation of vehicles at traffic checkpoints belonging to unlicensed drivers, who are mostly illegals.
Police who care about public safety have a problem with that. Santa Maria cops have a strong ethic of protecting the people, perhaps because the town has the highest rate of hit-run crashes in the state — nearly half, as compared with the national norm of around 10 percent. And police report that most of Santa Maria’s hit-and-runs are caused by illegal alien drivers.
Once again, the Santa Maria PD is not afraid of being politically incorrect when public safety is under threat. The file below includes a video.
California Police Criticize New DUI Checkpoint Law, KION, October 10, 2011
SANTA MARIA - Currently anyone who is stopped at a DUI checkpoint and is determined to be sober but driving without a valid drivers license is issued a citation and has their vehicle impounded for 30 days.
Assembly Bill 353 changes that law.
Under the new law written by Democrat Assemblyman Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, if a sober driver is caught at a DUI checkpoint without a valid drivers license, law enforcement officers must release the car to a qualified driver representing the registered owner.
If a legal driver is not readily available, AB 353 says the vehicle is to be released to one later at the impound yard.
“It’s problematic in the sense that they are going to drive that vehicle again”, says Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni, “a licensed driver will drive around the corner or to a house and release it back to the unlicensed driver, putting them back on the road and that puts all in danger, so we’re a little disappointed with the Governor’s decision.”
Some Latino lawmakers and Latino advocacy groups like PUEBLO have alleged that DUI checkpoints have been misused to unfairly target illegal immigrants most of whom do not have drivers licenses.
They argue 30 days of impound fees, which can reach as high as $1500, turns out to be more than the car is worth leaving some drivers without transportation creating a chronically unfair cycle that will never change until California issues driver licenses to undocumented immigrants.
The practice has also generated millions of dollars in fines and fees for cities and tow companies.
Santa Maria Police say its not about the money, its about public safety.
“We’ve towed as many as 40 in one given night”, Chief Macagni says, “we’re going to have to conduct our DUI checkpoints in an area that is conducive to parking several vehicles for the safety of my officers and the other motorists that are coming through, our goal is to improve the safety out on the roads for our motorists that are there legally and if you don’t have a drivers license your shouldn’t be driving, the law is the law.”
Macagni points out AB 353 applies only to vehicles that go through DUI checkpoints and not vehicles that are stopped during routine police patrols or other police business.
AB 353 officially becomes law on January 1, 2012.